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Muslim Lands, Christian Heroes, Jewish Voices

The Judeo-Spanish Ballad Tradition of Morocco

Hillary Pomeroy

The Spanish Jews who fled to North Africa from the 1391 pogroms were joined a century later, in 1492, by a larger wave of exiles, the thousands of Jews who had chosen to leave Spain rather than convert to Christianity. These fellow Jews, the megorashim or expelled Jews, had been forbidden to take 'gold and silver or minted coins' out of Spain (Edwards 1994: 52). They did, however, take with them invisible assets: their Spanish language and culture. This Iberian presence in Morocco was further reinforced by the arrival of a third group of Spanish-speaking Jews fleeing the forced conversions imposed by Portugal in 1497.

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David G. Farley, Jill Dubisch, Miriam L. Wallace, Eroulla Demetriou, and Igor Tchoukarine

Corinne Fowler, Charles Forsdick, and Ludmilla Kostova, eds., Travel and Ethics: Theory and Practice (2014) Reviewed by David G. Farley

Antón M. Pazos, ed., Pilgrims and Pilgrimages as Peacemakers in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (2013) Reviewed by Jill Dubisch

Kathryn Walchester, Gamle Norge and Nineteenth-Century British Women Travellers in Norway (2014) Reviewed by Miriam L. Wallace

Jim Bowman, Narratives of Cyprus: Modern Travel Writing and Cultural Encounters since Lawrence Durrell (2015) Reviewed by Eroulla Demetriou

Diane P. Koenker, Club Red: Vacation Travel in the Soviet Dream (2013) Reviewed by Igor Tchoukarine

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Maryon McDonald

There has been much debate about the ‘ontological turn’ in anthropology, to the point, some might say, of near intellectual numbness. However, in the opening article of this issue, by Aparecida Vilaça, we ask readers to think this through in a new way. Vilaça’s article examines whether one can talk literally and empirically of an ‘ontological turn’ amongst a group of people in Amazonia who have converted to Christianity. The argument employs more than one source of ‘ontology’ in anthropology and the answer is tantalising and instructive.

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From Boy to Man in Antiquity

Jesus in the Apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas

Reidar Aasgaard

This article presents a survey of research on childhood in antiquity and describes briefly the position of children in late antiquity and early Christianity. Special attention is given to the relationship between childhood and gender, with a focus on boyhood. The article analyses the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which tells the childhood story of Jesus from age five to twelve. This brief story, which consists of miracle stories and discourses, originated in Greek in the 2nd century CE and became widely popular. The article shows that its depiction of Jesus conforms to current ideas of gender, gender relations, and gender socialisation. A central claim in the article is that boys were not expected to show the same degree of self-restraint as were adult males, but that as children they were allowed to behave more emotionally and unpredictably. Rather than being literarily inferior or theologically aberrant, the Infancy of Gospel of Thomas in its depiction of Jesus gives a lively and credible glimpse into the world and development of a late antiquity or early Christianity male child on his way from boyhood to male adult life.

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Hans Hermann Henrix

The 40-year long tradition of the International Jewish-Christian Bible Week – begun in the Hedwig-Dransfeld-Haus in Bendorf and since 2004 continued at Haus Ohrbeck – is a valid and real reason to express congratulations and thanksgiving. Thanks are due above all to the people who initiated the tradition, and representing them I want to name Anneliese Debray (1911–1985), who will always be remembered, and Rabbi Jonathan Magonet. They helped a vision to come to life and they showed a perseverance that has persisted until today. It is the vision that says: yes, there is a Bible that Jews and Christians have in common, Israel’s Bible. At the same time, this vision does not forget that along with closeness, the relationship of Judaism and Christianity to this shared Bible also includes considerable difference. For some, this difference is so great that they question whether Jews and Christians do have Israel’s Bible in common.

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The Book of Leviticus

An Important Book in Jewish-Christian Dialogue

Erich Zenger

We can characterize the different degrees of importance given to the Book of Leviticus in Judaism and Christianity with the words of G.J. Wenham: ‘Leviticus used to be the first book that Jewish children studied in the synagogue. In the modern Church it tends to be the last part of the Bible anyone looks at seriously.’2 In the Encyclopaedia Judaica,3 J. Milgrom also highlights the great significance of the Book of Leviticus as the first object of instruction in school, which Midrash LevR VII.3 explains as follows: ‘Rabbi Assi: Why do the small children begin (to learn) with Leviticus (Torah Kohanim) and not with Genesis? Because the small children are pure and the sacrifices are pure; so the pure come and occupy themselves with the pure.’

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Presenting Judaism

Jewish Museums in Britain

Rickie Burman

All religions are practised within a larger social context, but different religions may relate to that context in different ways, posing particular issues for the way that religion is communicated through museum display. Christianity, for example, when displayed within a Christian country, will tend to focus upon the specific arena of religiosity. The Jewish minority within the same country is more likely to employ an integrated approach that sets religion within the context of history and social life. This is partly because Judaism is not only a set of beliefs and practices – it is also a way of life. The representation of Judaism therefore presents particular challenges and opportunities within a museum context. This article will provide a case study, focusing on Jewish museums within Britain.

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Liana Chua

This article centers on the somatic modes through which ghosts, spirits, and other unseen beings are apprehended as felt experiences by the Bidayuh, an indigenous group of Malaysian Borneo. Such experiences reveal a local epistemology of supernatural encounters that associates vision with normality and its suspension with both sensory and social liminality. The second half of the article explores how this model has been extended to contemporary Bidayuh Christianity, thus rendering God, Jesus, and other personages viscerally real in people's lives. Drawing on the ethnography and recent developments in the anthropology of religion, I argue that these 'soul encounters' hold important theoretical and methodological lessons for anthropologists, pushing us to reshape our conceptions of belief, as well as our approaches to the study of ostensibly intangible religious phenomena.

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Jonathan Magonet

It is with great sadness that we record the death after a long illness, on 3 May 2009, of Mme Colette Kessler, one of the leading figures of liberal Judaism in France. She was above all a teacher and educator, responsible for developing the educational programmes at the Union Libéral Israélite (ULI) and subsequently the Mouvement Juif Libéral de France (MJLF) in Paris. But she was also dedicated to developing Jewish-Christian dialogue, participating in innumerable conferences, encounters, studies and religious services. She addressed the World Union for Progressive Judaism Conference in Paris in 1995 on ‘The Urgency of a Jewish Response in the Inter-religious Dialogue’ anticipating by five years the appearance in the United States of ‘Dabru Emet, A Jewish Statement about Christianity’.

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Nahua Repositories of Social Memory

The Seventeenth-Century Mexican Primordial Titles

Amos Megged

Through the analysis of two exemplary sources pertaining to the genre of the Nahua primordial titles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the aim of this essay is to contribute further to our understanding of how this distinct Nahua colonial genre can be used for the study of Nahua social memory during Spanish colonial times. More precisely, what this present essay endeavors to identify the subtextual and supra-textual layers in these two sources. Second, it aims to highlight the replicated memory formulas applied in these specific texts; and third, to analyze the role of Christianity in these memory plots. By way of these three aspects, the task of this present study is to demonstrate that customs of remembrance, deeply rooted in the practice of a collective social memory were still cherished and kept vibrant during the mid colonial period.