1112 Chapters
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Part 1. Introduction

Alanna E. Cooper Indiana University Press ePub

During the cold war, when tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were high, the plight of the Jews of the USSR was on the forefront of the American Jewish public agenda. The refusenik movement, in particular, was given great attention and publicity. Among its heroes were Anatoly Sharansky, Ida Nudel, Vladimir Slepak, and others who attempted to leave their homes for a place where they could identify as Jews without stigma, and practice their religion without fear. As a consequence of applying for exit visas, they were declared enemies of the state, lost their jobs, and were imprisoned.

While I was growing up in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, the stories of these refuseniks played a formative role in shaping my Jewish identity. I was among the many Jewish youth who signed petitions on their behalf, wrote letters of encouragement to them, sent money to organizations that fought for their freedom, and wore bracelets signifying our solidarity with their plight. These activities sensitized me to the situation of Soviet Jews, but also strongly informed my own ideas about what it meant to be an American Jew. They instilled within me a strong appreciation for the freedom that I had to practice religion and identify proudly as a Jew, all the while maintaining my sense of belonging to America.

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6. Spiritual Presence: The Role of Pneumatology in Paul Tillich’s Theology

Edited by Nimi Wariboko and Amos Yong Indiana University Press ePub

The pentecostal movement accents the work of the Holy Spirit. Although there is a sharp focus on Jesus Christ as the one who saves, heals, imparts the Spirit, and is coming again, the emphasis is on the fact that he is doing all of this now as a living presence in the power of the Spirit and as the one through whom the life of the Spirit is imparted. One does not have to read very far in the early literature of the movement to discover that the overwhelming attention is paid to how the human vessel is taken up into the presence and power of the Spirit in becoming a living channel of the Spirit in the world, as well as the signs or consequences that one might expect to witness as a result. Spirit baptism, broadly conceived as our participation in the eschatological self-impartation of God, is arguably the movement’s chief accent.1 As a theologian influenced by this pneumatological accent, I have had as one of my interests the question of how theological reflection on the first two Articles of the Creed might be viewed afresh from the Third Article. It is from this interest that I approach the theology of Paul Tillich, a person I have always admired as a theologian of the Spirit. My interest in reading him for this chapter is precisely on the role of the Spirit in Tillich’s theological system.

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16. “As Above, So Below”: Ritual and Commemoration in African American Archaeological Contexts in the Northern United States

Edited by Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula S Indiana University Press ePub

Cheryl J. LaRoche

Ritual objects excavated from African American archaeological sites blend elements of ancestral culture, spiritual intent, memory, and modern philosophy in revealing the dynamics of spiritual and cultural continuity (Idowu [1962] 1994; Mills and Walker 2008; Ogundiran and Falola 2007). Simultaneously, modern ceremonial expressions at sites such as New York’s African Burial Ground and Philadelphia’s President’s House sites stir deep expressions of public emotion in tribute to once-forgotten ancestors. Contemporary actors engaged with these sites honor ancestors to effect the present and influence the future.

In historic contexts such as the African Burial Ground, excavated objects of tribute establish evidence of ritual or ceremony later interpreted by archaeologists. For the most part, spiritual intent must be inferred through the written record, intentional artifact or skeletal placement, sequencing, and/or three-dimensional patterning (Mills and Walker 2008). Artifacts of ritual or spiritual expression recovered from archaeological sites, however, consign discussions of spiritual mediation to the past. From this temporal distance, the efficacy, spirituality, and intent of past ritual acts are hypothesized and theorized in the present. By theorizing ritual within historical frames and archaeological contexts, one need not confront the question of spiritual potency or the purported efficacy of objects or practices. This chapter questions the efficacy and consequences of ritual practices beyond the ritual itself. Ritual acts tend to be seen, teleologically, as part of pre-Enlightenment, pre-modern practices that either lacked or have lost their potency in the present. Bringing the discussion of “non-empirical powers” or ritual efficacy into contemporary moments and our lives necessitates acknowledging or, at the very least, questioning the potential “power from unknown sources” that are implied in ritual performance (Turner 1970: 54). Modern ritual and ceremonies held at archaeological sites force professionals and the public alike to assess their relationship with spiritual mediation. “Layers of complexity,” according to Mills and Walker, exist at the intersections between and within “memory and materiality, knowledge and practice, subjects and objects, and the past and the present” (2008: 5).

