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Living with the Gods

Cultural discussion programme. Andrew Marr with Neil MacGregor, Jennifer Sliwka, Dan Jones and Caspar Henderson.

Are humans distinguished not just by a capacity to think, but by our need to believe - where the search is not so much for my place in the world, but for our place in the cosmos? Neil MacGregor, the former Director of the British Museum, discusses Living with the Gods, his Radio 4 series, in which he focuses on the expression of shared beliefs, across thousands of years, and around the globe, through objects from the Museum's collections and beyond.

The curator Jennifer Sliwka looks at a world in black and white, in a celebration of the monochrome in art across the centuries, from medieval sacred works, where the elimination of colour was thought to focus the mind, to contemporary paintings.

The historian Dan Jones tells the story of the ultimate holy warriors, the Knights Templar, a story of power, politics and fanaticism.

The writer Caspar Henderson takes a step back to consider the awe-inspiring - from divine visions to transcendent moments - and to ask whether we are in danger of losing our sense of wonder in the modern world.

Presenter Andrew Marr
Producer Katy Hickman

Photograph: (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

Available now

43 minutes

Neil MacGregor

Neil MacGregor is currently the founding director of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. Previously he was Director of the British Museum from 2002 to 2015, and the Director of the National Gallery from 1987 to 2002.

Living With The Gods on BBC Radio 4 begins on Monday 23rd October.
The corresponding exhibition, Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond runs from 2 November 2017 – 8 April 2018 at the British Museum. 

Dan Jones

Dan Jones is a historian, broadcaster and award-winning journalist.

The Templars is published by Head of Zeus.

Jennifer Sliwka

Jennifer Sliwka is an art historian specialising in Italian Renaissance art.

Jennifer is guest curator of Monochrome: Painting in Black and White at the National Gallery. 30 October 2017 – 18 February 2018.

Caspar Henderson

Caspar Henderson is a journalist and writer.

A New Map of Wonders – A Journey in Search of Modern Marvels is published 2nd Nov is published 2nd Nov by Granta.


Role Contributor
Presenter Andrew Marr
Interviewed Guest Neil MacGregor
Interviewed Guest Jennifer Sliwka
Interviewed Guest Dan Jones
Interviewed Guest Caspar Henderson
Producer Katy Hickman