Matching Items (28)

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Noaidi - the one who sees: bringing to light the religious experience among the 17th-18th century Sámi

Description

The ancient religious practices and beliefs of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, known as the Sámi, have been misrepresented and misinterpreted by well meaning ethnographers and researchers who view

The ancient religious practices and beliefs of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, known as the Sámi, have been misrepresented and misinterpreted by well meaning ethnographers and researchers who view such practices and beliefs through an Descartes-Cartesian, objective-subjective lens. This thesis develops a more accurate, intersubjective paradigm that is used to illuminate more clearly the religious workings of the 17th-18th Century Sámi. Drawing upon the intersubjective theories presented by A. Irving Hallowell, Tim Ingold and Kenneth Morrison, ethnographic examples from the writings of early Lutheran missionaries and priests demonstrate that the Sámi lived in a world that can be best understood by the employ of the categories of Person (ontology), Power (epistemology) and Gift (axiology).

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Cultivating the domain: Alexander Campbell, print capitalism, and denomination building in the trans-Appalachian West, 1810-1850

Description

This study examines how a populist religious leader, Alexander Campbell, altered the economic value system of religious material production in the early United States and, subsequently, the long-term value structure

This study examines how a populist religious leader, Alexander Campbell, altered the economic value system of religious material production in the early United States and, subsequently, the long-term value structure of religious economic systems generally. As religious publishing societies in the early nineteenth century were pioneering the not-for-profit corporation and as many popular itinerants manufactured religious spectacles around the country, Campbell combined the promotional methods of revivalism and the business practices of religious printers, with a conspicuously pugilistic tone to simultaneously build religious and business empires. He was a religious entrepreneur who capitalized on the opportunities of American revivalism for personal and religious gain. His opponents attacked his theology and his wealth as signs of his obvious error but few were prepared for the vigor of his answer. He invited conflict and challenged prominent opponents to grow his celebrity and extend his brand into new markets. He argued that his labor as a printer was deserving of compensation and that, unlike his “venal” clerical opponents, he offered his services as a preacher for free. As Americans in the early national period increasingly felt obligated to find the “right kind of Christianity,” Campbell packaged and sold a compelling product. In the decades that followed his first debate in 1820, he built a religious following that by 1850 numbered well over 100,000 followers. This dissertation considers the importance of marketing, promotion, investment capital, distribution networks, property law, print culture, and ideology, to the success of a given religious prescription in the nineteenth century American marketplace of religion. Campbell’s success reveals important social, political, and economic structures in the nineteenth century trans-Appalachian west. It also illuminates a form of religious entrepreneurialism that continues to be important to American Christianity.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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The Life and Afterlives of Patrick Francis Healy, S.J.

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This dissertation centers on the life of Patrick Francis Healy, the son of an enslaved woman and an Irish slaveholder. Born in 1834, Healy became a Jesuit priest in 1864

This dissertation centers on the life of Patrick Francis Healy, the son of an enslaved woman and an Irish slaveholder. Born in 1834, Healy became a Jesuit priest in 1864 and the president of Georgetown University in 1874, seven decades before Georgetown admitted its first African American student. In the twentieth century, historical investigations of race and American Catholicism cast Healy and his family in a new light. Today, the Healys are upheld in some circles as African American Catholic icons. Patrick Healy is now remembered as the first African American Jesuit and Catholic university president, as well as the first African American to receive a doctorate. This dissertation pursues both the life of Patrick Healy as well as what I call his “afterlives,” or the ways in which he has been remembered since the 1950s, when Albert S. Foley, S.J. discovered that the Healys’ mother was enslaved and refashioned them from white Irish Americans to white-passing African Americans. How and why did Patrick Francis Healy understand and comport himself as a white, upper-class Catholic? How and why have others sought to construct him as African American in the years since his ancestry was made widely known? How has Georgetown incorporated Healy’s legacy, in the context of its and other universities’ coming-to-terms with their dealings with slavery more broadly? I pursue these questions through archival sources (primarily Healy’s diaries and letters) at Georgetown University and College of the Holy Cross, as well as secondary literature on passing, subjectivity, and hagiography.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Mormons and the World's Fair 1893: a study of religious and cultural agency and transformation

Description

My dissertation project, Mormons at the World's Fair: A Study of Religious and Cultural Agency and Transformation looks at a pivotal period of transition within the American religious and political

My dissertation project, Mormons at the World's Fair: A Study of Religious and Cultural Agency and Transformation looks at a pivotal period of transition within the American religious and political national culture (1880-1907). Using Mormonism as an important focal point of national controversy and cultural change, this dissertation looks at the interconnections between Mormon transitions and the larger national transformations then under way in what historians call the "progressive" era. Prominent scholars have recognized the 1893 World's Fair as an important moment that helped initiate the "dawning" of religious pluralism in America. This national response to American religious diversity, however, is limited to a nineteenth-century historiographical framework, which made real religious pluralism in the next century more difficult. Bringing together into one narrative the story of the anti-polygamy crusades of the 1880s, the ambivalent presence (and non presence) of Mormonism at the World's Fair of 1893, and the drawn-out US Senate Hearings and ultimate victory of Mormon apostle and Senator Reed Smoot in 1907, this dissertation offers new insights into the meaning and limitations of American religious liberty, the dynamics of minority agency, as well as a deeper understanding of America's developing national identity.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Biography and the world of discourse in early medieval China a study of "The Stele of Lord Lu