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2. The Classification of Persons

David Chidester Indiana University Press ePub

The classification system of the Peoples Temple created a symbolic universe within which superhuman resources could be located that could elevate victims of a subhumanizing social system into a fully human identity. This seems to have been the intrinsic intent invested in the classification of persons in the worldview of the Peoples Temple. In the lexicon of the classification system, there were superhuman persons—Sky God, Principle, Savior, Daddy God, and baby gods; there were subhumanized persons—honkies, niggers, blacks, Indians, Mexicans, women, the poor, and the brainwashed automatons of America; and there was a central classification for what was regarded as a fully human person—socialist. These three levels of the classification system—superhuman, subhuman, and human—worked in a coordinated fashion to provide a general frame of reference for those who lived within its symbolic universe. This classification system was certainly not generated out of nothing. Elements of biblical traditions, spiritualism, Pentecostal enthusiasm, Marxist social analysis, and the American network of social relations were appropriated and reorganized in a unique configuration. But it was precisely the remarkable and relatively consistent configuration these elements assumed in the worldview of the Peoples Temple that allowed for the possibility of a coherent image to emerge of what it is to be a human being in contact with superhuman powers in a subhumanizing world.

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Medium 9780253006844

5 The Brazilianization of New York City: Brazilian Immigrants and Evangelical Churches in a Pluralized Urban Landscape

RICHARD CIMINO Indiana University Press ePub

Donizete Rodrigues

In the last two decades, Brazilian immigrants and their evangelical churches have become more visible in the New York Metropolitan Area. Their congregations and small businesses have provoked important changes in several neighborhoods and in the larger pluralized ethnic and religious landscape. As Tony Carnes and Anna Karpathakis (2001) point out, “New York . . . is attracting one of the most diverse concentrations of religions that the world has ever seen . . . and is increasingly being transformed into a city of faiths” (3).

Given this context of religious pluralism, the main theme and purpose of this chapter is to discuss the process of Brazilianization caused by the increasingly significant presence of Brazilian immigrants and their evangelical churches in the New York Metropolitan Area (Rodrigues 2010). By “Brazilianization” I mean the increasingly visible and expressive presence of Brazilian immigrants (and also tourists) in New York City. A significant influence of Brazilian culture also pervades multicultural American society, including music, books, movies, soap operas, food (açai), drink (guarana, coconut juice), and clothing (Havaianas flip-flops). Events like the Brazilian Day Celebration, which has taken place since 1984 in the first week of September in Midtown Manhattan, attracts more than a million people and heightens the visibility of Brazilian culture. “Brazilianization” further refers to the strong presence of Brazilian evangelical churches, whose congregations are in prominent locations and are adorned with cultural names and the country’s flag, contributing to ethnic succession and the subsequent creation of Brazilian religious ethnic enclaves.

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Medium 9780253010759

2 Self-Reliance: Kaplan and Emerson

Mel Scult Indiana University Press ePub


Know your soul and you will come to know your creator.

—Joseph Albo, as quoted by Mordecai Kaplan, 1954

For the modern Jew, the needs of the autonomous self threaten the coherence of the Jewish community. Individualism is the greatest problem facing the Jewish people. For Mordecai Kaplan, as for so many other twentieth-century Jewish leaders, the primary problem was how to deal with the new sense of self that is at the root of both American culture and modernity. We cannot flee from it. It is precious and yet problematical. We cannot simply dismiss it. If we are to rise above its lowest expression—as narcissism and self-absorption—we must understand it.1

Kaplan’s theology is complex, but I believe that the place of the individual holds the key to understanding his system. As we know, he was a fierce, lifelong advocate of the notion of Judaism as a civilization; he championed the concept of community and of the collective consciousness of the Jewish people. He devoted almost a decade of his life to organizing and running the Jewish Center, and he was a follower of that great cultural Zionist Ahad Ha-Am. While all these are significant, his views on individualism and individual fulfillment are the linchpins that hold the elaborate structure of his thought together.

