964 Chapters
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Medium 9780253356819

8 “A Spontaneous Social Experiment”

Carspecken, Lucinda Indiana University Press ePub

I had time to stand in the driveway looking at the sparkling lights of hundreds of candles, listening to laughter, voices, and music drifting across the field on a beautiful early summer night and think, “Look at what we’ve done. Look at what we’ve created.” … There were moments of revelation and moments of pure joy. Listening to call and response rounds of “Yo Ho” (with harmonies!) echoing between circles. Dancing with babies, having so many of “my” kids together, meeting the beginnings of the third generation of elves. Acquiring a new target for my smart-aleck remarks, playing Frisbee barefoot for hours (black eye and all). Seeing so many people from the past and so many new faces. Working side by side with folks who were new to Lothlórien a year ago. … Feeling truly, perfectly HOME.

Conney, Facebook posting, 2010

I was moved, after Elf Fest in 2010, to read Conney’s impressions, which she had posted on Facebook. Like the other Eldars, Stewards, and long-time volunteers, Conney usually spends her festival time working. She is often either in the kitchen, organizing volunteers for essential tasks, or buying supplies for meals. She has lived at the front gates of Lothlorien with her family since 1987 and has experienced enough drama, conflict, mess, change, noise, loss, and hard work there to develop a jaded view of alternative communities. This year, for the first time in years, there were enough kitchen volunteers for her to participate fully in the festival itself. She sounds, oddly, as starry-eyed as any first-time visitor.

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Medium 9780253006479

3 Reverse Theology

McCombs, Richard Indiana University Press ePub


Unknown, and yet well-known. (2 Corinthians 6:9)


No man hath seen God at any time, [but] he that hath seen me hath seen the Father. (John 1:18; 14:9)


My Father is greater than I, [but] I and my Father are one. (John 14:28; 10:30)


In his existence-relation to the truth, the existing subjective thinker is just as negative as positive, has just as much of the comic as he essentially has of pathos. (CUP, 80)


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (Shakespeare, Hamlet)

In the estimation of Climacus, his contemporaries were uncritical, dogmatic, and altogether too positive about such things as worldly wisdom and the Hegelian System. In order to chasten and correct this foolish positivity, Climacus wielded the power of the negative (CUP, 80–93). As understood and practiced by Climacus, negative thinking is critical, iconoclastic, and ironic: it refutes error, exposes the limitations and incompleteness of the System and other idols of thought, and satirizes complacency and presumption.

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Medium 9780253342935

44 An Evaluation of the Uprisings and Their Results

Yitzhak Arad Indiana University Press ePub

The Undergrounds in both Treblinka and Sobibor operated under extremely difficult and adverse conditions. The camps were small, easy to supervise, and offered no possible hiding places, and the prisoners were under the constant surveillance of the camp authorities. Yet the Underground leaders still succeeded in organizing a clandestine group and preserving the secrecy of its existence from the Germans, Ukrainians, and the majority of their fellow prisoners. The fact that it was done attests to outstanding leadership, a sharp eye in selecting the members for the Underground, and the manipulative ability to conceal the clandestine activities.

The Underground in each camp operated independently; there was absolutely no contact between them. They were not even aware of the existence of the other camp and an Underground organization there. Yet we find many similarities in the organization, plans, and activities in both camps. The conditions and structure of Treblinka and Sobibor were similar, and this was what probably dictated the way the organization and operation of the Undergrounds developed. The leaders of the Undergrounds came from the “elite” of the prisoners—the capos, heads of workshops, foremen. Even the size of the Underground was similar in both camps—about fifty to sixty members.

