Making Ethnicity in Southern Bessarabia

Tracing the Histories of an Ambiguous Concept in a Contested Land

Series:

Simon Schlegel

In Making Ethnicity, Simon Schlegel offers a history of ethnicity and its political uses in southern Bessarabia, a region that has long been at the crossroads of powerful forces: in the 19th century between the Russian and Ottoman Empires, since World War I between the Soviet Union and Romania, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union between Russia and the European Union’s respective zones of influence.

Drawing on biographical interviews and archival documents, Schlegel argues that ethnic categories gained relevance in the 19th century, as state bureaucrats took over local administration from the church. After mutating into a dangerous instrument of social engineering in the mid-20th century, ethnicity today remains a potent force for securing votes and allocating resources.

Miguel Venegas and the Earliest Jesuit Theater

Choruses for Tragedies in Sixteenth-Century Europe

Series:

Margarida Miranda

In Miguel Venegas and the Earliest Jesuit Theater, Margarida Miranda takes a fresh look at the origins of Jesuit theater and provides a detailed account of the life and work of Miguel Venegas (1529–after 1588) within the Iberian tradition. The book details Venegas’s role as the founder of Jesuit theater in Portugal and the creator of a new musical genre, choruses for tragedies, which was gradually codified and emulated by successive generations of Jesuits. Venegas’s Latin tragedies in turn provided the model for regular dramatic activities in the global network of Jesuit schools, including, significantly, the first tragedies to be staged in Rome: Saul Gelboeus and Achabus, both of which had originally been performed in Coimbra in the mid-sixteenth century.

Series:

Edited by Olgun Akbulut and Elçin Aktoprak

This volume, Minority Self-Government in Europe and the Middle East: From Theory to Practice, is novel from several perspectives. It combines theory with facts on the ground, going beyond legal perspectives without neglecting existing laws and their implementation. Theoretical discussions transcend examining existing autonomy models in certain regions. It offers new models in the field, discussing such critical themes as environmentalism. Traditional concepts such as self-determination and well-known successful autonomy examples, including the Åland Islands, Basque and Catalonian models, are examined from different perspectives. Some chapters in this volume focus on certain regions (including Turkey, Syria, and Iraq) which have only recently received scholarly attention. Chapters complement one another in terms of their theoretical inputs and outputs from the field.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Religious Art for the Urban Community

Series:

Barbara A. Kaminska

Barbara Kaminska’s Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Religious Art for the Urban Community is the first book-length study focusing on religious paintings by one of the most captivating Netherlandish artists, long celebrated for his secular imagery. In a period marked by a profound religious, economic, and cultural transformation, Bruegel offered his sophisticated urban audience complex biblical images that required an engaged, active viewing, not only sparking learned dinner conversations, but facilitating the negotiation of values seen as critical to maintaining a harmonious society. By considering the novelty of Bruegel’s panels used in convivia alongside his small, intimate grisaille compositions, this study ultimately shows that Bruegel renewed the idiom of religious painting, successfully preserving its ritualistic and meditative functions.

Plundered Empire

Acquiring Antiquities from Ottoman Lands

Series:

Michael Greenhalgh

Concentrates on the sometimes Greek but largely Roman survivals many travellers set out to see and perhaps possess throughout the immense Ottoman Empire, on what were eastward and southward extensions of the Grand Tour. Europeans were curious about the Empire, Christianity’s great rival for centuries, and plenty of information on its antiquities was available, offered here via lengthy quotations. Most accounts of the history of collecting and museums concentrate on the European end. Plundered Empire details how and where antiquities were sought, uncovered, bartered, paid for or stolen, and any tribulations in getting them home. The book provides evidence for the continuing debate about the ethics of museum collections, with 19th century international competition the spur to spectacular acquisitions.

Series:

John Asimakopoulos

In The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste, John Asimakopoulos analyzes the political economy of the society of the spectacle, a philosophical concept developed by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. Using the analytical tools of social science, while historicizing, Asimakopoulos reveals that all societies in every epoch have been and continue to be caste systems legitimized by various ideologies. He concludes there is no such thing as capitalism (or socialism)—only a caste system hidden behind capitalist ideology. Key features of the book include its broad interdisciplinary-nonsectarian approach with quantitative and qualitative data. The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste is well-written and clear making it accessible to the informed reader.

Series:

K. Nilüfer Akçay

Neoplatonic allegorical interpretation expounds how literary texts present philosophical ideas in an enigmatic and coded form, offering an alternative path to the divine truths. The Neoplatonist Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs is one of the most significant allegorical interpretation handed down to us from Antiquity. This monograph, exclusively dedicated to the analysis of On the Cave of Nymphs, demonstrates that Porphyry interprets Homer’s verse from Odyssey 13.102-112 to convey his philosophical thoughts, particularly on the material world, relationship between soul and body and the salvation of the soul through the doctrines of Plato and Plotinus. The Homeric cave of the nymphs with two gates is a station where the souls descend into genesis and ascend to the intelligible realm. Porphyry associates Odysseus’ long wanderings with the journey of the soul and its salvation from the irrational to rational through escape from all toils of the material world.

Questioning the Historicity of Jesus

Why a Philosophical Analysis Elucidates the Historical Discourse

Series:

Raphael Lataster

This volume moves beyond the mainstream scholarly scepticism over the Christ of Faith and considers if there is sufficient evidence to establish the existence of the more mundane Historical Jesus. Using the logical tools of the analytic philosopher, Lataster finds that the relevant sources are unreliable as historical documents, and that the key method of those purporting that the Historical Jesus existed is to appeal to sources that do not exist. Considering an ancient hypothesis suggesting that Jesus began as a celestial messiah that certain Second Temple Jews already believed in, and was later allegorised in the Gospels, Lataster discovers that it is more reasonable to at least be agnostic over Jesus’ historicity.

Reformation and the Practice of Toleration

Dutch Religious History in the Early Modern Era

Series:

Benjamin Kaplan

The Dutch Republic was the most religiously diverse land in early modern Europe, gaining an international reputation for toleration. In Reformation and the Practice of Toleration, Benjamin Kaplan explains why the Protestant Reformation had this outcome in the Netherlands and how people of different faiths managed subsequently to live together peacefully. Bringing together fourteen essays by the author, the book examines the opposition of so-called Libertines to the aspirations of Calvinist reformers for uniformity and discipline. It analyzes the practical arrangements by which multiple religious groups were accommodated. It traces the dynamics of religious life in Utrecht and other mixed communities. And it explores the relationships that developed between people of different faiths, especially in ‘mixed’ marriages.