On November 14th, Rumi Forum held a book event at our offices for God and the Goalposts: A brief History of Religion, Sports, Politics, War, and Art.
The interpenetration of sports and religion is as old as history and as wide as geography. The angles of interpenetration have been diverse—from the Bible to the Iliad and the Aeneid, from gladiatorial contests to the Crusades to chess, from the Mayan game of pok-a-pok to Lacrosse to contemporary NBA championship games. Moreover, the sports/religion matrix has always been interwoven with politics (from which religion has rarely strayed) and war (for which sports has always offered a surrogate)—and art (which captures so much of this in words and images—from Greek vase paintings to contemporary films. Give this subject an hour and you will never watch a game the same way again.
Ori Z. Soltes teaches art history, theology, philosophy and political history at Georgetown University. He is the author of over 280 books, articles, exhibition catalogs, and essays on a variety of topics. Recent books include Our Sacred Signs: How Jewish, Christian and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source; Searching for Oneness: Mysticism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Untangling the Web of the Middle East; and most recently, God and the Goalposts: A Brief History of Sports, Religion, Politics, War and Art. Soltes is an enthusiastic sports fan, and an avid basketball player a few days a week—although God has rarely intervened to guide his jump shot.