This article discusses the challenges facing scholars exploring the nature of belief in ancient Greek religion. While recent scholarship has raised questions about individual religious activities, and work on ritual, the body, and the senses has broadened our methodological palette, the nature and dynamics of generally held “low intensity” beliefs still tend to be described simply as “unquestioned” or “embedded” in society. But examining scholarship on divine personifications suggests that ancient beliefs were — and our perceptions of them are — more complex. This article first explores the example of Tyche (“Chance”), in order to highlight some of the problems that surround the use of the term “belief.” It then turns to the theories of “ideology” of Slavoj Žižek and Robert Pfaller and argues that these can offer provocative insights into the nature and dynamics of ritual and belief in ancient Greek culture.
Religious Prejudice and Bacchantic Worship in Greek Literature
Ancient Greek descriptions of ecstatic and mystic rituals, here broadly labeled as Bacchantic worship, regularly include elements of moral corruption and dissolution of social unity. Suspicions were mostly directed against unofficial cult groups that exploited Dionysiac experiences in secluded settings. As the introduction of copious new cults attests, Greek religion was receptive to external influences. This basic openness, however, was not synonymous with tolerance, and pious respect for all deities did not automatically include their worshippers. This article reconsiders the current view of ancient religious intolerance by regarding these negative stereotypes as expressions of prejudice and by investigating the social dynamics behind them. Prejudices against private Bacchantic groups are regarded as part of the process of buttressing the religious authority of certain elite quarters in situations where they perceive that their position is being threatened by rival claims. It is suggested that both the accentuation and alleviation of prejudice is best understood in relation to the relative stability of the elite and the religious control it exerted.
This special issue focuses on education as a crucial factor mediating the relationship between youth and globalization. Specifically, four papers collectively explore how education can be re-envisioned from the following vantage point: the use of technology to foreground the fundamentally interconnected nature of today’s world; the help of mindfulness to deepen the awareness of such interconnectedness and cultivate a commitment to collective well-being; the role of activism to produce more critical knowledge and transformational solidarity for social justice on a global scale; at the same time, the necessity of reflexivity to examine one’s own ontological and epistemological assumptions before attempting any educational intervention. I argue that this vantage point helps re-envision the existing institutions and practices of education to encourage young people in a globalizing world to learn to live a happy life together by embracing their pluriversal coexistence.
Riyad A. Shahjahan
Amid growing debates about globalization of higher education (HE), an analysis of the onto-epistemic grammar underlying the articulation of this global phenomenon remains absent. This essay posits that our understanding of the nature of globalization of HE cannot be separated from questions of a) emotions, b) temporality, and c) ontology. Drawing on the extant literature on globalization of HE to date and personal experiences, it demonstrates the efficacy of these above three concepts, and argues that our understanding of globalization of HE insidiously perpetuates a geopolitics of being, and constrains us from knowing/embodying inter-being. It suggests pursuing inter-being as alternatives to fixed notions of human progress and coloniality of knowledge embedded in the prevailing onto-epistemic grammar. By refusing to tame uncertainty or provide ‘probable outcomes’, this essay intends to provoke and imagine alternative ways of knowing/being.