Tuesday, January 22, 2013

(WR) Varieties of Christianity

We spoke today about the vast range of sects of Christianity, reflecting something like the opposite of the Hindu attitude of inclusion. In a fascinating article on the science and experience of music in the current New Yorker magazine, Adam Gopnik observes in passing:  "He [Choueiri] was brought up in Lebanon in the nineteen-sixties, among the Antiochian Orthodox -- much the most ancient of Christians, the Antiochians look upon the Catholics rather the way Boston Episcopalians look upon Appalachian snake-handlers..."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

(WR) Dueling Literalisms

In the New York Times last month, the anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann discusses two distinct styles of Christian biblical interpretation, which we might characterize as textually reductive vs. imaginative or experiential. Neither has a tremendous amount of patience for historical scholarship, or even close, informed reading of scriptural texts, but both are interesting for what motivates them. Some of you might find this of interest: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/opinion/what-didnt-happen-in-bethlehem.html?src=twr&_r=0

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

(CLP) A Third Look at the Second Amendment

It is not easy to say anything new about the brief and polarizing Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but Thom Hartman has done so, based in part on the work of Sally E. Haden, in her book Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas. It seems that the specific language of the amendment, in particular the word "state" (which replaced "country" in an earlier draft), was designed by the framers for the express purpose of preserving slavery, which demanded constant policing by armed militias raised by the Southern states. Here's the news article:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/13890-the-second-amendment-was-ratified-to-preserve-slavery.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Welcome to Spring Semester

It's not quite spring yet, but spring semester has sprung. This site will be a clearinghouse for course discussions in Contemporary Legal Philosophy (CLP) and World Religions (WR), and I will generally key posts to each course with those initials. As soon as you send me your course blog URLs, I will link them in the column to the left. This is a forum for thoughtful, respectful, wide-ranging conversation about the course content and anything even peripherally related to it. It is an opportunity to explore, together, everything that puzzles and fascinates us about these topics. I look forward to some really interesting conversations.