Description

Wu Yun (d. 778) was prominent poet at the Tang court. His biography of the Daoist ritualist Lu Xiujing (406-77) can be read on several levels. It functions as a

Wu Yun (d. 778) was prominent poet at the Tang court. His biography of the Daoist ritualist Lu Xiujing (406-77) can be read on several levels. It functions as a source of information on Lu's life and works, but a reading focused on this alone is insufficient. Conventions of Chinese biography dictate the text is read not just with an eye towards who Lu "really was," but also how he functions as a character fashioned by an author for certain purposes. With this in mind, the reader can learn not just about Lu, but about the audience of the text and the aims of its author. Lu functioned as a model for later Daoist masters and as an exhortation to proper conduct towards them on the part of rulers and elites. Finally, with reference to the work of Michel Foucault and scholars of collective memory, this work can be read as a window onto the world of discourse in early medieval China.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Evolution of an Eschaton: An Analysis of On the Antichrist (CPG 3946) Attributed to Efrem the Syrian

Description

On the Antichrist (CPG 3946) is an eschatological sermon historically attributed to Efrem the Syrian. Composed in Koine Greek, On the Antichrist is not an authentic Efremic sermon but is

On the Antichrist (CPG 3946) is an eschatological sermon historically attributed to Efrem the Syrian. Composed in Koine Greek, On the Antichrist is not an authentic Efremic sermon but is attributed to the construct Greek Efrem, often called in the literature ‘Ephraem Graecus’. Sometime around the 12th century, Slavic Christians translated the work into Old Church Slavonic.

As its goal, this study employs On the Antichrist to investigate how religions (e.g. Christianity) employ religio-cultural constructs and either refine, or redefine, them for new audiences and circumstances. To accomplish this, the author transcribes and translates one of the most important manuscript witnesses of this sermon (labelled Ov1), translates it, compares it with other early witnesses, and analyzes the differences between the Greek and OCS versions of the text in order to ascertain the variations in the versions and to posit why such variations might have arisen in the transmission of this sermon. Finally, the critical edition is interrogated to propose a date of the autographic text-form of On the Antichrist to the 6th to 8th centuries.

This dissertation finds that multiple recensions of the sermon evolved from the earliest recension, the A Recension. The Old Church Slavonic recension of On the Antichrist falls squarely within the A Recension and seems to share a common ancestral tradition with the other A Recension manuscripts and help to reconstruct the early history of On the Antichrist. Thus, this dissertation provides one necessary step in preparation for the difficult task of preparing a critical edition of this sermon.

The sermon draws heavily upon 2 Thessalonians 2 and the Little Apocalypse. Two manuscripts overtly indicate multiple meters for the sermon, but two others only hint at such divisions, and the nature of the meters (Aramaic or Byzantine) is uncertain. The sermon itself references no datable historical events. The Greek of the sermon analyzing to a Late Koine/Early Byzantine cusp language datable to between the 6th to 8th centuries. For all the uncertainties and puzzles this sermon presents, the evidence clearly points to at least one conclusion: Efrem the Syrian (d.373) cannot have authored this work, and there is no way currently to ascertain the author.

Finally, this dissertation adduces an argument that Byzantine and Slavic Christians preserved On the Antichrist because of its emphasis upon humility and penitence, which allowed for the sermon to be incorporated into Orthodox liturgy by the 10th century.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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The culture of literate power at Cluny, 910-1156 CE

Description

In order to illuminate the role written documents played within medieval monastic life, this project takes as a case study the monastery of Cluny and some associated houses during the

In order to illuminate the role written documents played within medieval monastic life, this project takes as a case study the monastery of Cluny and some associated houses during the central Middle Ages. I approach these documents as signs, drawing on anthropological and philosophical work on semiosis, and as media technologies, using history and cultural studies centered on orality and literacy, and conclude that the monastic use of texts was essentially ritual, and as such exerted an important influence on the development of literacy as a tool and a set of practices. Nor did this influence flow in just one direction: as monastic ritual transformed the use of documents, the use of documents also transformed monastic ritual.

To study the relationship between document and ritual, I examine what medieval documents reveal about their production and use. I also read the sources for what they directly report about the nature of monastic life and monastic ritual, and the specific roles various documents played within these contexts. Finally, these accounts of changing monastic scribal and ritual practice are laid alongside a third—that of what the monks themselves actually enunciated, both directly and indirectly, about their own understanding of semiosis and its operation in their lives.

