scholarly journals Understanding Puranic Goddesses of Early Assam

Sharmah Gargee

The Goddess cult had influenced the socio-religious history of early Assam. Assam was under the influence of Tantra before the Puranic tradition reached the region. Female divinities occupied topmost position in Tantricism. Goddess is central to most of the religious beliefs in ancient Assam, specifically among the local tribal cult. Though the early Vedic literature seldom discussed about the female divinities, the author of the Puranas in later period tried to incorporate the regional goddesses to Puranic literature due to their popularity among the local people. The authors of the Puranas tried to spread Brahmonical social order and therefore choose the popular goddesses. Some Mahapuranas and Upa-Puranas richly equipped with Mother cult. This paper intends to discuss the status of some Puranic goddesses of early Assam with the help of sculptural evidences. Keywords: Goddess, Mahapurana, Upa-Purana, Sculpture, Tantra, Mother cult, Vedic literature

Anne Haour

This chapter examines the similarities in the means by which new monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam, came to override previous religious beliefs in the central Sahel and north-west Europe. It explains the concept of animism and describes the initial stages of the implantation of Christianity and Islam, or the time of the most sustained missionary activity rather than that of established belief. It provides an overview of the religious history of the central Sahel and north-western Europe and considers religious conversion from the point of view of the converted.

2018 ◽  
Vol 47 (1) ◽  
pp. 1-20
Ewa Rychter

Abstract This paper focuses on the ways some recent British and Irish rewritings of the Bible estrange what has become the publicly accepted and dominant image of the biblical text. Recently, the Bible has been given the status of “home scripture” (Sherwood, Yvonne. 2012. Biblical Blaspheming: Trials of the Sacred for a Secular Age. Cambridge: CUP) and become a domesticated and conservative text, a rather placid cultural/literary monument, an important foundation of democracy, a venerable religious document judged more tolerant and liberal than other scriptures. Though the Bible used to be perceived as an explosive text, peppered with potentially offensive passages, today its enmity is neutralised either by linking the Bible with ancient times or by relating it to people’s religious beliefs and by entrenching its more scandalous parts within the discourse of tolerance. It is such an anodyne image of the Bible that the biblical rewritings of Roberts, Winterson, Barnes, Crace, Pullman, Tóibin, Alderman, Diski defamiliarize. By showing biblical events through the eyes of various non-standard focalizers, those novels disrupt the formulaic patterns of the contemporary perception of the Bible. It is through these strange perspectives that we observe the critical moment when the overall meaning and the role of the biblical text is established and the biblical story is actually written down. Importantly, it is also the moment when somebody moulds the scripture according to their ideas and glosses over all the complexities, violence and immorality related to the events the biblical text describes. Also, contemporary biblical rewritings defamiliarize the currently popular image of the Bible – that of a whitewashed text which inculcates morality, conserves social order and teaches love and tolerance, by employing images of disintegration, dirt and contagion as well as by constructing a figure of a fervent believer in the Bible and its ideas.

2014 ◽  
Vol 8 (1) ◽  
pp. 56
Rhys H. Williams

The article reviews the status of the highly diverse community of American Muslims, with reference to US national identity and immigration history, history of Islam in the USA, and civil society organization. It is found that on average, and after the civil right movement of the 1960s, Muslims are very well assimilated into the US society and economy, in which the specific American civil society and religious organizations play an important enabling part, providing networks and inroads to society for newcomers as well as vehicles for preserving ethniccultural distinctiveness. This broad pattern of development has not changed in the aftermath of 9/11 and ensuing wars on terror. Compared with the Nordic context, where Muslims are often considered challenging to a secular social order, American Muslims do not stand out as more or differently religious, or any less American, than other religious communities. It is tentatively concluded that, downsides apart, US national identity and civil society structure could be more favorable for the social integration of Muslims than the Nordic welfare state model.

2020 ◽  
Vol 19 (1) ◽  
pp. 25-45
Amy Casteel

Migration promises an opportunity for a different future for those moving while it challenges the status quo for transit and host countries. Changing from one culture to another is no small task. Neither is the process of moving from adolescent to adult. Many rely on religious beliefs and practices as they cope. Still, these practices are modified, adapted, changed. What happens in the lived religion of adolescents after migration to Greece? In discussion with practical and liberation theologians, sociology, and social and cultural psychology, the voices of adolescent migrants themselves contribute to a deeper understanding of current models of adolescent spiritual development.

2012 ◽  
Vol 52 (1) ◽  
pp. 23-50 ◽  
Necati Alkan

AbstractBased on their writings, the religious beliefs of the Nusayrīs have been studied since the 19th century. But historical knowledge and information about them in the 19th century, based on Ottoman sources has been rather meager. Only in recent years this kind of research intensified. In the Ottoman Empire real interest in the Nusayrīs started during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1909). Due to fear of infiltration of heterodox Muslims by foreigners, especially by American and English Protestant missionaries, the Sultan was pressed to attract them to the Hanafī-Sunnī school. In this process, the status of the Nusayrīs underwent changes. After summarizing the attitude of the provincial Syrian administration and of Istanbul toward the Nusayrīs in the first decades of the 19th century, the article will give an overview of the developments regarding the Nusayrīs during the Tanzimat and the Hamidian era until roughly the Young Turk revolution. The following questions will be asked: How did Protestant missionaries integrate the Nusayrīs into their millenarian belief in a new social order? By what means did the Ottoman pacifying or "civilizing" mission attempt to integrate the Nusayrīs? And how did the Nusayrīs respond to the efforts of the Christian missionaries and the Ottoman state? The article will also challenge the view that the name "'Alawī" was only used after 1920.

