Uttering a vow was an important and popular religious practice in ancient Judaism. It is mentioned frequently in biblical literature, and an entire rabbinic tractate, Nedarim , is devoted to this subject. In this article, I argue that starting from the Second Temple period, alongside the regular use of the vow, vows were also used as an aggressive binding mechanism in interpersonal situations. This practice became so popular that in certain contexts the vow became synonymous with the curse, as in a number of ossuaries in Jerusalem and in the later Aramaic incantation bowls. Moreover, this semantic expansion was not an isolated Jewish phenomenon but echoed both the use of the anathema in the Pauline epistles and contemporary Greco-Roman and Babylonian magical practices.
Once in a while, the Israeli public learns from the news that a soldier has disappeared or died. Later on, it is reported that the soldier committed suicide. These deaths are usually tended through psychological concepts and procedures. However, a cultural perceptive unfolds the institutional and political aspects of military suicide. Examining the social order in Israel, Suicide in Uniform discusses questions such as: Why has the notion of "suicidality" gained its overwhelming explanatory power? What are the norms that render commanders and mental health officers the main figures responsible for suicide prevention? What are the rules that prohibit some bereaved parents from receiving military compensations? How is suicide explained in relation to the sacrifice of life demanded of soldiers and in relation to contemporary military missions? This book illuminates seven decades of social negotiations with the meaning of military suicide, as Israeli society shapes its ideals of heroism, individuality and solidarity.
The special issue of Journal of Classical Sociology is an outcome of MBSF activities. Edited by Nitzan Rothem and Shlomo Fischer, this volume points to the significance of Arnold van Gennep's Les rites de passage for contemporary social thought and research. MBSF articles include: Orit Gazit on migration and van Gennep's theory of the limit, Ruthie Abeliovich on Les rites de passage's contribution to the field of Performance Studies, Moshe Blidstein on the theoretical problem of purity, and Nitzan Rothem on Turner's and van Gennep's frameworks vis-à-vis contemporary warfare. Also in this volume: Ilana Silber on gift theory, Nicole Hochner on rhythm and social kinesis and Harvey Goldberg on early 20th-century social thought.
-hour struggles are a key element in the historical study of organized labor. Little attention has been paid, however, to long-term changes in the rationale underlying demands for work time reductions. Comparing arguments formulated by German workers around 1900 with arguments put forward half a century later, this article detects a fundamental narrowing of discourse in twentieth-century labor disputes. While trade unions once drew on a strikingly broad rationale when demanding work time reductions, the post-WW II decades witnessed a strategic departure from arguments that had long constituted the bedrock of shorter-hour rhetoric. Analyzing a leading theoretical labor organ as well as the members’ publication of West Germany’s largest single-industry union, the article reveals that work time reductions were increasingly framed as a powerful measure to improve workers’ health and safety and to increase leisure and family time. In so doing, West German trade unions abandoned a crucial link between work time reductions and the vision for a more democratic and participatory society. The article thus shows how strategic bargaining decisions helped undermine the rich legacy of the historical struggle for shorter hours.
The Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire examines the history of the Mongol Empire, the pre-imperial era of Mongolian history that preceded it, and the various Mongol successor states that continued to dominate Eurasia long after the breakdown of Mongol unity.
This second edition contains a chronology, an introduction, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 900 cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture of the Mongol Empire. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about the Mongol Empire.
In this article I analyze Van Gennep’s understanding of purity, impurity, and purification and its relationship with ancient Christian texts discussing these subjects. Through this comparison, I show how modern and ancient theories of ritual can illuminate each other, and more specifically, how purification was a problematic and ambivalent concept for both ancient Christian writers and for Van Gennep, making it a fruitful one for investigating the thought of both.
Moshe Blidstein. 2018. “Anti-legal Exempla in Late Ancient Christian Exegesis.” In Scriptures, Sacred Traditions, and Strategies of Religious Subversion: Studies in Discourse with the Work of Guy G. Stroumsa, edited by Moshe Blidstein, Serge Ruzer, and Daniel Stoekl Ben Ezra, Pp. 91-102. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Recently, new laws and medical guidelines in many countries have prohibited early genital surgeries and irreversible medical treatment for intersexed babies. Following the passing of the German law that allows parents to register intersexed babies with no sex/gender, and after the establishment of new medical guidelines for intersexed patients in Israel, this study aims to examine the current medical policies regarding intersexed bodies at DSD centres and hospitals in Israel and Germany. How, if at all, have they changed the previous medical guidelines? This is a narrative study that includes 62 in-depth interviews with medical professionals, parents and intersexed people from Germany and Israel. Three main controversial themes are examined, including the situated diagnostic medical gaze, the surgical practices for normalising intersexed bodies and the concealment of intersexed bodies. I find that in Israeli hospitals, early irreversible surgeries for 'ambiguous genitals' and the removal of internal sex organs are taking place frequently, whereas in Germany, the three DSD centres examined offer psychological counselling for parents instead of early surgeries for their babies. While in Israel concealment practices are embodied in the medical policy, the DSD centres in Germany encourage openness and peer group support. \copyright 2018 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness.