This contribution focuses on Hamlet’s belief in providence and on the early modern kind of Christianity it represents. The key question is whether the figure of Hamlet embodies a literary transformation of a pious Christian into a secular Renaissance subject or the transformation of a secular Renaissance subject into a pious Christian. It will be argued that Hamlet’s “readiness” and “timing” are early modern virtues whose discovery allows Hamlet to combine Christian ideas on providence with secular ideas on fortune without blending them into a new synthesis. The combination of Christian and secular elements in Hamlet’s thinking remains too unstable and too much of a struggle for that. “Readiness” and "timing" are early modern virtues typical of a transitional age of clashing values that need more time to crystallize out than is available under the pressure of early modern life
Evil is like the romantic "sublime": it is beyond the limit, beyond the range and limits within which human nature can cope with reality and find balance. Evil generates a disproportionate lack of human balance. But the responses it evokes are disproportionate as well. They have been contaminated by the disproportionality evil brings about. The evil to which Hamlet is exposed in Shakespeare's Hamlet consists of fratricide, illegitimate succession, and incest. The coping strategy Hamlet is expected to practice is revenge. Does revenge represent a coping strategy that has the potential to balance the political, social, moral, and psychological wrong brought about by human evil? Shakespeare's work, and Hamlet in particular, tells the story of evil's complexities. Twelve literary critics will shed their light on Shakespeare's sense of tragic revenge.
Cross-Cultural Comparisons between the Mughal Tomb Garden of Taj Mahal in Agra (India) and the Dry Landscape Garden of the Ryoan-Ji Zen Monastery in Kyoto (Japan)
An Analysis of Cultural and Religious Layers of Meaning in Two Cases of Classical Garden Landscape Architecture
Gardens have always meant a lot to people. Gardens are as much about nature as they are about culture. The extent to which gardens carry and embody both similar and different layers of meaning will be demonstrated by comparing two classical gardens, the Taj Mahal tomb garden of the Mughal rulers in Agra, India, and the Ryoan-ji dry landscape garden of the Zen monks in Kyoto, Japan. Parallels will be drawn by offering a (diachronic) analysis of the historical accumulation of layers of meaning associated with each one of these two gardens, and (synchronic) structural comparisons will be drawn by raising two thematic issues in particular, the inside-outside relationship and the nature-culture relationship. The roles that Islam and Zen Buddhism play in the religious meaning making of these two classical gardens turn out to be strikingly similar, in that they confirm rather than transform other layers of cultural meaning.
Edited by Nelly van Doorn-Harder and Lourens Minnema
However much religious and secular interpretations of evil may have changed, the human search for sense and meaning never ends. Questions of whom to blame and whom to address—God, the devil, fate, bad luck, or humans—remain at the center of our explanations and our strategies to comprehend, define, counter, or process the evil we do and the evil done to us by people, God, nature, or accident. Using approaches from cultural anthropology, religious studies, theology, philosophy, psychology, and history, the contributors to this volume analyze how several religious and secular traditions imagine and cope with evil.