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41. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Ra‘anan Boustan, Kimberly Stratton Children and Violence in Jewish and Christian Traditions
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This introduction to the special section of the 4.3 issue on violence in the biblical imagination presents a brief overview of scholarship on the theme of children and violence in Jewish and Christian traditions before summarizing the four articles which follow. These four papers were originally presented at the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta, November 2015. Scholarly literature on children and violence falls into two main clusters: child sacrifice and corporal punishment. Using Sarah Iles Johnston’s response to the panel as a starting point, this introduction proposes that children “are good to think with.” Stories about children and violence carry weighty symbolic cargo: they demarcate the limits of civilization and define certain groups of people as Other; they signal social disruption and extraordinary crisis. Examples include: child sacrifice, parental cannibalism, child martyrdom, and corporal punishment. We conclude that scriptural accounts of divinely sanctioned violence always retain for their interpretative communities the potential to inspire and to legitimate newly emergent forms of violent speech and action.
42. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Diane Shane Fruchtman Instructive Violence: Educated Children as Victims and Aggressors in Late Ancient Latin Martyr Poetry
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This paper explores two parallel instances of child-centered violence in the martyrological poetry of Prudentius (fl. 405), one in which a child is the victim of violence and one in which children are the aggressors. In both cases, Prudentius presumes and manufactures his readers’ sympathy, building on their horror at seeing children involved in violence. But he uses that sympathy to opposite ends: in one case to align the reader with the youthful victim and his cause, and in the other to inspire revulsion and destabilize the Christian reader’s sense of his own character. Taken together, these two episodes—one a cautionary tale and one a model of Christian self-cultivation—offer the reader not only an argument for what type of education Christians should seek, but also the motivation to seek it. In other words, Prudentius was using depictions of violence inflicted on children and by children to educate his audiences about education.
43. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Susan B. Ridgely When Pain Becomes Symbolic of Commitment: The Pratice of Spanking Among Adults and Children and “Focus on the Family” Childrearing Literature
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In this article, I use the narrations of Focus on the Family users to argue that in this community spanking has moved from a disciplinary technique to a symbolic religious practice that embodies their commitments to parental authority, traditional families, and intergenerational connections. What matters, then, is not that the physical practice of spanking occurs, but that these families embrace a corporal punishment based philosophy of discipline. Making this choice positions them in opposition to what they perceived to be an undisciplined liberal mainstream society in which the lack of submission to authority has led to the destruction of the family. Although support of spanking is universal, how that support is expressed and enacted is far from monolithic. The urgency to support spanking seems to ebb and flow over time as families, such the families who use Focus on the Family materials, respond to their changing contexts.
44. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Paul K.-K. Cho The Conflict Myth and the Biblical Tradition. Debra Scoggins Ballentine
45. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Brian A. Catlos Holy War, Martyrdom, and Terror: Christianity, Violence, and the West. Philippe Buc
46. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Chris Frilingos Rethinking Early Christian Identity: Affect, Violence, and Belonging. Maia Kotrosits
47. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Margo Kitts Introduction: Violence, Religion, and the State
48. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Juli L. Gittinger The Rhetoric of Violence, Religion, and Purity in India’s Cow Protection Movement
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In India there has been a recent increase in violence and intolerance towards people who eat beef. While India has a fairly wide Cow Protection Act that bars the slaughter of female cows and calves, many areas have permitted slaughter of bulls and bullocks for centuries. Hindu religion has no doctrinal proscriptions against the consumption of beef in particular, although it has borrowed heavily from Jainism in the last century, arguing that the concept of ahimsa (nonviolence) forbids such slaughter and consumption of beef. Violence is exacted upon those who would dare eat beef—notably Muslims and lower castes—further politicizing the issue. This paper explores the various claims and legitimations of violence regarding the tradition of abstaining from beef. These include arguments of religious purity, racial biases, caste, and cultural arguments which have been put forth in defense of or in condemnation of beef-eaters. I argue that, in the case of such regulations of “authentic” Hindu traditions (like the sanctity of the cow), purity concerns are directly tied to Hindu nationalist ideologies.
49. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Paul R. Powers Territory Is Not Map: Deterritorialisation, Mere Religion, and Islamic State
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While the Islamic State (IS) has much in common with many other contemporary jihadist groups, this article argues that it expresses a distinctive attitude toward the taking, holding, and expanding of territory. Olivier Roy’s notion of the “deterritorialisation” of late-modern Muslim religiosity suggests that many Muslims, whether in minority or majority situations, perceive themselves as detached from “home” lands and cultures and, partly as a result, find Islam reduced from a holistic phenomenon to a truncated and compartmentalized “mere religion.” IS efforts to take territory can be seen in part as a rejection of such deterritorialisation. The IS version of a reinvigorated Islam is made possible solely by the possession of territory, and hinges on apocalyptic expectations about certain concrete locations and on the possibility of enacting a robust, hyper-aggressive form of Islamic law.
50. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Yonatan Y. Brafman Towards a Neo-Ḥaredi Political Theory: Schlesinger, Breuer, and Leibowitz between Religion and Zionism
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This article explores the resources available in modern Jewish thought for overcoming the conflict between secular liberalism and religious nationalism. In addition to a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, the modern state’s claim to sovereignty demands the reconstruction of existing social formations, normative orderings, and personal identities. The primary Jewish responses to this demand have been either the privatizing of Judaism as religion or the nationalizing of Jewishness as Zionism. However, this demand was resisted by diverse thinkers, including Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, Isaac Breuer, and Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who can be described as advancing a Neo-Ḥaredi political theory. This theory has five related characteristics: (1) an affirmation of the publicity of halakhah, or Jewish law; (2) a rejection of the construction of Judaism as a “religion”; (3) a lack of aspiration to establish halakhah as state law; (4) a refusal of the identification of the state as the unitary locus of sovereignty; and (5) an ambivalent relation to Zionism, ranging from indifference, to disappointment, and opposition. Common to these reactions is a decentering of the state and its claim to sovereignty in favor of a plurality of social formations, normative orderings, and identities. It is suggested that such an approach may provide a way of avoiding the zero-sum game for control of the state that seems to plague the current politics of both the United States and Israel/Palestine.