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Medium 9780253011510

3 Social Structure of the Soviet Shtetl

Jeffrey Veidlinger Indiana University Press ePub

In 1924, the Soviet ethnographer Vladimir Bogoraz, better known by his pseudonym V. G. Tan, led an ethnographic expedition to some of the shtetls of Ukraine. Bogoraz’s report on the expedition, published in 1926 as The Jewish Shtetl in Revolution, jubilantly celebrated the victory of socialism during the first decade of the Revolution: “Socialist construction has taken off completely among the Jews,” who, he continued, were working as “stonemasons, coachmen, carpenters, bathhouse attendants, street beggars, ex-convicts, prostitutes, pimps, an entire mass of petty and even pettier traders and, as if to make up for it, two or three wealthy people.” Bogoraz contrasted this situation with the prerevolutionary shtetl, where there lived “Jewish holy people, prophets, and soothsayers; women walked around in wigs; men in long caftans. Elderly people spent the last years of their lives in synagogues in prayer and Bible reading.”1 Bogoraz was, in many ways, returning home—he had left his hometown of Ovruch, where he was born the son of a Jewish schoolteacher in 1865, in order to attend a gymnasium in Taganrog. There, he had become a revolutionary activist in the People’s Will Party, a crime for which he was imprisoned and exiled to Siberia. In Siberia, he became interested in the Chukchi peoples, studying their folklore and anthropology, and eventually emerging as one of the most prominent ethnographers of his era—beginning in 1897 he collaborated with Franz Boas on the Jesup North Pacific Expedition across the Bering Strait, for five years. After the Revolution, Bogoraz returned to St. Petersburg, where he became a professor of ethnology at the Leningrad Geographical Institute. It was in this capacity that he led his 1924 expedition to the region in which he was born. His optimistic impressions of the pace of revolutionary change, though, were tempered by ambivalence about the social costs of change, as he observed stonemasons and carpenters coexisting with pimps and beggars. Indeed, despite the impetus to celebrate the achievements wrought by a decade of communist rule, Bogoraz and his team could not but note the sorry economic state of the contemporary Soviet shtetl.

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Medium 9780253008541

5 Trusting The Point of View

Mark A. Tietjen Indiana University Press ePub

5 Trusting The Point of View

GARFF’S PORTRAIT OF Kierkegaard is one critical of Kierkegaard’s own moral failings, especially of his dishonesty and self-deception. However, it seems Garff’s own approach in reading Kierkegaard is not itself “morally neutral.” In this chapter I will explore further Kierkegaard’s understanding of the moral backdrop to his authorial practice, and then I will turn the focus toward the reader of Kierkegaard to ask whether the reader’s own interpretation of Kierkegaard has a moral dimension. That is, can one read a text immorally? Is there a way one ought to read a text? With these concerns in mind, I will articulate a hermeneutic of trust in contradistinction to the kind of hermeneutic of suspicion found in Fenger and Garff. To tie this objective to my larger thesis, I want to show that a reading that trusts Kierkegaard’s retrospective literature is defensible and that it consequently adds additional support to the idea of Kierkegaard’s edifying aims.

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Medium 9780929398136

1. Moses and Paul: The World’s Greatest Organizers

Mary Beth Rogers University of North Texas Press PDF


Moses and Paul:

The World's Greatest Organizers

Dallas, 1986

"Anybody remember Moses?" Ernesto Cortes Jr. asks a group of farmers and farm activists from 40 states who have come to Dallas to discuss their problems and hear Cortes speak at a Farm Crisis Workers Conference. 1 A few members of the audience nod and look at each other as if to say, "Who the hell is this and what have we gotten ourselves into?"

