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Jesus the Samaritan

Ethnic Labeling in the Gospel of John

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Stewart Penwell

In Jesus the Samaritan: Ethnic Labeling in the Gospel of John, Stewart Penwell examines how ethnic labels function in the Gospel of John. After a review of the discourse history between “the Jews” and “the Samaritans,” the dual ethnic labeling in John 4:9 and 8:48 are examined and, in each instance, members from “the Jews” and “the Samaritans” label Jesus as a member of each other’s group for deviating from what were deemed acceptable practices as a member of “the Jews.” The intra-textual links between John 4 and 8 reveal that the function of Jesus’s dual ethnic labelling is to establish a new pattern of practices and categories for the “children of God” (1:12; 11:52) who are a trans-ethnic group united in fictive kinship and embedded within the Judean ethnic group’s culture and traditions.
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Enlightening Europe on Islam and the Ottomans

Mouradgea d’Ohsson and His Masterpiece

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Carter Vaughn Findley

Mouradgea d’Ohsson’s Tableau général de l’Empire othoman offered the Enlightenment Republic of Letters its most authoritative work on Islam and the Ottomans, also a practical reference work for kings and statesmen. Profusely illustrated and opening deep insights into illustrated book production in this period, this is also the richest collection of visual documentation on the Ottomans in a hundred years. Shaped by the author’s personal struggles, the work yet commands recognition in its own totality as a monument to inter-cultural understanding. In form one of the great taxonomic works of Enlightenment thought, this is a work of advocacy in the cause of reform and amity among France, Sweden, and the Ottoman Empire.

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A History of Water Engineering and Management in Yemen

Material Remains and Textual Foundations

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Ingrid Hehmeyer

In A History of Water Engineering and Management in Yemen, Ingrid Hehmeyer describes the three-way relationship between water, land, and humans from ancient to medieval and premodern times. As illustrated in case studies from four sites, individual ecosystems necessitated different engineering and management approaches in order to make good use of the scarce water resources for both irrigated agriculture and domestic consumption. Material remains and written sources provide the evidence for a comprehensive examination of continuity and change; technical and managerial struggles, failures, and successes; the question of technology transfer; the impact of the religion of Islam on water use and allocation; and people’s reactions in times of severe crisis.
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Edited by Paul L. Gareau, Spencer Culham Bullivant and Peter Beyer

Youth, Religion, and Identity in a Globalizing Context: International Perspectives investigates the ways that young people navigate the intersections of religion and identity. As part of the Youth in a Globalizing World series, this book provides a broad discussion on the various social, cultural, and political forces affecting youth and their identities from an international comparative perspective. Contributors to this volume situate the experiences of young people in Canada, the United States, Germany, and Australia within a globalized context. This volume explores the different experiences of youth, the impact of community and processes of recognition, and the reality of ambivalence as agency.
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Tim Karis and Johanna Buss

This conclusion summarises and compares the two preceding case studies: “Secular Voices on Air: The British Debate on Thought for the Day” (Tim Karis) and “The Understanding of dharmanirapekṣa (“secular”) in the Nepali Online Newspaper Nagarik” (Johanna Buss).

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Xenia Zeiler

The understanding of what is “sacred” and needs protection from alleged “trivialising” or “profaning” is obviously diverse. Especially in cases of severe dissent this is negotiated in public, including increasingly in digital journalistic contexts.

This article discusses media oppositions to an alleged “trivializing” of Hindu deities in the usa. It contextualizes and analyzes with coding techniques press releases from the website of Rajan Zed, president of the Nevada based Universal Society of Hinduism and the Indo-American Leadership Confederation. The article highlights that and how these press releases, each addressing a specific case of a purported trivialization of Kali, are utilized to propagate specific objectives and interpretations of Hinduism. The article presents an analysis of the verbal content of the online press releases, contextualizes this by discussing the subtext of the verbal expressions, and thus exemplifies that and how digital journalistic contexts contribute to current negotiations of religious identity and authority.

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Hannah Grünenthal

This paper analyzes the different constructions, interpretations and understandings of authority in the German journalistic press coverage in spring 2013, when Benedict xvi declared his resignation from the papal office, and the following time until his successor – Pope Francis – was elected. Pope Benedict’s resignation was an occasion that caused a stir in the journalistic field. The pope, the highest religious authority of the Roman Catholic Church, had brought his own power up to discussion. The opportunity was favourable for the journalistic, secular media to start an extensive critique and deconstruction of the Pope’s religious authority – but surprisingly enough, this did not happen. So, how and to whom is religious authority ascribed in the German press discourse? In this article I argue that the secular German press discourse not only refrains from deconstructing traditional religious authority, but reinforces it on various levels.

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Tim Karis and Johanna Buss

The joint introduction explores the history of academic understanding of “the secular” within the field of Religious Studies. We also introduce our two case studies.

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Xenia Zeiler and Judith Stander-Dulisch

The term “sacred” has a long history, but this introduction demonstrates that the concept of a contrast between the sacred or holy and the profane or trivial arose only at the beginning of the 20th century. A shared characteristic of definitions of the sacred or holy is that they are something special which is separated from the profane or trivial world. In the research discourse, sacred is not just a critical but also a controversial term.

In our two case studies, we set out to analyze how meaning is ascribed to the semantic field “sacred”. Building on Laclau’s concept of empty signifiers (Laclau 1996) and the understanding that sacred and related terms of the lexical/semantic field are not stable but have ever-changing meanings, we explore how the semantic field is filled in academic and contemporary journalistic contexts.