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Culture – A Life of Learning

Clifford Geertz und aktuelle gesellschaftliche Herausforderungen


Edited by Franz Gmainer-Pranzl and Barbara Schellhammer

Der US-amerikanische Kulturanthropologe Clifford Geertz (1926–2006), der durch seine Methode der dichten Beschreibung die ethnologische Forschung maßgeblich veränderte und nachhaltig prägte, bezeichnete seine Auseinandersetzung im Rückblick als A Life of Learning. In diesem Band greifen Sozial-, Kultur- und Religionswissenschaftler/innen diesen Gedanken auf, um das Werk Clifford Geertz‘ und die von ihm eingeleitete interpretative Wende zu würdigen und interdisziplinär zu diskutieren. Es ist vor allem Geertz‘ Verständnis von Kultur als Netz von Bedeutungen, das zu einer Weiterentwicklung der Debatte über Migration, Fremdheit, Integration, Interkulturalität und interreligiösen Dialog beiträgt und unterschiedliche Disziplinen befruchtet.

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The Case for a Proto-Gospel

Recovering the Common Written Source Behind Mark and John


Gary Greenberg

In this landmark study of the literary relationship between the gospel of John and the synoptic gospels, Gary Greenberg presents compelling evidence for the existence of a written pre-canonical Alpha gospel that contained almost all of the main episodes in the adult life of Jesus (excluding major speeches, such as discourses, parables, and "I Am" sayings) and which became the written source for the core biography of Jesus in Mark, Luke, John, and Matthew. While Mark used the Alpha gospel with only slight variations, John had profound theological disagreements with it, objecting to its theological message about how to obtain eternal life, the depiction of Jesus, and other matters. This induced him to rewrite the Alpha gospel so that it conformed to his own very different theological agenda. Consequently, John’s gospel functions as a thorough theological critique of Mark, but the changes he introduced made it difficult to see how he and Mark worked from the same written source. By using John’s theological concerns as a filter for reading and understanding what objections John would have with Mark’s Jesus stories, The Case for a Proto-Gospel reverse-engineers the editorial path taken by John and reconstructs the content of the Alpha gospel. Finally, the author discusses the relationship of the other two synoptic gospels to the Alpha gospel, asserting that Luke also knew the Alpha gospel but used Mark as his primary source, and that while Matthew did not know the Alpha gospel, his use of Mark as a primary source ensured that his core biography of Jesus also derived from this earlier source.

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Magdalena Zowczak

This is the first Polish ethnological monograph to present how biblical themes function in folk culture in the context of rituals, customs and iconographic records and is based on ethnographic sources collected in Polish rural communities from central Poland to diasporas in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine in 1989–96. It shows how biblical plots used to undergo interpretation, at the same time, infiltrating common sense knowledge. The novelty here is the joint analysis of themes from both Testaments, presenting the narrations in accordance to the way the local community perceived its identity. The biblical typology, influencing culture through tradition and liturgy, inspired a symbolic order adjusted to cyclic conceptions of time and space, characteristic of rural culture

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Jesus Among Giants

Religious Biographies in Comparative Context

William Cully Allen

Jesus Among Giants: Religious Biographies in Comparative Context compares and contrasts Jesus to Mahāvīra, Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, Laozi, Moses, and Muhammad in terms of their missions and messages. These foundational religious figures are introduced in their particular socio-political context—on their own terms, in their own words, within the canons of their respective sacred scriptural traditions. Each chapter features the biography of a foundational religious figure, their teachings, a comparative analysis, and a suggestion about what Christians might learn from other foundational religious characters.

Jesus Among Giants offers a new approach to comparative religion as a confrontational conference of conflicting claims in search of uncommon insights into truth. This book observes striking similarities and discerns distinguishing differences but does not harmonize or hierarchize competing visions into a single coherent version of truth. Rather, it exposes and respects differences for the sake of determining the unique identity of each religious figure featured.

There is no avoiding controversy and conflict among the foundational figures of the world’s religions. Religious identities are forged in the face of differences. To adequately appreciate any one spiritual giant requires understanding them all. To know who Jesus is means knowing who he isn’t. Readers are invited to face the facts and fictions, myths and messages, and claims and counter-claims that clearly distinguish Jesus among giants.

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Personhood and Epistemic Interactivism in Indigenous Esan Thought

From theories of representation to an African knowledge system

Sylvester Idemudia Odia

Epistemic interactivism, an aspect of the epistemology of representation, is a cognitive intercourse between the subject and person-object of knowledge that underlies the conception of a person in Esan thought. Traditional theories of representation (especially as presented by Descartes and Locke) separated the subject from the object of knowledge, and classified persons and non-persons as object of knowledge. This separation and classification ignored the cognitive and moral values of persons, disengaged the subject from the world and burdened the self with solitude and isolation, and created propositional knowledge that dehumanised the relationship between the subject and person-object of knowledge. Within the theoretical framework of Hegel’s epistemic interactivism (meliorated by Bowne’s personalism) and Esan epistemology (in African philosophy), this book exposes the epistemic interactivism of Esan thought which unified the subject and person-object of knowledge on cognitive and moral grounds; thus providing an adequate basis for personhood and resolving the dehumanised relationship between the subject and person-object of knowledge in the traditional theories of representation.

