Why is there such a marked reluctance to engage seriously with any religious response to the Holocaust framed in terms of divine abusiveness or sadism? Such responses are, more often than not, simply dismissed as neither theologically possible, nor emotionally plausible. This paper considers the motif of divine abusiveness in three contexts, namely debates concerning (1) punishment for sin, (2) the complex of ideas concerning divine providence, covenant and election (with particular attention to the work of Elie Wiesel and David Blumenthal), and (3) Lawrence Langer's methodological division of responses to the Holocaust as embodiments of either a "rhetoric of ruin" or a "rhetoric of consolation." It concludes by suggesting that, in such a context, the insistence upon exploring the possibility of divine sadism functions as a refusal to search for or accept the consolation offered by more traditional responses.
The paradigms used to examine the Hebrew prophetic literature are changing. This paper contributes to that change by developing a paradigm drawn from drama theory and applying that paradigm to the vision reports found in the book of Amos. The outcome is a form critical study that yields beneficial results in understanding both the design and flow of the visions as well as their integration with the surrounding oracles and narration of Amos 5-9. The application of drama theory raises questions concerning the structure and rhetorical design of the current Amos text and provides analytic tools that can be applied to additional prophetic literature of the Hebrew Bible.
This paper examines the frequently made claim by Holocaust rescuers, otherwise known as "righteous gentiles," that they merely fulfilled their duty when they endeavored to save the Jews from Hitler and are consequently deserving of no special praise for having attempted to do so. It then argues, against the prevailing view, that there are compelling reasons for trusting this testimony. Finally, it relates this finding to contemporary discussions in ethical theory, in particular challenging J. O. Urmson's widely influential claim that moral heroes who insist on the obligatory nature of their heroic conduct do not offer this judgment as a "piece of objective reporting," but as a conviction that reflects a personal ideal. By contrast, this paper contends that the hero's understanding of duty is not illusory, but, on the contrary, more enhanced than that of the majority owing to its origins in the hero's virtuous character.
Many contemporary Wiccans organize their narratives of oppression around the historical model of the Burning Times - the early-modern persecution of witches, i.e. women and marginalized persons, providing them a powerful set of symbols to organize their concerns. These narratives seek to transcend questions of victimization and provide Wiccans with a means of resisting totalizing pressures and also help create novel formations of the self and community. This remains a tenuous process, exacerbated by conflicting responses within Wicca to the needs of a growing religion. The creative aspects of the Burning Times mythology, however, do present an idealistic set of possibilities.
This paper argues that religious colleges and universities play a critical role in our national conversation. Scholars like Martha Nussbaum argue that such institutions should subordinate their religious commitments to the principles of academic freedom if they want to continue to call themselves colleges and universities. I argue, however, for a more complex appreciation of how they must negotiate between the poles of academic freedom and religious dogma. In order to conceive of this negotiating process, educators at religious institutions can avail themselves of what I identify as dialogical virtues. These virtues have been developed out of an analysis of the nature and character of human understandingas such.They offer the best means by which educators at religious institutions can be tolerant of othersandcommitted to a specific point of view, open to debateandable to witness to what they deem to be true.
The Hebrew word,keleb,"dog," in Deuteronomy 23:19 (Eng: 18) has been commonly interpreted as a homosexual male prostitute, intuitively rather than empirically. Mesopotamian sources show the existence of male cult figures of confused sexuality, whose various sexual activities, including cross-dressing and homosexual intercourse, were expressed and tolerated in cultic and non-cultic spheres. Several interpretations ofkelebare considered, among them a devotee of Asherah, a Canaanite cultic singer,a "temple" prostitute or a canine. The concept of passivity in the social and gender constructs of the ancient Near East is discussed,using examples from the Middle Assyrian Laws and analogies from Greek and Roman societies. It is observed that passivity in homosexual intercourse was unthinkable for the free-born male in those societies, for it reduced him to the level of slaves, women and pre-pubescent boys. In the letters from El Amarna in Egypt and from Lachish in Judah, "dog" is used to indicate submission of the inferior to the superior and as a term of insult.Depictions of such submission from Egypt and Syria are presented to demonstrate that there was an actual image behind the canine metaphor. Epithet and image were easily transferred from the dog as cringing servant to the passive homosexual prostitute proffering his backside for penetration. Thus the "dog,"keleb,is unworthy of offering to YHWH from his earnings, just like his female counterpart.
Postmodernity is best understood as the reflex of yet another mutation of capitalism and as such it is synonymous with what has been lauded as "the end of history" - the unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism. Hence the question of liberation theology and postmodernity is one of opposition and resistance. Yet, as the work of Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault suggests, in the era of global capitalism, the ecclesiological innovations introduced by Latin American liberationists have proven insufficiently radical. A more radical ecclesiology, one that avoids the depoliticizing acids of modernity and posits the church as a public in its own right provides a glimpse of what comes after the end of history.
"Is any of this real?" This question by a student in my Liberation Theology course took me aback because I had made strenuous efforts to make the course as concrete as possible by using documentary films, novels, and ethnographic studies of Christian base communities in Latin America. But the student had a point. The course lacked rootedness in the reality of the students' own experiences. This essay focuses upon three efforts that I have made over the past four years to transform the teaching of liberation theology. I will examine the development of a follow-up study trip to the Sonora, Mexico/Arizona borderlands to examine the social and economic conditions fostered by global economic forces. Second, I will look at the transformation of the Liberation Theology course itself into a "service learning" course. Finally, I will analyze the use of a HyperNews electronic discussion group through which the students themselves were able to take over the teaching and practice of the course.
This essay will argue that the internet provides an "added-value" to education, providing resources for more effective teaching and enhancing the learning of the students. The internet emphasizes written communication, facilitating clarity of thought and serving as the basis for critical thinking. The internet emphasizes the social dimensions of learning, and the students own role in their learning. This essay will illustrate the value of the internet for teaching and learning through a case study of transforming a traditional introductory course on the Bible into a distance course.