Cortes is the coordinator of a dozen or so Industrial Areas

Foundation (IAF) organizations in Texas, such as San Antonio's COPS and the Rio Grande Valley Interfaith. Because of his 20-year community organizing career in Texas and around the nation, Cortes has become a legend among American political activists and a source on Hispanic politics for journalists from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and a slew of other publications. The prestigious MacArthur Foundation gave him one of its "genius" grants and $204,000 to do with as he saw fit. Esquire identified him as one of the people who represented America "at its best.,,2 Texas Business magazine called Cortes one of the most powerful people in Texas-along with Ross Perot and corporate raider extraordinaire T. Boone

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5. Mapping the Garden of Forking Paths: A Nomadic Reception History

Brennan W. Breed Indiana University Press ePub

In all fiction, when a man is faced with alternatives, he chooses one at the expense of the others. In the almost unfathomable Ts’ui Pên, he chooses— simultaneously—all of them…. All the possible solutions occur, each one being the point of departure for other bifurcations. Sometimes the pathways for this labyrinth converge. For example, you come to this house: but in some possible pasts you are my enemy: in others my friend.

—Jorge Luis Borges

In “On the Genealogy of Morality,” Nietzsche outlines the basic rationale for a process-oriented study of cultural objects. The meaning of any cultural object, Nietzsche argues, is not defined or contained at its point of origin; rather, the cultural object transforms as it traverses contexts: “The origin of the emergence of a thing and its ultimate usefulness, its practical application and incorporation into a system of ends, are toto coelo separate; that anything in existence, having somehow came about, is continually interpreted anew, transformed and redirected to a new purpose.”1 In these few lines, Nietzsche issues several thoughts crucial for reception history: (1) an origin does not explain any current meaning or function; (2) all things are eventually repurposed and thus reinterpreted; and (3) this reinterpretation often ignores and obscures the previous uses and meanings of the adapted thing.

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13. Ideology, Rhetoric, Poetics

Meir Sternberg Indiana University Press ePub

The Scripture stories do not, like Homer’s, court our favour, they do not flatter us that they may please us and enchant us—they seek to subject us, and if we refuse to be subjected we are rebels.

Erich Auerbach, Mimesis

In the widest sense, “rhetoric” embraces the whole discourse in its communicative aspect, as a set of means chosen and organized with an eye to an audience rather than to self-expression or pure making. One may then speak, though I have rarely done so, of the rhetoric of narrative interest or character-drawing or repetition or ambiguity or any other pattern designed for effect. But the term “rhetoric” also has a stricter and more traditional sense, which narrows its range from communication as such to communication with persuasive intent. As persuader, the rhetorician seeks not just to affect but to affect with a view to establishing consensus in the face of possible demur and opposition. Success has only one meaning and one measure to him: bringing the audience’s viewpoint into alignment with his own. In the Bible, this holds equally true for the rhetoric of interpersonal relations analysed in the last chapter and for the rhetoric of doctrinal relations, to which the omniscience and the omnipotence effects do not yet set the most demanding task.

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Medium 9780253000989

1 Protestantism in Nazi Germany

Christopher J. Probst Indiana University Press ePub

At the 1927 Königsberg Protestant Church Congress, Paul Althaus gave a rousing and groundbreaking keynote address on Kirche und Volkstum (Church and Nationality). In it, he offered a carefully constructed new political theology that railed against a “foreign invasion” (Überfremdung) in the areas of the arts, fashion, and finance, which he believed had led to a disintegration of the national community (Volksgemeinschaft). The present distress of the German Volk, he charged, was due to the “Jewish threat.” The church’s attempts to penetrate the Volk with the Gospel were opposed by “Jewish influence” in economics, the press, the arts, and literature. Althaus had captured perceptively the mood of Weimar Protestants and provided theological legitimacy for völkisch (nationalistic) thinking in their ranks.

