In recent years, scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to the history of scholarship in general and, more specifically, to the emergence of critical historical and anthropological literature from and within ecclesiastical scholarship. However, few studies have discussed the Jewish figures who took part in this process. This paper analyzes the role played by historiographical and ethnographical writing in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Italian Jewish–Christian polemics. Tracing various Christian polemical ethnographical depictions of the Jewish rite of shaking the lulav (sacramental palm leaves used by Jews during the festival of Sukkot), it discusses the variety of ways in which Jewish scholars responded to these depictions or circumvented them. These responses reflect the Jewish scholars’ familiarity with prevailing contemporary scholarship and the key role of translation and cultural transfers in their own attempts to create parallel works. Furthermore, this paper presents new Jewish polemical manuscript material within the relevant contexts, examines Jewish attempts to compose polemical and apologetic ethnographies, and argues that Jewish engagement with critical scholarship began earlier than scholars of this period usually suggest
In his book about his Irish-South African family and his childhood under apartheid, White Boy Running, Christopher Hope writes of the ‘bitter emotion’ that infuses the politics of both Ireland and South Africa. This article considers how the histories of political struggle in both places are intertwined through readings of photographs taken in Ireland and South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. I draw on these photographs to develop an argument about how affective archives of music, images, and poetry travel across time and space and serve as a conduit for raising awareness about injustice and for forging transnational solidarity. At the same time these photographs provoke a consideration about how Irish identification with the struggle of black South Africans is complicated by the longer history of British colonialism and racism and how solidarity requires both remembering and forgetting. This article also begins to trace the presence and work of South African activists in Ireland who campaigned against apartheid while they were in exile.
In recent years, pre-modern beds have generated extensive scholarly interest. Their social, religious, and economic importance has been rightfully highlighted in the study of domestic piety. Yet, concern has primarily focused on beds in late medieval English homes. This essay uses Hebrew texts from thirteenth-century Southern Germany, primarily Sefer Hasidim, to further this analysis of the role of the bed in shaping medieval domestic devotion. Jewish notions about the social, moral, and sexual significance of the bed reflect those identified in late medieval Christian culture. These ideas inspired numerous rituals practiced in Jewish homes. Yet, the bed and the remnants of sex assumed to be found in it also frustrated Jewish attempts to perform domestic devotion. These findings highlight the complicated nature of the home and how medieval people had to navigate both its opportunities and challenges in order to foster a rich culture of domestic devotion.
In recent decades the relationship between tantric traditions of Buddhism and Śaivism has been the subject of sustained scholarly enquiry. This article looks at a specific aspect of this relationship, that between Buddhist and Śaiva traditions of practitioners of physical yoga, which came to be categorised in Sanskrit texts as haṭhayoga. Taking as its starting point the recent identification as Buddhist of the c.11th-century Amṛtasiddhi, which is the earliest text to teach any of the methods of haṭhayoga and whose teachings are found in many subsequent non-Buddhist works, the article draws on a range of textual and material sources to identify the Konkan site of Kadri as a key location for the transition from Buddhist to Nāth Śaiva haṭhayoga traditions, and proposes that this transition may provide a model for how Buddhist teachings survived elsewhere in India after Buddhism’s demise there as a formal religion.