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Medium 9780253012531

10. “God Modes” and “God Moods”: What Does a Digital Game Need to Be Spiritually Effective? · Oliver Steffen

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Oliver Steffen

IM NOT SURE HOW MUCH RELIGION YOULL FIND IN THE PATH,” writes Michaël Samyn, director of the Belgian independent studio Tale of Tales, in response to an inquiry.1 After all, The Path “is a short horror game inspired by older versions of Little Red Riding Hood, set in modern day.”2 Six sisters, aged nine to nineteen, are sent on an errand to their sick and bedridden grandmother. Mother tells them to stay on the path that leads through a thick and dangerous forest. The woods, however, promise adventures that can hardly be resisted by the girls. In the forest, they find strange areas and objects related to their characters and life situation. Most important, they find their personal wolf – a traumatic encounter, after which grandmother’s house becomes a place of surreal nightmares that end with the death of each girl.

The Path, which won awards for innovative game design, shows little overt religious symbolism, apart from some Christian crosses at the graveyard and the girls’ reflections about death. However, a glance at the developer’s forum reveals that players relatively often tie their play experiences to religious themes.3 Therefore, the game might be an example, on one hand, of the suggestion of William Sims Bainbridge and Wilma Alice Bainbridge that it is “possible that certain categories of games satisfy some of the same psychological needs satisfied by religion,”4 and on the other hand, of game researcher and designer Ian Bogost’s approach that games may have a spiritually relevant persuasive effect through their procedural representations and interactions rather than through their contents.5 In this chapter, I suggest a ludologically influenced religious studies approach to digital games.6 I am interested in the basic structural elements of games that generate religiously or spiritually relevant experiences in players. As a start, I examine a number of scientific and journalistic publications that, in their discussion of digital games’ effects, not only refer to religious terms, metaphors, and themes, but also provide details about the characteristics of the corresponding ludological structure. I offer a list of criteria to compare the spiritual efficacy of digital games – an essential aspect of the implicit religious potential of games. I then show that this efficacy may be understood and compared in terms of flow, meditation, empowerment, disempowerment, and morality. This catalog becomes the basis for my analysis of The Path, which is followed by a discussion from a religious studies perspective.

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Medium 9780253318992

Chapter 6. The Horticulturists

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

The history of horticulturalist settlements varies greatly according to geographic location. Judging from the archeological record, it flourished only briefly in Central Europe, and disappeared from the scene well over five thousand years ago. Traces of it can still be found in fairy tales and legends, but the absence of a historical memory of this cultural form contributed to the tragedy of native populations that got in the way of European conquest: It was not agriculture, and therefore it was despised as ignorant and savage. Only around the Mediterranean did some of the central concepts of its religion, especially that of metamorphosis, survive into the time of classical antiquity, as we know from ancient Greece and Egypt. But the ability of humans to change shape and become animals or plants was no longer generally accepted and became the attribute of deities in Greece. Zeus changes into a bull or a swan in order to further his amorous pursuits and seduce beautiful girls. And in Egypt, where many deities appear in a combined human and animal form, the entire metamorphosis complex apparently became part of the esoteric knowledge of the priestly caste. Japanese Shinto, the “Way of the Spirits,” is the only example of a large, modern industrial society retaining a horticultural religion. Horticulturalism as a way of life survived into the present in New Guinea, in parts of Southeast Asia, in Africa, and among Amerindian societies in both North and South America.

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Medium 9780253356376

11 The Ordination of a Tree: The Buddhist Ecology Movement in Thailand

KATHLEEN M ADAMS Indiana University Press ePub

Susan M. Darlington

A Buddhist ecology movement, developing in Thailand and other Buddhist nations, addresses local and national problems of deforestation and ecological destruction. While this is only one aspect of the growing environmentalism in Thailand (Hirsch 1996), the Buddhists involved in this movement see their religion as critical for providing practical as well as moral guidelines for ecological conservation. This focuses on how Buddhists, especially monks, put their concepts of Buddhism and ecology into action, and the consequent reinterpretations of both sets of concepts that result from such behavior. As Buddhism is increasingly used to promote social activism such as conservation, its role in Thai society is also being implicitly challenged and reworked. While the exact changes that will occur are unknown, the Buddhist ecology movement’s potential direction may be glimpsed by examining how rituals, particularly ordaining trees, promote the ecology movement, lending it economic, political, social, and moral force.