1997 ◽  
Vol 24 (3) ◽  
pp. 397-421 ◽  

A worn Iguanodon tooth from Cuckfield, Sussex, illustrated by Mantell in 1827, 1839, 1848 and 1851, was labelled by Mantell as the first tooth sent to Baron Cuvier in 1823 and acknowledged as such by Sir Charles Lyell. The labelled tooth was taken to New Zealand by Gideon's son Walter in 1859. It was deposited in a forerunner of the Museum of New Zealand, Wellington in 1865 and is still in the Museum, mounted on a card bearing annotations by both Gideon Mantell and Lyell. The history of the Gideon and Walter Mantell collection in the Museum of New Zealand is outlined, and the Iguanodon tooth and its labels are described and illustrated. This is the very tooth which Baron Cuvier first identified as a rhinoceros incisor on the evening of 28 June 1823.

Chris Himsworth

The first critical study of the 1985 international treaty that guarantees the status of local self-government (local autonomy). Chris Himsworth analyses the text of the 1985 European Charter of Local Self-Government and its Additional Protocol; traces the Charter’s historical emergence; and explains how it has been applied and interpreted, especially in a process of monitoring/treaty enforcement by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities but also in domestic courts, throughout Europe. Locating the Charter’s own history within the broader recent history of the Council of Europe and the European Union, the book closes with an assessment of the Charter’s future prospects.

Didier Debaise

Which kind of relation exists between a stone, a cloud, a dog, and a human? Is nature made of distinct domains and layers or does it form a vast unity from which all beings emerge? Refusing at once a reductionist, physicalist approach as well as a vitalistic one, Whitehead affirms that « everything is a society » This chapter consequently questions the status of different domains which together compose nature by employing the concept of society. The first part traces the history of this notion notably with reference to the two thinkers fundamental to Whitehead: Leibniz and Locke; the second part defines the temporal and spatial relations of societies; and the third explores the differences between physical, biological, and psychical forms of existence as well as their respective ways of relating to environments. The chapter thus tackles the status of nature and its domains.


The physician George Hoggart Toulmin (1754–1817) propounded his theory of the Earth in a number of works beginning with The antiquity and duration of the world (1780) and ending with his The eternity of the universe (1789). It bore many resemblances to James Hutton's "Theory of the Earth" (1788) in stressing the uniformity of Nature, the gradual destruction and recreation of the continents and the unfathomable age of the Earth. In Toulmin's view, the progress of the proper theory of the Earth and of political advancement were inseparable from each other. For he analysed the commonly accepted geological ideas of his day (which postulated that the Earth had been created at no great distance of time by God; that God had intervened in Earth history on occasions like the Deluge to punish man; and that all Nature had been fabricated by God to serve man) and argued they were symptomatic of a society trapped in ignorance and superstition, and held down by priestcraft and political tyranny. In this respect he shared the outlook of the more radical figures of the French Enlightenment such as Helvétius and the Baron d'Holbach. He believed that the advance of freedom and knowledge would bring about improved understanding of the history and nature of the Earth, as a consequence of which Man would better understand the terms of his own existence, and learn to live in peace, harmony and civilization. Yet Toulmin's hopes were tempered by his naturalistic view of the history of the Earth and of Man. For Time destroyed everything — continents and civilizations. The fundamental law of things was cyclicality not progress. This latent political conservatism and pessimism became explicit in Toulmin's volume of verse, Illustration of affection, published posthumously in 1819. In those poems he signalled his disapproval of the French Revolution and of Napoleonic imperialism. He now argued that all was for the best in the social order, and he abandoned his own earlier atheistic religious radicalism, now subscribing to a more Christian view of God. Toulmin's earlier geological views had run into considerable opposition from orthodox religious elements. They were largely ignored by the geological community in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain, but were revived and reprinted by lower class radicals such as Richard Carlile. This paper is to be published in the American journal, The Journal for the History of Ideas in 1978 (in press).

2020 ◽  
Vol 6 (3) ◽  
pp. 21-51
Debashree Mukherjee

In 1939, at the height of her stardom, the actress Shanta Apte went on a spectacular hunger strike in protest against her employers at Prabhat Studios in Poona, India. The following year, Apte wrote a harsh polemic against the extractive nature of the film industry. In Jaau Mi Cinemaat? (Should I Join the Movies?, 1940), she highlighted the durational depletion of the human body that is specific to acting work. This article interrogates these two unprecedented cultural events—a strike and a book—opening them up toward a history of embodiment as production experience. It embeds Apte's emphasis on exhaustion within contemporaneous debates on female stardom, industrial fatigue, and the status of cinema as work. Reading Apte's remarkable activism as theory from the South helps us rethink the meanings of embodiment, labor, materiality, inequality, resistance, and human-object relations in cinema.

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