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DepositThe Will of Others

Scholarly reflections on the concept of the will as it is articulated in late ancient texts have centered on the male individual and the difficulties he faces as he tries to train or direct his intentions. By contrast, in this article we seek to explore late ancient concepts and negotiations of the will by considering a cluster of ancient Jewish and Christian narrative scenarios in which women are under the threat of sexual assault. Rather than a split between warring parts of one person, these narratives treat moments when the will of one actor is in conflict with the will of another. Thus, these scenarios raise questions that cannot otherwise be accessed about human intention, agency, and subjectivity, and their limitations by social and cultural realities. We argue that these cases should be viewed not as the marginal troubles that sometimes happen to women, but as expressions of the fundamental problems at the heart of the theories of the will embraced within late ancient Judaism and Christianity.

DepositOthering, an analysis

Othering is the construction and identification of the self or in-group and the other or out-group in mutual, unequal opposition by attributing relative inferiority and/or radical alienness to the other/out-group. The notion of othering spread from feminist theory and post-colonial studies to other areas of the humanities and social sciences, but is originally rooted in Hegel’s dialectic of identification and distantiation in the encounter of the self with some other in his “Master-Slave dialectic”. In this paper, after reviewing the philosophical and psychological background of othering, I distinguish two kinds of othering, “crude” and “sophisticated”, that differ in the logical form of their underlying arguments. The essential difference is that the former is merely self-other distantiating, while the latter – as in Hegel’s dialectic – partially depends on self-other identification. While crude othering is closer to the paradigmatic notion of othering, sophisticated othering is closer to Hegel’s, but so is quasi-othering, which is nearly identical in form to sophisticated othering, but which misses the defining feature of othering – attributing relative inferiority and/or radical alienness. Because Hegel’s dialectic applies to any encounter of an interpreting self with some other, sophisticated or quasi-othering is at least potentially a very common occurrence in the interpretation of others, especially of those who do not belong to the in-group. However, although othering is usually undesirable, the Hegelian varieties can provide a “mirror”, which can be used as a tool to improve understanding of both the other and the interpreting self, and the malignant aspects of othering can be avoided through charity.

DepositA Rose by Any Other Name

A consideration on how aesthetic inquiry can take a clearer and more productive direction, beginning with the name of the discipline. I commented earlier on the historical origin of aesthetics and used this as a springboard to argue for its greater breadth. Yet aesthetics has often been used to restrict appreciative experience and, in fact, the term itself may be a liability. But what we label aesthetic is not significant: appreciative experience is. Aesthetic theory is easily caught up in secondary, unproductive, and even possibly false issues, such as the definition of art, the boundaries of art, and the proper designation of beauty. It is in avoiding this danger that this essay receives its title. What is important, I want to argue, is not what we call beautiful or designate as art but where we find the kind of value experiences traditionally associated with appreciating beauty, natural and artistic, and how we can enhance and develop such experiences. However, this also requires recognizing the converse of these values in the loss, the negation, the desecration of this mode of experience.

DepositResponsibility and Others’ Beliefs

(From first paragraph): In what sense, if any, am I responsible for my beliefs? What does responsibility for belief consist in? How far does it extend? Can I also be responsible for your beliefs? What does it mean to be a responsible agent with respect to one’s own and others’ beliefs? These questions, among many other, arise in thinking about the ways individual agents form beliefs, and receive or pass on information, and they regard the norms invoked upon when agents are held responsible in view of those processes. …

DepositSystems and Other Minimalism in Britain

This collection of essays represents the first international survey of minimalism and postminimalist music from a wide variety of analytical and historical perspectives; its authors include the central scholars in this area. This chapter is the first comprehensive study of the wide variety of minimalist styles in Britain, from the sparse, ‘minimal minimalist’ One Note 1966 by Christopher Hobbs, to repetitive and durational processes that were at first developed experimentally, using random processes (John White’s Machine music) to numerical systems processes, derived from the work of the British Systems Art group. Although there are close ties between the British and American movements (perhaps strengthened by a shared language), the British movement is distinguished by its ties to British systems and op art, and to literature, as well as to the British folk practice of change-ringing. However, the most consistent trait in this music is a sense of play, and playfulness.

DepositOtherness and Historiography in Chronicles

The very fi rst work of “history” penned in the Western tradition begins its fi rst paragraph with setting the context of the work as the confl ict between Greek and Persian. Herodotus of Halicarnassus, an Ionian Greek from the fringes of the Persian Empire, constructed his historie as an account of the formation of Greek identity in relation to the Other. This tendency may also be found in the annals and royal inscriptions of the ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and eastern Mediterranean cultures that preceded the creation of historiography in the Persian period. We may also fi nd this tendency in the biblical narratives of Kings and Ezra- Nehemiah. The book of Chronicles, however, has not been investigated from this perspective. Previous generations of scholarship were apt to see the Other in Chronicles as Samaritans, but this construction was based on the assumed common authorship of Chronicles and Ezra- Nehemiah. In this essay I will explore another possibility for the Other against whom Israel is constructed in Chronicles. One possibility that I raise further in the conclusion is that Chronicles is not a work of historiography at all, or, if it is, it is a radical innovation in the fundamental rules of the genre as understood in antiquity.

DepositThe Jews, the Others, of Piers Plowman

Hardly a Passus of Piers Plowman goes by without one reference to a Jewish individual, practice, or belief — that is, a Jewish individual, practice or belief as perceived or believed by a Christian observer. Whereas a multitude of these references abound in Piers Plowman, it contains, essentially, only a pair of conventional medieval approaches for portraying Jews: Jews as other to the Christian and historical Jews as other to the Scriptural Jews. Elisa Marie Narin van Court’s work on Piers Plowman tracks the alterations and deletions of Jewish references from Piers Plowman’s B-text to its C-text. Chronicling these echoes, however, largely precludes an in-depth study of the B-text alone which, in turn, implies its relative tolerance towards Jews.

DepositThemistocles and the Voice of the Other

All commented on Themistocles’ feat of mastering the Persian language. I show how Plutarch’s depiction of Themistocles differs from previous accounts in cultural assimilation and language acquisition. I argue that Plutarch has been influenced by contemporary concerns relating to assimilation and ethnicity. I analyze three incidents: the inscription Themistocles allegedly inscribed on the shores of Euboea after Artemisium (Them. 9.2), the report that Themistocles ordered that an interpreter should be killed “on the grounds that he dared to use the Greek language in the service of barbarian overlords” (Them. 6.1), and his studies of the Persian language (Them. 29). Plutarch either includes events found in no previous source, or presents them in a tendentious manner different from previous accounts. For Plutarch, the Themistocles legend had become a battle ground for questions of language and self-definition. This trend is continued by authors after Plutarch, who emphasize and invent incidents in Themistocles’ life which demonstrate the primacy of the Hellenic language and culture.