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Medium 9780253357144

6. Sin

Hugh J. McCann Indiana University Press ePub


Traditional belief has it that God's providential care of the world is complete and meticulous: that each event in the history of creation is governed down to the finest detail by a completely loving and fully engaged Father, who wants only what is best for his creatures. If the previous chapter is correct, theists can uphold that belief and argue at the same time that rational creatures enjoy libertarian free will. We possess legitimate freedom as agents, but our actions remain entirely subject to God's will as creator. How, then, can he avoid implication in our wrongdoing? Indeed, why is he not what the Westminster Confession of Faith is at pains to deny: namely, the very “author or approver of sin,” and preeminently at fault for it? And even if it is possible to exonerate God from outright guilt in the matter, what could constitute a justification for the occurrence of sin? How can we possibly claim that it serves our good for God to will that we commit acts that are wrong? If, as it now appears, he could in fact have populated the universe according to J. L. Mackie's suggestion, with creatures none of whom would ever choose evil, why did he choose to do the exact opposite? Where is the love in a divine Father who involves all of his creatures in moral failure—some, as it appears, even to their eternal detriment? These are daunting questions, to which we should not assume our position as creatures will permit a completely satisfying answer. I think, however, that it is possible to make real progress with them.

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Medium 9780253204226

2. Medieval Witches

Joseph Klaits Indiana University Press ePub

Witch trials were virtually unknown until the final centuries of the Middle Ages. Through most of the medieval era, churchmen generally held that anyone who believed women went flying about at night was a victim of superstition. But, even as these assertions became formalized in influential collections of the church’s canon law, the foundation on which they rested was slowly eroded in the course of the medieval Catholic encounter with nonconformists whom the church perceived to be dangerous deviants.

Jews, heretics, homosexuals, and magicians were among the most important of the nonconforming groups. From the twelfth century on, outsiders came under increasing verbal and physical attack from churchmen, allied secular authorities, and, particularly in the case of Jews, from the lower strata of the population. In the early Middle Ages, a more easygoing acceptance of social diversity had usually been the norm. After 1100, however, new patterns of enmity quickly emerged, and a climate of fear and hostility became frozen into place. Not until the end of the seventeenth century, when ancient hatreds receded somewhat, did a few areas of Western culture temporarily abandon the stress on social conformity and unanimity of belief. But, by the time of this decline in preoccupation with unconventional behavior, the witch craze had run its course.

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Medium 9780253006431

Part 2. Eighteenth-Century Conversations

Alanna E. Cooper Indiana University Press ePub

Much is at stake in writing the past of the Bukharan Jews, for their story—ostensibly about a small, marginal diaspora group—actually encapsulates the dynamics of Jewish history and Jewish People in the broadest sense. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the tale of an eighteenth-century Sephardi emissary from Ottoman Palestine, and his encounter with Central Asia’s Bukharan Jews.

At the end of the eighteenth century, a young man by the name of Yosef Maman is said to have set out from his home in Safed. He headed eastward as an emissary of the Holy Land, driven by a desire to educate Jews living in the far reaches of the diaspora. Over many generations of isolation from important centers of Jewish learning, explains historian Avraham Ya‘ari, these communities had lost their sense of connection to the Holy Land and to the Jewish People, and had strayed from the dictates of Judaism. The hardy, charismatic Maman, who was not much older than twenty, was determined to reunite them.

