ISSN: 1522-5658
Volume 6 (2004)

"But They're JUST People": Teaching Jewish American (Auto)biography in a Jewishly Impoverished University

Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, Southwest Missouri State University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

David, Mickey Mouse, and the Evolution of an Icon

Lowell K. Handy, American Theological Library Association
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Lord of Lark and Lightning: Reassessing Celtic Christianity's Ecological Emphases

Bruce Martin, Taylor University College
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

"On the Brink of Tears and Laughter": Joy and Suffering in the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas

Val Vinokurov, The New School and Lang College
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Ten Commandments Monuments and the Rivalry of Iconic Texts

James W. Watts, Syracuse University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

A Resource of Hope or a Religion No Longer Believed In? The Religious Nature of a "Green" William Morris

Sara Wills, University of Melbourne
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Asian Christian Networks: Transnational Structures and Geopolitical Mappings

Robbie B. H. Goh, National University of Singapore
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]


When the Passion has Cooled: Reflections on Mel Gibson’s Passion

Gregory S. Bucher, Brian Barrett, Michael Dawson, Creighton University [ Review Essay PDF ]


Seth Schwartz. Imperialism and Jewish Society, 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. (PAMELA EISENBAUM)

John Webster. Holiness (KEN WILLIAMS)

Matthew Dickerson. Following Gandalf. Epic Battles and Moral Victory in The Lord of the Rings (GREGORY S. BUCHER)

Daniel W. Hardy. Finding the Church: The Dynamic Truth of Anglicanism (ROBERT MACSWAIN)

Mitri Raheb. Bethlehem Besieged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble (DENNIS HAMM, S.J.)

Jeffrey Stout. Democracy and Tradition (JOSEPH S. PAGANO)

This paper examines the cultural barriers crossed when teaching a Jewish topics course in a university with a minimal Jewish presence in a predominately Christian city. This upper-level general education course uses (auto)biography to show the connection between a person's public and private life. This section used texts by Jewish Americans. The students' reactions to the texts reveal their preconceived notions of not only (auto)biography, but Judaism. Their responses show the students' growth in their understanding of the Jew in American and American Jewish history, most important in the current climate of multi-cultural education practices.
The transformation of an entertaining roguish figure to an institutional icon is investigated with respect to the figures of Mickey Mouse and the biblical King David. Using the three-stage evolution proposed by R. Brockway, the figures of Mickey and David are shown to pass through an initial entertaining phase, a period of model behavior, and a stage as icon. The biblical context for these shifts is basically irretrievable so the extensive materials available for changes in the Mouse provide sufficient information on personnel and social forces to both illuminate our lack of understanding for changes in David while providing some comparative material for similar development.
A growing literature explores relationships between religion, ecology, and environmental stewardship. In Christian writings, Celtic Christianity has been proposed as exemplary for contemporary Christians seeking harmonious relationships among humanity, God, and nature. The accuracy of descriptions in this recent literature of ecological values perceived in Celtic Christianity requires critical evaluation against the evidence. This paper aims to investigate the key themes contemporary Christian writers identify as defining characteristics of early Celtic Christianity and evaluates these against primary sources of early Celtic literature. A careful reading of early Celtic literature reveals an ambiguous understanding of relationships between humanity, nature, and God.
The idea of enjoyment (jouissance), of "life as love of life," is a crucial preconditional aspect in Levinas's ethical thought. The self takes satisfaction in its own being by consuming the outside world through enjoyment, through making the Other into the Same. For Levinas, however, it is the face of the other person that interrupts my enjoyment and calls me to responsibility: "one has to first enjoy one's bread, not in order to have the merit of giving it, but in order to give it with one's heart, to give oneself in giving it." My enjoyment thereby becomes meaningful in the other.

Levinas also attempts to "envisage suffering . . . in the inter-human perspective - that is, as meaningful in me, useless in the Other." In the context of his philosophical project, this move is necessary, lest my suffering become an alibi for the suspension of my responsibility, and lest one see the Other's suffering as theodicy, as part of God's plan. Unlike enjoyment, my suffering, "at the limit of its 'usefulness,'" is precisely that which "does not fit in me." This idea of an outside that cannot be assimilated and that instead assimilates or changes me is the essence of revelation. Nevertheless, Levinas does not address the fact that personal, even expiatory, suffering may often have more problematic interpersonal dimensions.
The legal and political controversy over Ten Commandments monuments in the United States revolves aroundiconic textsholding a discrete symbolic value compared to texts whose function primarily is to be read. A comparative perspective on iconic texts reveals that the nation's founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, have also been increasingly turned into monumental icons over the last half-century. The commandments controversy can therefore be understood as competition among iconic texts for symbolic supremacy. At stake in that struggle are basic issues over how the nation will represent the government's relationship to the many religions represented within its population.
Drawing upon research into the work of British artist, writer and socialist William Morris, this paper argues that in order to comprehend the "green" or environmental dimension of Morris's work, it is necessary to understand the extent to which his vision drew upon religious ideas of the natural world. Deeply influenced by contexts such as romanticism, and by the pervasive presence of typological thinking in Victorian interpretations of nature, Morris strove to imagine human relationships with nature beyond the bounds of industry and the nexus of work. This paper surveys some of the religious ideas about nature that influenced Morris and allowed him subsequently to maintain nature as a "resource of hope."
While religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam are still numerically dominant, often overwhelmingly so, in many of the countries of Asia, Evangelical Christianity has been making significant advances in the latter part of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, particularly in a number of "hubs" such as South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines. These hubs mark the rise of a highly organized, globally networked, and socially transformative vision of Asian Christian identities that, unlike the missionary movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, are largely driven by Asian organizations and agencies.