Althaus was one of the most prominent and prolific theologians of the late Weimar and Nazi eras. His carefully constructed doctrine of the “orders of creation” influenced large numbers of German Protestants during late Weimar and the Third Reich. The importance of this innovative theological construct during the Nazi era, its consequences for German Protestant ideology, as well as the influence of its progenitor, require careful examination, which I will undertake shortly. First, however, a few words are in order about some key interpretive issues, the evolution of antisemitism in modern Germany, and some important developments in German Protestantism during the 1920s and 1930s.

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Medium 9780253006639

5. Gift of Being, Gift of Self

Edited by Morny Joy Indiana University Press ePub

It’s not enough

deciding to open.


You must plunge your fingers

Into your navel, with your two hands

split open,

spill out the lizards and horned toads

the orchids and the sunflowers,

turn the maze inside out.

Shake it. . . .


From Mauss, to Lévi-Strauss, to Derrida, the gift is presented, presents itself; it is eluded or it eludes us. Not a nicely wrapped box to be opened so as to find a clear, obvious, beautiful content. Questions of meanings, intentions, obligations, come to mind. The gift, connected to sociality and obligation (Mauss 1990) or to purity and impossibility (Derrida 1992), does not only represent the possibility for what some consider a purer, more “authentic,” perhaps more noble economy than the market exchange engendered by modern capitalism; it can also point to excess and power (Bataille 1988)—but it can also be a gift of disclosure, of understanding, a gift of being (Heidegger 1972).

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Chapter 3. The Independent Variable: Interaction with the Habitat

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

In the course of the history of our species, a number of different adaptations have appeared vis-à-vis the habitat. Athough transition between them is fluid, anthropologists have been able to recognize five principal lifeways: hunter-gatherers, horticulturalists, agriculturalists, nomadic pastoralists, and city dwellers. As an ideal type, each one of these adaptations correlates with a different religious behavior. It is important, therefore, to outline their special characteristics.

The hunter-gatherers.1 As we know, the exact time at which modern humans appeared is still a matter of debate. Most recently (see Science 237 (1987): 1292–1295) it has been suggested on the basis of new fossil evidence and molecular biological research that they arrived on the scene no earlier than 200,000 years ago. It appears pretty certain that their point of origin was Africa, and by 10,000 before our era they had succeeded in covering the earth.

In a very real way, the hunters and gatherers open the first chapter of our human history. And fittingly, this dawning was as close to paradise as humans have ever been able to achieve. The men did the hunting and scavenging, working for about three hours a week, and the women took care of daily sustenance by gathering vegetal food and small animals. It was such a harmonious existence, such a successful adaptation, that it did not materially alter for many thousands of years. This view is not romanticizing matters. Those hunter-gatherer societies that have survived into the present still pursue the same lifestyle, and we are quite familiar with it from contemporary anthropological observation. Despite the unavoidable privations of human existence, despite occasional hunger, illness, and other trials, what makes their lifeway so enviable is the fact that knowing every nook and cranny of their home territory and all that grows and lives in it, the bands make their regular rounds and take only what they need. By modern calculations, that amounts to only about 10 percent of the yield, easily recoverable under undisturbed conditions. They live a life of total balance, because they do not aspire to controlling their habitat, they are a part of it.

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CHAPTER 4: Invoking the Mulier Fortis: The Confraternity of the Rosary

Getz, Christine Indiana University Press PDF

Chapter 4


Invoking the Mulier Fortis

The Confraternity of the Rosary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee

—Luke 1:28

For inhabitants of Post-Tridentine Italy, no instrument associated with the Blessed Virgin possessed more spiritual force than the Rosary. Also commonly known as the corona or garland, the Rosary was the primary means of accessing the intercessory power of Mary as Mulier

Fortis, the virtuous woman who crushed the head of the proverbial serpent.1 Praying the Rosary while meditating upon its fifteen mysteries allowed the devoted communicant to realize the miraculous potential of the Virgin’s influence and demonstrate its use in overcoming the ills of the world, and the activity was encouraged through the publication of Rosary books that described various techniques of praying the Rosary, as well as through volumes that recounted the numerous legends that had developed in connection with them. Bernardo Giunti’s

1587 Miracoli della sacratissima Vergine [Maria . . . del santissimo

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