Ultimately, my dissertation connects valuable theoretical and philosophical work on ritual, semiosis, and orality and literacy with manuscript studies and with a wide range of recent historiography on the complex transformations remaking society inside and outside the cloister during the Middle Ages. It thus serves to bring these disparate yet mutually indispensable lines of inquiry into better contact with one another. And in this way, it approaches an understanding of human sign-use, carefully rooted in both material and institutional culture, during a key period in the history of human civilization.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Between mountain and lake: an urban Mormon country

Description

In "Between Mountain and Lake: an Urban Mormon Country," I identify a uniquely Mormon urban tradition that transcends simple village agrarianism. This tradition encompasses the distinctive ways in which Mormons

In "Between Mountain and Lake: an Urban Mormon Country," I identify a uniquely Mormon urban tradition that transcends simple village agrarianism. This tradition encompasses the distinctive ways in which Mormons have thought about cities, appropriating popular American urban forms to articulate their faith's central beliefs, tenants, and practices, from street layout to home decorating. But if an urban Mormon experience has as much validity as an agrarian one, how have the two traditions articulated themselves over time? What did the city mean for nineteenth-century Mormons? Did these meanings change in the twentieth-century, particularly following World War II when the nation as a whole underwent rapid suburbanization? How did Mormon understandings of the environment effect the placement of their villages and cities? What consequences did these choices have for their children, particularly when these places rapidly suburbanized? Traditionally, Zion has been linked to a particular place. This localized dimension to an otherwise spiritual and utopian ideal introduces environmental negotiation and resource utilization. Mormon urban space is, as French thinker Henri Lefebvre would suggest, culturally constructed, appropriated and consumed. On a fundamental level, Mormon spaces tack between the extremes of theocracy and secularism, communalism and capitalism and have much to reveal about how Mormonism has defined gender roles and established racial hierarchies. Mormon cultural landscapes both manifest a sense of identity and place, as well as establish relationships with the past.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Shared tears: Navy chaplains with Marines in Vietnam, 1962-1972

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ABSTRACT

Over 700 Navy Chaplains served with Marine Corps units in Vietnam between 1962 and 1972. With an average age of 37, these chaplains were often twice the age of

ABSTRACT

Over 700 Navy Chaplains served with Marine Corps units in Vietnam between 1962 and 1972. With an average age of 37, these chaplains were often twice the age of the young men with whom they served. More than half were veterans of World War II and/or the Korean Conflict. All were volunteers. The pathways these clergymen took to Vietnam varied dramatically not only with the Marines they served, but with one another. Once in Vietnam their experiences depended largely upon when, where, and with whom they served. When the last among them returned home in 1972 the Corps they represented and the American religious landscape of which they were a part had changed.

This study examines the experiences of Navy chaplains in three phases of the American conflict in Vietnam: the assisting and defending phase, 1962-1965; the intense combat phase, 1966-1968; and the post-Tet drawdown phase, 1969-1972. Through glimpses of the experiences of multiple chaplains and in-depth biographical sketches of six in particular the study elucidates their experiences, their understandings of chaplaincy, and the impact of their service in Vietnam on the rest of their lives.

This work argues that the motto the Chaplains School adopted in 1943, “Cooperation without Compromise,” proved relevant for clergy in a time when Protestant-Catholic-Jew were the defining categories of American religious experience. By the early 1970s, however, many Navy chaplains could no longer cooperate with one another without compromising their theological perspective. This reality reflected America’s shifting religious landscape and changes within the Chaplains Corps. Thus, many chaplains who served in Vietnam may well have viewed that time as bringing to a close a golden age of service within the Navy’s Chaplains Corps.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Son salutations: Christian yoga in the United States, 1989-2014

Description

This work examines the spectrum of Christian attitudes toward yoga as demonstrative of contemporary religious imagination in recent United States history. With the booming commodification of yoga as exercise, the

This work examines the spectrum of Christian attitudes toward yoga as demonstrative of contemporary religious imagination in recent United States history. With the booming commodification of yoga as exercise, the physical and mental elements of yoga practice are made safely secular by disassociation from their ostensible religious roots. Commonly deployed phrases, "Yoga is not a religion," or even, "Yoga is a science," open a broad invitation. But the very need for this clarification illustrates yoga's place in the United States as a borderline signifier for spirituality. Vocal concern by both Christians and Hindus demonstrates the tension between perceptions of yoga as a secular commodity and yoga as religiously beget. Alternatively embracing and rejecting yoga's religious history, Christian yoga practitioners reframe and rejoin yoga postures and breathing into their lives of faith. Some proponents name their practice Christian Yoga.

Christian Yoga flourishes as part of contemporary religious and spiritual discourse and practice in books, instructional DVDs, websites and studios throughout the United States. Christian Yoga proponents, professional and lay theologians alike, highlight the diversity of American attitudes toward and understanding of yoga and the heterogeneity of Christianity. For religious studies scholars, Christian Yoga advocates and detractors provide an opportune focal point for inquiry into the evolution of spiritual practice, the dynamics of tradition, experience and authority, and the dialectic nature of evolving cultural attitudes in a religiously plural and complex secular environment.

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Date Created
  • 2014