I have tried to portray the rich tapestry that the Jewish tradition presents to us when we seek guidance as to the pursuit of justice and its role in overcoming the painful ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. My selection, undoubtedly, has been subjective, though I have tried to present different and conflicting perspectives. The clear conclusion that one may derive is that there is no one Jewish perspective of justice, nor one avenue for its application in present-day conflicts. Judaism expects us to make choices. Judaism, and religion altogether, can be a source of healing and strong proponent of peace. Alas, it can also serve to demonize the other, reduce his/her rights and justify subversion of the spirit of justice.
A Jewish Perspective
The Convergence of Memory, Tourism and National History in Ghana
The year 2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Ghana and the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. The Ghana Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Affairs is planning the Joseph Project, a roots tourism initiative, aimed at ‘welcoming home’ its African diaspora. The historic slave forts and castles on Ghana’s coast are important sites for diasporic roots tourists, who also maintain symbolic links to Ghana’s independence movement through the history of Pan-Africanism. The Joseph Project uniquely includes a programme of national healing and atonement for African complicity in the slave trade and aims to remap national memory through tourism, education and the establishment of new museums, monuments and rituals.
Ruy Llera Blanes, Sverker Finnström, John Harald Sande Lie, Dieter Devos, Natalia De Marinis, Sergio González Varela, and Nicolas Argenti
Dena Freeman, ed., Pentecostalism and Development: Churches, NGOs and Social Change in Africa Review by Ruy Llera Blanes
Nicolas Argenti and Katharina Schramm, eds., Remembering Violence: Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission Review by Sverker Finnström
Soumhya Venkatesan and Thomas Yarrow, eds., Differentiating Development: Beyond an Anthropology of Critique Review by Jon Harald Sande Lie
Michael Jindra and Joël Noret, eds., Funerals in Africa: Explorations of a Social Phenomenon Review by Dieter Devos
Heidi Moksnes, Maya Exodus: Indigenous Struggle for Citizenship in Chiapas Review by Natalia De Marinis
Diana Paton and Maarit Forde, eds., Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing Review by Sergio González Varela
Charles Stewart, Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece Review by Nicolas Argenti
The disagreement between Germany and the United States over the
war in Iraq was massive. During the winter of 2002, many observers
spoke of a long-term rift between these longstanding allies and a
total loss of credibility on both sides. No one can doubt, regardless
of recent healing overtures,1 that the German-American partnership
has been altered and significantly weakened. It has suffered a blow
far more damaging than those that accompanied past conflicts over,
for example, Ostpolitik, the neutron bomb, the Soviet gas pipeline,
the flow of high technology products to the Soviet Union, the imposition
of trade sanctions in 1980 against the military government in
Poland, the stationing in the late 1970s of middle-range missiles on
German soil, and the modernization of short-range missiles in 1989.
The Kardecist-Spiritist Disobsession in Brazil
Sidney M. Greenfield
This essay examines a ritual called a 'disobsession' by Brazilian Kardecist-Spiritists, discussing how it might affect the biophysiology of the patient and provide more than symbolic assistance. In the ritual, mediums enter into trance, communicate with and/or receive spirits, and engage in exchanges with them, while the patient being treated merely observes. Since the sufferer is not knowledgeable about the Kardecist belief system, an analysis that assumes shared values, contexts, and systems of semiosis between healer and patient does not apply. I argue instead that the participants are in a trance-like, hypnotic state during which they respond as do patients treated elsewhere with hypnotically facilitated psychology or hypnotherapy. While not necessarily aware of it, during the ritual they internalize beliefs about the powers of spirits that may be transduced to produce proteins that activate the immune and other bodily systems, thereby contributing to their cure.
Science/Religion versus Sukuma Magic
Typically, magic takes no stance against the socialized beliefs that determine it, in contrast with both science and modern religion, which, in the face of doubt, assert the truth-value of their propositions against such determination. In other words, science and religion engage in 'believed belief'. Their aversion to magical belief is the one thing they can agree on. Believed beliefs produce convictions of truth sufficiently intense to base actions on, such as the killing of someone identified as a witch. Ethnography on Sukuma healing allows us to distinguish this experience of the witch from that of oracles and magical remedies. While research in terms of belief(s) tends to oppose cultures, an approach based on experiential structures links up seemingly distinct practices from different cultures, while differentiating seemingly similar practices within a culture.
Signs of Hope
Guat Kwee See
Over the last fifty years, Muslims and Christians have never talked so much with each other, according to Jean Claude Basset. However, he writes that it is mainly a small elite group of scholars who are doing the talking Ismail Faruqi described Muslim-Christian dialogue as a 'failure, a struggling desperately to survive', and in vain, with no visible results. He argued that Muslim-Christian dialogue has mostly been led by Christians; Muslims as 'invited guests' have thus not been free to speak being obligated to their 'hosts'. Furthermore, participant Muslims are often selected by Church authorities, rather than elected or appointed by their communities. Although a good number of dialogues have been organized at the international level with the support of religious organizations, they claim little impact beyond more local initiatives, have not prevented mistrust and conflicts from occurring, and have offered little help in healing wounds and restoring peace.
This article examines Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation as a creative enterprise that opens up new ideas about documentary film and insights into working with new media. It considers how the making of this film worked as a prosthetic aspect to the filmmaker's identity and stability. In examining the interplay of sound, image, and written text, I note how Tarnation develops an artistic meditation on a number of important topics: the representation of trauma, the abstract and formal means of expressing the fragility of survival, the damage to memory and to identity that family dys-function causes, the technical demands of creating narratives of broken and contested lives. The material in the film and its mode of composition from the perspective of psychoanalytic studies of mourning, gay performance and identity, gender dysphoria and its relation to loss, and artistic projects as acts of healing are also considered.
Drawing on phenomenology and his clinical practice, the author explores religious experience and the dynamics of the numinous. The article opens with the argument that psychoanalysts, like religious healers, should be able to work with religious phenomena as part of psychoanalytic therapy. The origin of the term 'numinous' is explained, and two types of human religious experience, mysterium tremendum and fascinans, are detailed. The role of anxiety in converting a metaphorical illusion (fascinans) into a private symbol (mysterium tremendum) is described. The terms by which religion can be viewed alternatively as delusion, illusion, and tenable speculation are discussed. A patient's religious concerns with the sacred and the profane are presented as symptoms of the repression of numinous experiences. Therapy can be promoted through a psychoanalytic dialogue on the patient's religiosity and its partial replication of early object relations.
What, if not Durkheim’s ‘collective representations’ acquired during exalted states of effervescence, gives rise to society, culture and science? Marcel Mauss provides another answer by pointing to the different rhythms of social relationships and the human effort to synchronise them. The seasonal cycle of the Eskimo [Inuit], Mauss argues, is in accord with their game; hence people disperse in summer to pursue economic activities in small bands, while they congregate in dense house-complexes in winter and engage in ritual. It would appear that Mauss draws heavily on Boas’s contrast between the Kwakiutl winter celebrations and their ‘uninitiated’ livelihood in summer. These insights have traction for medical anthropologists who are interested in finding an anthropological explanation for the efficaciousness of ‘traditional’ medicines or ‘indigenous’ healing techniques.