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    Within a book widely touted as the path to peace, violence has incongruously been central to the Bible and how it is used. This collection book examines the manifestations of violence in Scripture, and the ways that Scripture itself -... more
    Within a book widely touted as the path to peace, violence has incongruously been central to the Bible and how it is used. This collection book examines the manifestations of violence in Scripture, and the ways that Scripture itself - whether violent in content or not - can be used to justify violence and aggression in specific social circumstances today. The book is divided into two parts. The first half explores some incidents of Biblical violence that, rather than appearing at the forefront of the narrative, reflect that ancient Jewish culture (including the early Christian movement recorded in the New Testament) treats violence as an undeniable fact of the social world in which biblical figures live. In these essays, psychological theory and interpretation focus on the effect of this culture of violence in the behavior, expectations, and failures of Biblical figures, in order to re-evaluate the messages of these texts in light of their accepted, but largely unacknowledged, aggression. Over the last 30 years this pioneering series has established an unrivaled reputation for cutting-edge international scholarship in Biblical Studies and has attracted leading authors and editors in the field. The series takes many original and creative approaches to its subjects, including innovative work from historical and theological perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and more recent developments in cultural studies and reception history.
    This study is a psychoanalytic interpretation a set of Jewish apocalypses (Ezekiel, 4 Ezra, 2 & 3 Baruch) concerned with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. These texts respond to the traumatic symbolic loss of Zion and attempt... more
    This study is a psychoanalytic interpretation a set of Jewish apocalypses (Ezekiel, 4 Ezra, 2 & 3 Baruch) concerned with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. These texts respond to the traumatic symbolic loss of Zion and attempt to heal it through the apocalyptic narrative, the visionary experiences of the seers, and the emotional transformation that results from the interplay of the two. The seers react with rage, paralysis, and self-annihilating sentiments, and hence these texts resemble incomplete, stalled mourning, or melancholia. Through the course of their narratives and a 'working-through' of the Jewish past, true mourning and psychological recovery occur, prompting visions of the establishment of an ideal society in the future.
    New Religious Movements is a highly unique volume, bringing together primary documents conveying the words and ideas of a wide array of new religious movements (NRMs), and offering a first-hand look into their belief systems. Arranged by... more
    New Religious Movements is a highly unique volume, bringing together primary documents conveying the words and ideas of a wide array of new religious movements (NRMs), and offering a first-hand look into their belief systems.

    Arranged by the editors according to a new typology, the text allows readers to consider NRMS along five interrelated pathways—from those that offer new perceptions of existence or new personal identities, to those that center on relationships within family-like units, to those movements that highlight the need for recasting the social order or anticipate the dawn of a new age.

    The volume includes original documents from groups such as the Unification Church, Theosophy, Branch Davidians, Wicca, Jehovah's Witnesses, Santeria, and Seventh Day Adventists, as well as many others. Each section is prefaced by a contextual introduction and concludes with a list of sources for further reading. New Religious Movements offers a rare inside look into the worldviews of alternative religious traditions.
    Hindy Najman’s new analysis of 4 Ezra offers a fascinating approach to understanding the way that common feature of Jewish apocalyptic literature, the historical review, functions as the key to this text. She posits that in the wake of... more
    Hindy Najman’s new analysis of 4 Ezra offers a fascinating approach to understanding the way that common feature of Jewish apocalyptic literature, the historical review, functions as the key to this text. She posits that in the wake of the trauma of the destruction of the Second Temple, 4 Ezra essentially constitutes a “reboot” of the Jewish historical narrative, akin to what certain superhero franchises will do from time to time: re-imagining familiar figures in a radically altered timeline, with a new backstory and future trajectory. In a world where the fall of Jerusalem – again – and subsequent Diaspora has thrown into doubt the authority of ancient Jewish scripture, place, and prophets, 4 Ezra presents “a past in which the Second Temple was never built. Thus, the entire Second Temple period never occurred, along with its perceived inability to capture the glory of its predecessor, and the second destruction, with all its traumatic consequences, never happened” (17).
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    We play in the religious world as we do in the game world. Religion too invents rules that govern odd behavior that doesn’t make sense outside of the time and the space in which participation is the norm – these are called rituals, which... more
    We play in the religious world as we do in the game world.  Religion too invents rules that govern odd behavior that doesn’t make sense outside of the time and the space in which participation is the norm – these are called rituals, which seems to be an evolutionary product of social bonding mechanisms.  While the need – one could say “instinct” – to find community, a home, a bond with others is certainly there, the other side of the coin is that group interaction is always also a negotiation over the boundaries and the meaning of the self.  So the same drives that push us toward others also push us to define ourselves as beings qua beings, who are also in relationship to others.

    A talk delivered at the UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-OMAHA, September 12, 2013.
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