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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

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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 Using the logical tools of the analytic philosopher, Lataster finds that the relevant sources are unreliable as historical documents, and that the key method of those purporting that the Historical Jesus existed is to appeal to sources that do not exist.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

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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.

Rethinking Europe

War and Peace in the Early Modern German Lands

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Edited by Gerhild Scholz Williams, Sigrun Haude and Christian Schneider

The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) lies at the intersection of early modern and modern times. Frequently portrayed as the concluding chapter of the Reformation, it also points to the future by precipitating fundamental changes in the military, legal, political, religious, economic, and cultural arenas that came to mark a new, the modern era.
Prompted by the 400th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, the contributors reconsider the event itself and contextualize it within the broader history of the Reformation, military conflicts, peace initiatives, and negotiations of war.

Edited by Christiaan Engberts and Herman J. Paul

This volume examines how the history of the humanities might be written through the prism of scholarly personae, understood as time- and place-specific models of being a scholar. Focusing on the field of study known as Orientalism in the decades around 1900, this volume examines how Semitists, Sinologists, and Japanologists, among others, conceived of their scholarly tasks, what sort of demands these job descriptions made on the scholar in terms of habits, virtues, and skills, and how models of being an orientalist changed over time under influence of new research methods, cross-cultural encounters, and political transformations.

Contributors are: Tim Barrett, Christiaan Engberts, Holger Gzella, Hans Martin Krämer, Arie L. Molendijk, Herman Paul, Pascale Rabault-Feuerhahn and Henning Trüper.

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Edited by Bryant William Sculos and Mary Caputi

In response to this current political and economic climate, Teaching Marx & Critical Theory in the 21st Century defends the importance, and difficulties, of teaching Marx and critical theory—and the crucial insights of critical pedagogy—through variously original and republished chapters, which, each in their own ways, reflect on ways to teach and reach twenty-first century students. This volume presents unique perspectives on teaching Marx and critical theory in various contexts, sub-fields, and geographies, and underscores the need for students of the modern world to be versed in Marxist thought and for pedagogues to push the limits of critical pedagogical strategies in the classroom—and beyond.

Contributors include: Allan Ardill, Mary Caputi, Mauro Caraccioli, Zachary Casey, Ronald Cox, Kevin Funk, Maylin M. Hernandez, Dougles Kellner, Jason Morrissette, Sebastian Sclofsky, Bryant William Sculos, Sean Walsh.

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Edited by Joel Kuortti, Kaisa Ilmonen, Elina Valovirta and Janne Korkka

What grows out of the ordinary? This volume focuses on that which has been regarded as ordinary, self-evident and formulaic in literary and cultural phenomena such as diasporic cuisine, pet adoption narratives, Prairie writing, romance between stepsiblings, the program of a political party, and everyday shopping in poetry. The book argues that by engaging with that which is perceived as ordinary we also gain understanding of how otherness becomes defined and constituted. The volume seeks new ways to access that which might lie in-between or beyond the opposition between exploitation and emancipation, and contests the hegemonic logic of revealing oppression and rebuilding liberation in contemporary critical theory to create new ways of knowing which grow out of the ordinary.

Thus Spake the Dervish

Sufism, Language, and the Religious Margins in Central Asia, 1400-1900

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Alexandre Papas

Thus Spake the Dervish explores the unfamiliar history of marginal Sufis, known as dervishes, in early modern and modern Central Asia over a period of 500 years. It draws on various sources (Persian chronicles and treatises, Turkic literature, Russian and French ethnography, the author’s fieldwork) to examine five successive cases, each of which corresponds to a time period, a specific socially marginal space, and a particular use of mystical language. Including an extensive selection of writings by dervishes, this book demonstrates the diversity and tenacity of Central Asian Sufism over a long period. Here translated into a Western language for the first time, the extracts from primary texts by marginal Sufis allow a rare insight into their world.

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Edited by Carlos Montemayor and Robert Daniel

The Study of Time XVI: Time’s Urgency celebrates the 50th anniversary of the International Society for the Study of Time. It includes a keynote speech by renowned physicist Julian Barbour, a dialogue between British author David Mitchell, Katie Paterson and ISST’s previous president Paul Harris. The volume is divided into dialogues and papers that directly address the issue of urgency and time scales from various disciplines.

This book offers a unique perspective on the contemporary status of the interdisciplinary study of time. It will open new paths of inquiry for different approaches to the important issues of narrative structure and urgency. These are themes that are becoming increasingly relevant during our times.

Contributors are Julian Barbour, Dennis Costa, Kerstin Cuhls, Ileana da Silva, Margaret K. Devinney, Sonia Front, Peter A. Hancock, Paul Harris, Rose Harris-Birtill, David Mitchell, Carlos Montemayor, Jo Alyson Parker, Katie Paterson, Walter Schweidler, Raji C. Steineck, Daniela Tan, Frederick Turner, Thomas P. Weissert, Marc Wolterbeek, and Barry Wood.