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The Other Side of the Story

Essays on Jews, Christians, Cults, Women, Atheists and Artists
  • By Rachael Kohn
Product Description
The essays in this collection represent some of the themes that emerged during my lectureships in Religious Studies and Semitic Studies at the University of Sydney between 1987-1992 and beyond, when I continued to give papers at conferences and publish in academic journals. However, something significant occurred in my study of religion which, as a denizen of the university, I was not fully expecting when I joined the Religion Department of ABC Radio National in July 1992. The daily and weekly round of research, writing, and long form interviews of key religious figures, usually after reading their latest work, while keeping abreast of day to day religious developments, both in Australia and abroad, plunged me into the dynamic world of 'lived religion'. This is a term coined by Harvard University Professor, David Hall, whom I interviewed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1999 after reading his World of Wonder, Days of Judgement: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England, and his edited volume Lived Religion: Toward a History of Practice. I realised that what he described as 'lived religion' precisely informed the central task of my work: in which the history of practices 'encompasses the tensions, the ongoing struggle of definition, that are constituted within every religious tradition and that are always present in how people choose to act. Practice thus suggests that any synthesis is provisional. To be Jewish is to understand early on that the normal practice of using a noun to describe a person of a particular faith, such as Christian, Hindu or Muslim, often arouses discomfort from all sides when applied to 'the Jew'. In choosing to use the term 'Jew' with no other intention than to refer to a person of the Jewish faith, I have discovered that in some circles it is a bold act. Christians who wish to reject the historic use of anti-Jewish epithets, such as 'to Jew somebody' (to cheat somebody), have told me that my use of the term Jew sounds callous. Some Jews agree and prefer to use the adjective Jewish wherever possible. This has always struck me as giving in to bigots. For me it is a simple refusal to give permanency to the pejorative uses to which the term Jew has been put by anti-Semites of any background, and to reclaim the noble tradition to which I belong.

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  • Additional Details
  • Additional Details
    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9781922582515
    • ISBN 13: 9781922582515
    • Publication Date: 12/01/2021
    • Format: Hardcover
    • Author: Rachael Kohn
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