Podcasts

Lion Man, on display in the British Museum's Living Gods exhibition, is 40,000 years old. Credit: Ulmer Museum

Giles Fraser meets Neil MacGregor

Neil MacGregor’s Living with the Gods was an award-winning Radio 4 series, and has now been made into a book of the same title. To bring things full circle, I sat down with him to turn the written word back into the spoken one; we talked about the relationship between art and religion, how religion is a more a way of creating meaning than explaining the universe, and what MacGregor liked to look at in the British Museum when the doors were closed and he was on his own with the keys.

After a Calvinist upbringing, where objects are often thought to be a threat to religious faith, MacGregor has come to be the foremost expositor of the rich cultural material produced by religious belief. In our conversation, he ranged widely: from the Cyrus Cylinder to the 40,000 year old Lion Man to the Mummies of Peru, to the decorative pointer, the Yad, with which Plymouth Jews used to read the Torah. It was a real joy to chat with him. Here is the podcast. I hope you enjoy it.