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31. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Philip L. Tite Expressive Violence: An Introduction to Pain, Politics, and the Monstrous Other
32. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Nathan S. French An American TakfĪr?: Violence and Law at War
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Throughout the ongoing U.S.-declared war against terrorism, and the various jihadi-salafi responses to the same, relatively few researchers have considered both parties’ usage of the law as a technique of exclusion for authorizing violence against those who may not otherwise be killed. By comparing the underlying logic of takfīr applied by jihadi-salafi authors such as Abū Muḥammad al-Maqdisī (b. 1959) to the legal calculus used by the Obama administration to legitimate its targeted killings of U.S. citizens Anwar al-ʿAwlaqī and Samīr Khān seemingly without trial, this article identifies and analyzes how the juridical logic of the administration and jihadi-salafis possesses similar reliance upon declarations of an imminent threat and violations of norms of humanity and belief, respectively. Such a realization, it concludes, allows for the possibility of exploring a co-implicative logic of violence to both and, second, the possibility for a critique of declared states of emergency upon which such exclusionary techniques depend.
33. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Margo Kitts On Pain, Politics, and the Monstrous Other
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Responding to the papers herein, this essay ponders religious perspectives on pain and the memorialization of trauma; the opaque dynamics of self-immolation and the aesthetics of trauma art; grand narratives in wars on terror; and the existential disfiguring of the character of Job, a disfiguring which might be analyzed through lenses associated with ritual or poetics. The last theme broaches the point of the entire volume, which is the plethora of theoretical lenses that can help us to make sense of the behavior and imaginative expressions of religion and violence.
34. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Brian R. Doak Monster Violence in the Book of Job
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In this paper, I explore the book of Job in terms of the symbolic and ideological warfare waged between God and the human protagonist, Job. Specifically, I argue that the invocation of various kinds of creatures under the “monster” rubric (such as Leviathan, Rahab, Yamm, the Twisting Serpent, and Behemoth) can be illuminated through a consideration of contemporary work—in the history of religions, literary theory, and film studies—that categorizes the monstrous in terms of ecological disorientation, metaphors of the torn human body, and the boundaries of the “home.” Moreover, I draw on the work of Marie Hélène Huet in her book Monstrous Imagination to argue that some of God’s showcase animals in Job 38–41 (most prominently Behemoth and Leviathan, but also others) should be discussed as monsters with reference to their ambiguous species representation and their “false resemblance” to other known creatures. When considered within the context of Job’s pervasive themes of geological and animal violence, Joban monsters take their place among the menagerie of creatures adduced by Job’s speaking characters as rhetorical gestures of disorientation, community redemption, and the meaning of small community experience within empire.
35. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Marie A. Pagliarini Spiritual Tattooing: Pain, Materialization, and Transformation
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This essay utilizes information gathered through in-depth interviews with people living in the San Francisco Bay Area to shed light on the phenomenon of spiritual tattooing—the practice of giving spiritual meaning to tattoos and to the process of tattooing. The essay analyzes the role of the body, voluntary pain, and marking the body in the context of religious experience and expression, and highlights the connections between spiritual tattooing and practices of self-violence. Spiritual tattoos work through an inside-out/outside-in mechanism. The process of tattooing draws abstract or overwhelming interior elements (thoughts, emotions, memories) out and materializes them through the infliction of pain. At the same time, things of desire outside the self (spiritual ideals, healing symbols, conceptions of a new self) are conveyed into the body through the process of painful inscription. Through the pain of tattooing and the marks left in the skin, abstractions are made concrete and real, shaping identity, memory, and spirituality.
36. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Reuven Firestone Jewish Radical Ultra-Orthodoxy Confronts Modernity, Zionism and Women’s Equality. Motti Inbari
37. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Margo Kitts Introduction: Violence and Biblical Imagination
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For at least a century biblical scholars have explored prescriptions and descriptions of holy wars, punishing plagues, infanticides, treaty violations and lethal loyalty tests, not to mention the emotional torments reflected in prophetic rants and in some of the tradition’s most exquisite and excruciating biographies. Arguably, it is the Bible’s varied treatments of violence, in all of its forms, which make the text a classical repository of sobering human experiences, at least as recognized in the West. The articles herein ponder some violent themes related to biblical literature. They ponder the shared legacy of ancient Near Eastern literary motifs showing jubilant dining at the death of a foe; the reception history of Psalm 137’s last verses, which urge violence against children; contrasting family dynamics in narratives of martyrdom between Jews and Christians; depictions of children as victims and as cruel aggressors in the Christian didactic poems of Prudentius; and the biblical legacy of forceful parental authority and corporeal punishment embraced by some evangelical Christians. The four articles on childhood and violence derive from the 2015 AAR and SBL conference session on biblical violence and childhood, and are introduced and contextualized by Ra’anan Boustan and Kimberly Stratton, who moderated the session.
38. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Scott B. Noegel Corpses, Cannibals, and Commensality: A Literary and Artistic Shaming Convention in the Ancient Near East
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In this contribution, I examine several ancient Near Eastern literary texts and artistic variations on the “banquet motif” in which one finds people dining while others die. I argue that these depictions constitute a hitherto unrecognized artistic device rooted in social protocol that represents an inversion of the custom of abstinence during mourning. It thus functions to underscore the contempt of those dining for the dying by depicting their deaths as unworthy of lament. In addition, the motif characterizes the dying party as symbolically and/or physically abased, because of his or her hubris, and thus deserving of a shameful death. Inversely, it portrays the dining party as symbolically and often physically elevated, and reveling in a divine reversal of circumstance.
39. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Paul Middleton “Suffer Little Children": Child Sacrifice, Martyrdom, and Identity Formation in Judaism and Christianity
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This essay examines the contrasting ways in which the sacrifice of children is portrayed in Jewish and Christian martyrologies. In these narratives of extreme persecution and suffering, death was often seen to be the way in which religious integrity and identity was preserved. It is argued that Jewish martyr narratives—for example, the First Crusade, Masada, and the Maccabees—reflect a developed notion of collective martyrdom, such that the deaths of children, even at the hands of their parents, are a necessary component in Jewish identity formation. By contrast, early Christianity martyr texts reflect an ambivalence towards children, to the extent that they are viewed as a potential hindrance to the successful martyrdom of their Christian mothers. Children have to be abandoned for women to retain their Christian identity.
40. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Joel M. LeMon Violence against Children and Girls in the Reception History of Psalm 137
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The reception history of Psalm 137 is marked by numerous attempts to mollify or expunge its descriptions of violence, specifically, its last line: “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock” (verse 9, NRSV). This essay explores the various ways that interpreters have perceived the psalm’s violent imagery to be problematic and what they have done to change the psalm. Many interpreters have “spiritualized” the psalm, altering its rhetorical effect by suggesting that the “little ones” are little sins rather than little children. Still other interpretations have modified the structure of the psalm through a process of selective omission. Frequently, these versions do not include the last verse of the psalm. Yet, these versions often highlight and implicitly authorize violence against girls specifically, since a girl, “Daughter Babylon” or “a/the daughter of Babylon,” is the subject of the preceding verse. Throughout the analysis, special attention is paid to the reception of the psalm in Christian hymnody and other music, including art songs, anthems, and symphonic treatments.