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The publication of this outstanding book marks the beginning of the Brill book series Roma History and Culture. The core of the present volume is an until now unpublished manuscript by Shakir Pashov (1898-1981), a Bulgarian Roma activist whose name continues to be surrounded by rumours and myths. The volume includes the original manuscript of Shakir Pashov on the history of the Gypsies in Europe, followed by archival documents highlighting his life and work, and the text of the first booklet devoted to him, which was the first attempt to create a Roma historical narrative. There is also included an extended biography of Shakir Pashov as known by now. The book contributes to identifying and highlighting the numerous inputs Roma have had to shape their activism and popularise their historical knowledge. Pashov's manuscript is a prominent example of these efforts.
Open Access
Unlocking the Golden Past of the Rudari Woodworkers
This is the first monograph on the history of the Rudari people of Romania and the first mapping of their settlements. The Rudari are a population which has traditionally inhabited the Balkan area and much of Central Europe. Many of them do not know the Romani language but speak Romanian dialects and today make a living out of carving wooden household items, although their Slavic name alludes to mining. Indeed, the Rudari were for centuries gold-prospectors and gold-washers working for the Crown of Wallachia and were administrated as slaves by a monastery situated on the auriferous Olt river. The authors have reconstructed the fascinating history of this ethnic group for a period of 500 years until the 19th century when gold-panning went in decline due to the exhaustion of the reserves of alluvial gold.
Open Access
The articles in the book show that today’s Orthodox theology is constructively relating to modernity in politics, society and culture.
In 20 articles very prominent Orthodox theologians and experts on Orthodox theology and Orthodox Christianity from academic fields like sociology of religion or political studies are discussing, in what sense politics, society and culture are considered in Orthodox Theology in a global horizon. Contributors are Alfons Brüning, Ina Merdjanova, Nathaniel Wood, Cyril Hovorun, Dimitrios Moschos, Lucien Turcescu, K. M. George (Kondortha), Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Branko Sekulić, Georgios Vlantis, Nikolaos Asproulis, Atanas Slavov, Sveto Riboloff, Haralambos Ventis, Ioannis Kaminis, Irena Pavlović, Athanasios N. Papathanasiou, Chris Durante, Kateřina Kočandrle Bauer, Vasilios N. Makrides.
Open Access
This volume takes us back to the roots of Christianity and exemplifies the significance of Syriac Theology for our time.
Bringing together articles by scholars from diverse disciplines, this volume aims at a deeper understanding of the legacy, importance, and challenges of Syriac Theology. The articles in the first part of the volume focus on the biblical, exegetical, and christological tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church. The articles in the second part of the volume explore the dialogical intertextuality between Syriac Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and the Quran.
Open Access

Abstract

The Kalmyks have lived in southwest Russia for about four centuries. Whilst cultural assimilation with neighbouring peoples has been an ongoing process since the Kalmyks first settled in the lower Volga from 1630, the twentieth century, which saw the rise and fall of several political regimes in Russia, was the most dramatic period in the group’s history in that it had a deep impact not only on their social structure, religion, and way of life but also on their identity. Subjected to various political ideologies, not to mention punitive mass deportation to Siberia and Central Asia from 1943 to 1956, the Kalmyks had to constantly negotiate their identity not only with the Tsarist/Soviet/Russian state but also among themselves. Whilst today’s self-narratives of Kalmyk ethnic identity are inextricably linked to the discourse of post-Soviet cultural revival, in order to explain the fluidity and dynamics of Kalmyk identity this paper takes a comprehensive approach to the history of the Kalmyk people since their first settlement on the lower Volga. Ethnic identity and its development are narrated chronologically, taking into account social structure, religion, historiography, and popular concepts to which the Kalmyks have been subjected, and which they have embraced, in the course of their history.

Open Access
In: Caucasus Survey

Abstract

Kalmyk Buddhists have long engaged in the practice of pilgrimage for religious purposes. Historically, the main destination for Kalmyk pilgrims was Tibet, which was facilitated by traditional ties between the Kalmyks and the Dalai Lama (and by extension the Tibetan people) after the adoption of Buddhism by Oirat groups at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries. Kalmyk pilgrims pursued a host of goals – religious, political, diplomatic, and educational in nature. Some pilgrims engaged in exploration; during the early Soviet period Kalmyk pilgrims were used by the Soviet government as covert foreign policy instruments in its dealings with Tibet. Soon afterwards, however, pilgrimage was banned altogether due to the anti-religious policy endorsed by the Bolsheviks. It was not until the late 1980s that pilgrimage was revived owing to the democratization of social and political life in the Soviet Union.

Open Access
In: Caucasus Survey

Abstract

The theoretical framework presented in this article makes it possible to understand religions as constantly changing networks of actors and infrastructures that incorporate, modify, discard, and reformulate numerous “elements” in terms of specific conceptualizations often rooted in concrete contexts of application, and “structures,” i.e., larger conceptual contexts such as evolution, cosmogonies, or anthropological views of humanity, in a necessary ongoing creative process.

Such a process, and the usefulness of the tool, will be illustrated in this article through discussion of the work of Robert T. Browne, particularly his book The Mystery of Space. To date, research has assumed that Browne derives all of his theory from Theosophy. By applying the above theoretical framework and situating Browne’s work within a broader network of discourses, the article challenges this conclusion and is able to paint a more complete picture. This illustrates the usefulness of the analytical tool presented.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society

Abstract

This study examines the question of how religious knowledge of the Umbanda religion is transferred from Brazil to German-speaking Europe in an interreligious network. Since the personalization of the Umbandistic spirits is not familiar in the cultural context in Europe, an emotional archive through the body becomes significant. In understanding the different aspects of religion in Africa, Brazil and Europe in relation to kinship, regionality, personality and nature, which are reflected in the sacred dimension, the focus is laid on the ontological understanding of the spiritual world and its understanding of nature and human beings. The argument of a shift of attention in the Umbanda religion to a stronger focus on nature in Central Europe is based on an observation of a change of the entanglements and borders of the religious field of Umbanda in German-speaking Europe integrating a great part of psychological aspects, especially a newly-founded therapy of nature.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Author:

Abstract

This essay examines the variants that were caused by the interchange of letters bearing graphic similarity between the Masoretic text and the Samaritan Pentateuch. Through a paleographic analysis of the shapes of the interchanging letters, it aims to carefully propose a paleographic framework for the interchanges. This process reveals that the scribal activity in the transmission of the Pentateuch increased after the middle of the second century BCE, reaching its peak in the middle of the first century BCE. This essay discusses the significance of these findings in light of further material and textual evidence for the role that the Pentateuch played in Second Temple Judaism.

Open Access
In: Journal of Ancient Judaism

Abstract

This article reconstructs the story of the Soviet Union’s medical internationalism amid the early years of destalinization, when it re-engaged more actively in the global health community. How did the USSR attempt to leverage medicine as a tool of soft power in both multilateral and bilateral relations? Based on records of the USSR Ministry of Health and the Medical Workers Union, as well as newspapers and other published sources, it analyzes what destalinization meant for physicians and public health administrators who sought greater exchange with and connection to their colleagues abroad. A widening web of interconnections in this transitional period paved the way to greater integration in a global medical community. Soviet medical and health professionals nurtured international relationships with a range of strategies, expectations, and aspirations. They used these opportunities to learn, and also to speak back to their superiors and to shape the trajectories of domestic research agendas.

Open Access
In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review