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Medium 9780253329653

11. Some Difficulties in Theistic Treatments of Evil

Edited by Daniel HowardSnyder Indiana University Press ePub


That the world contains the evils it does obviously poses a challenge to traditional theism. For some it is logical in that a contradiction is supposed to be deducible from the coexistence of God and evil. Almost everyone now believes that adequate defenses have been devised to neutralize this challenge, a defense being a description of a possible world containing both God and the evils in question. In such a world God has a morally exonerating excuse for permitting these evils. In particular, it is claimed that the free-will defense, in at least one of its many versions, succeeds in reconciling God’s existence with moral evil—evil that is attributable to creaturely misuse of free will. In my book, On the Nature and Existence of God, I argued that no version of this defense works, and thereby the logical problem posed by moral evil is still with us. This, however, will not be my concern in this paper.

Evil also can be seen as posing an evidential challenge because the evils found in the world are supposed to lower the probability that God exists, and, for some atheologians, so much so that it is less than one-half. There are two different theistic responses to this challenge. The strongest response takes the form of a theodicy, which is a defense plus some argument for thinking that the possible world in which God and evil coexist is the actual world. The weaker response, which I will call “defensive skepticism,” is either (i) a defense coupled with an argument for our not being cognitively capable of finding out whether or not the possible world described in this defense is the actual world or (ii) just an argument for our not being cognitively capable of determining whether or not any evil is “gratuitous” in the sense that there is not in fact, though there could be, a circumstance that would constitute a morally exonerating excuse for God’s permitting it.

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Medium 9780253001771

4. “The First Bomb-shell from the Dugpa World”

Sarah Diane Sasson Indiana University Press ePub


“The First Bomb-shell from the Dugpa World”

In the spring of 1886, Helena P. Blavatsky felt that “fierce waves” of evil spirits were “heaving and spreading and beating ferociously around the [Theosophical] Society.”1 She had left India at the end of March 1885, some months before the Society for Psychical Research labeled her a fraud. The Society for Psychical Research had been founded in London in 1882 with the goal of examining paranormal phenomena through scientific methods. In December 1884, its representative, Richard Hodgson, had arrived at the Theosophical Headquarters in Adyar, India, where he conducted a three-month investigation. A report presented to a General Meeting of the Society for Psychical Research in June 1885 concluded that Blavatsky was neither “the mouthpiece of hidden seers” nor “a mere vulgar adventuress; we think she has achieved a title to permanent remembrance as one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting imposters in history.”2

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Medium 9780253019622

2. Legends of Authenticity: Das Buch von den polnischen Juden (1916) by S. J. Agnon and Ahron Eliasberg / Sylvia Jaworski

Edited by Andreas Kilcher and Gabriella Indiana University Press ePub

Das Buch von den polnischen Juden (1916)
by S. J. Agnon and Ahron Eliasberg


In his article “Deutsche und polnische Juden” (German and Polish Jews, 1897), Nathan Birnbaum (1864–1937) describes the German Jew’s perception of the so-called “Polish Jew” as follows:

When a German Jew crosses the eastern border of his fatherland, he immediately feels like he is being transferred into a new world. It is strange and significant that nothing in this new world attracts his attention more than the Jews. It is mostly them who make him shake his head. Well, no! We are better people than that, he thinks. We dress and speak like the world does, and we are polite and modest. We do not wave about that much with our hands, we do not scream as intolerably, we do not creep, hop, or walk in such a ridiculous way. It is a real blemish for . . . for . . . for—he thinks a while about what for exactly—for Judaism. . . . Since they [the German Jews] wear a white collar, these people think that they may look down on Polish Jews to the extent that, for instance, Dr. Peters does on his colored fosterlings.1