Within the context of epistemic injustices, this book analyses the interactivist epistemology of indigenous Esan thought as an alternative epistemological conception of the person-object of knowledge which resolves the deficiency of the traditional theories of representation.

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Žižek Studies

The Greatest Hits (So Far)


Edited by David J. Gunkel and Paul A. Taylor

Žižek Studies: The Greatest Hits (So Far) assembles and presents the best work published in the field of Žižek Studies over the last ten years, providing teachers, students, and researchers with a carefully curated volume of leading-edge scholarship addressing the unique and sometimes eclectic work of Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek. The chapters included in this collection have been rigorously tested in and culled from the (virtual) pages of the International Journal of Žižek Studies, a leading open access journal that began publication in 2007. The book is organized into three sections or subject areas where Žižek and his seemingly indefatigable efforts have had significant impact: philosophy, politics, and popular culture. As a "greatest hits," the book offers the long-time fan and uninitiated newcomer alike a comprehensive overview of the wide range of opportunity in the field of Žižek studies and a remarkable collection of truly interdisciplinary "hits" from a diverse set of innovative and accomplished writers.

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Psychoanalysis – the Promised Land?

The History of Psychoanalysis in Poland 1900–1989. Part I. The Sturm und Drang Period. Beginnings of Psychoanalysis in the Polish Lands during the Partitions 1900–1918


Paweł Dybel

The book is the first systematic study of the beginnings of psychoanalysis on Polish lands in Galicia (Austria-Hungary) and Congress Poland (Russia) during the partitions of Poland in the years between 1900 and 1918. The birth of the movement was presented on a broad cultural background, as an element of the assimilation processes among Polish Jews. At the same time, Freud's and Jung's theories began to gain popularity in Polish medical, philosophical, artistic and literary circles. By 1918, over a dozen articles on psychoanalysis had been published in Polish scientific and philosophical journals. Freud himself was vitally interested in this process, sending Ludwig Jekels to Krakow in the role of – as he wrote – an "apostle" of his theory in the circles of the Polish intelligentsia.

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Jan Felicjan Terelak

The author of the book discusses the essence and social consequences of the postmodern era in the field of psychology of work and technology. He describes the relationship between the human being and the goals achieved through the use of technical tools, which is of interest to the industrial and engineering psychology. The second chapter provides a detailed classification of operator-machine system models: technocentric, anthropocentric, and operator–machine interface. In the third chapter, the author focuses on psychological characteristics of the operator–machine–interface system based on the example of jet plane pilot’s activity. The fourth chapter focuses on learning new operator activities and training of operator’s action in comprehensive simulators as analogues of work experience. In the fifth chapter the author examines occupational safety and reliability of the operator-machine system. In the sixth chapter, the author discusses the computer as a virtual operator serving the optimization of the quality of life.

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Adam Olech

The aim of this book is the analysis of Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz’s meta-epistemological project of the semantic theory of knowledge and its implementations to solve certain traditional epistemological problems and their metaphysical consequences. This project claims that cognitive problems need to be approached from the perspective of language. One of the results of this analysis is the thesis that the philosophical-linguistic legitimisation for the meta-epistemological project is the philosophy of Edmund Husserl from his Logical Investigations. This is the philosophy that makes it possible to speak reasonably of a close relation between thinking and language and provides thereby the legitimisation for this project.

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Edited by Beth E. Elness-Hanson and Jon Skarpeid

A Critical Study of Classical Religious Texts in Global Contexts: Challenges of a Changing World challenges toxic stereotypes of world religions by providing scholarly investigations into classic sacred texts in global contexts. By engaging more perspectives, important connections, and more, complex and humanizing "stories" are developed, inviting the reader to see the face of the "Other" and, perhaps, to see a bit of oneself in that face. In today’s world of increasing polarization and the rise of nationalism, the contributors to this volume welcome the reader to join them in a shared humanity that seeks understanding. A red thread that runs through each chapter relates to the challenges that globalization brings to the sacred texts in various contextual settings. The contributors describe various circumstances related to reading and interpreting sacred writings—whether historical or more recent—which continue to have an influence today. The essays in this volume view these religious texts in relation to four dichotomies: minority-majority, diaspora-homeland, center-periphery of the globalized world, and secular-religious. These elements by no means exhaust the issues, but they serve as a starting point for a discussion of relevant contexts in which sacred texts are read. The breadth of research represented stimulates a deeper understanding that is vital if we are to move beyond stereotypes and religious illiteracy to meaningfully engage the "Other" with wisdom and empathy—important virtues in today’s world. A Critical Study of Classical Religious Texts in Global Contexts will appeal to scholars and graduate students of religious studies, sacred scriptures, and post-colonial studies, as well as informed and inquisitive general readers interested in exploring interfaith dialogue and broadening their religious literacy.