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Medium 9780253018021

3. To the Ground of Being and Beyond: Toward a Pentecostal Engagement with Ontology

Edited by Nimi Wariboko and Amos Yong Indiana University Press ePub

The ground between pentecostal theology and Paul Tillich does not, at first glance, appear to share even the same tectonic plate. Can liberal Protestant theology offer anything to the burgeoning development and dynamism of pentecostal theology? Or, put differently, can the new wine of pentecostal theology be poured into the old wineskins of theological liberalism?1 These questions are no less pressing in regard to the doctrine of God. Early pentecostal theology in this area largely focused on the split between oneness Pentecostals and the trinitarian doctrine of God taken over from evangelicals and fundamentalists. Only recently has interest arisen in developing distinctive pentecostal notions of God that contribute to wider theological areas of scholarship. Even so, engaging Paul Tillich as an interlocutor in the doctrine of God may seem a perilous task. The other chapters in this volume focus attention largely on the third volume of Tillich’s systematics, which, arguably, offers much more in the way of dialogue via the concept of Spiritual Presence than the philosophically laden concept of the ground of being in volume 1. But if pentecostals can only draw from Tillich’s pneumatology in the course of their dialogue, an opportunity will be missed to engage in the philosophical theology2 (and, by extension, ontology) that volume 3 presupposes. As Tillich himself notes, his system is circular, which means that the later volumes depend on their antecedents, while also deepening their insights (ST 2.5). Thus, a much stronger case for Tillich’s benefit as an interlocutor for pentecostals can be made if he can contribute not only to pneumatology, but to the doctrine of God (with its underlying ontology) as well.

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Medium 9780253015990

1 French Colonial Manipulation and Lebanese Survival

Mara A. Leichtman Indiana University Press ePub

Cosmopolitanism is . . . not only a trope of modernity but also, and very specifically, of colonial modernity.

—Peter van der Veer, “Colonial Cosmopolitanism”

Cosmopolitanism is the Western engagement with the rest of the world and that engagement is a colonial one, which simultaneously transcends the national boundaries and is tied to them.

—Peter van der Veer, “Colonial Cosmopolitanism”

SOME SCHOLARS HAVE been skeptical of cosmopolitanism discourses invoked by the civilizing mission of imperialism (Clifford 1992; Hannerz 1990; Ong 2006). Van der Veer (2002), however, makes a strong case for examining cosmopolitanism in the colonial period (see also Kahn 2008; Kuehn 2012). As missionaries and colonial officers had a willingness to engage with the Other, van der Veer understands colonial cosmopolitanism to be a form of translation and conversion of the local into a (“provincialized”) universal. Colonial modernity thus “disclaims its roots in a European past and claims a cosmopolitan openness to other civilizations. However, this is an openness to understanding with a desire to bring progress and improvement, a cosmopolitanism with a moral mission” (167). He critiques academic discussions of cosmopolitanism for lacking systematic attention to religion (although this is slowly starting to change).

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Medium 9780253010018

9. As if I were Dead: Radical Theology and the Real

John D. Caputo Indiana University Press ePub


To perceive the object as such
implies that you perceive the object as it is
or as it is supposed to be when you are not there…
So to relate to an object as such means to relate to it
as if you were dead.
That's the condition of truth…the condition of objectivity.

                                                       —JACQUES DERRIDA

I object to the blackmail, to the bad choice—theism or atheism!—and to the violence of double genitive in the odium theologiae—the total contempt for religion on the part of secularists, the demonization of atheism by the theologians, which leads to outright violence by religious extremists. The whole thing is a perfect recipe for war. The current form this blackmail has taken in recent years is a new wave of “materialism,” “realism,” and “atheism” that has arisen in reaction to the so-called theological turn. These terms are used more or less interchangeably, as if theology is allergic to reality and materiality, which is the point where we radical theologians sigh in despair, as if we had to choose. The (not so) new blackmail is: Reality or fiction! Materiality or spirit-seeing! Science or fideism! These not-so-new materialists seek to rekindle the old science wars and to wage a new version of the old battle over what is really real, pitting tough-minded scientists against tender-minded types who lack the heart to face reality and so take flight to the fancies of poetry and the fantasies of religion. The new breed of scientific realists, what I will call warrior realists, are merciless iconoclasts, out to destroy all the graven images of the scientific real in order to let the real itself be itself in all its unvarnished reality.

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