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Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Perspectives from anthropology and history

This book examines the importance of rules for many of the world’s great moral traditions. Ethical systems characterised by detailed rules – Islamic sharia and Christian casuistry are notable examples – have often been dismissed as empty formalism or as the instrument of social control. This book demonstrates, on the contrary, that rules often enable, rather than hinder, personal ethical life. Here anthropologists and historians explore cases of rule-oriented ethics and their dynamics across a wide range of historical and contemporary moral traditions. Examples of pre-modern Hindu ethics, codes of civility from early modern England and medieval Christian casuistry demonstrate how rules can form an essential element of what Michel Foucault called ‘the care of the self’. Studies of Roman exemplary ethics, early modern Christian theology and the calculation of sin and merit in contemporary Muslim Palestine highlight the challenges posed by the coexistence of moral rules with other moral forms, not least those of virtue ethics. Finally, explorations of medieval and modern Islamic sharia, Christian moral theology and Jewish halakhah all highlight how such traditions develop complex meta-rules – rules about rules – for managing the tensions and dilemmas that the use of rules can entail. Together, these case studies and the theoretical framework proposed in the book’s Introduction offer a more nuanced, cross-cultural appreciation of the role of rules in moral life than those currently prevalent in both the anthropology of ethics and the history of morality.

The First Commandment and sacramental confession in early modern Catholic Europe
Nicole Reinhardt

Nicole Reinhardt Before Judge Roy Moore lost the Senate special election in Alabama following allegations of sexual misconduct in 2017, he had been a leading spokesman of the evangelical ‘Hang Ten’ movement. Based on the claim that the Ten Commandments are the universally valid essence of law and therefore conducive to upholding public order, its members campaign for their posting in all US public buildings (Davis 2002 ). The evangelicals’ request not only violates the duty of

in Rules and ethics
Joseph Heller

withdrawn from circulation by Khrushchev. Meir said that the cartoons it contained were worse than those that appeared in the notorious Nazi tabloid Der Stürmer . One showed Ben-Gurion erasing the ‘Thou Shall Not Kill’ from the Ten Commandments. 56 Eshkol feared that, given the current poor relations, Khrushchev might send missiles and military personnel to Egypt. The Kremlin applauded when Nasser and the

in The United States, the Soviet Union and the Arab– Israeli conflict, 1948– 67
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Thomas is your boyfriend
Cary Howie

Fontenay, Fossanova: these postcards show no monks, just light and stone and timbered ceiling. Clean-swept floors, a staircase suspended, the accidental ornament of mortar and stave. Thin shadows like fins of distant fish. And arch after arch, as though the granite Ten Commandments outside First Baptist of Brownstown were stripped of every Thou and Shalt, their funerary form exalted, blown up, multiplied and shot through with sourceless brightness. When I flip the card

in Transfiguring medievalism
Clarice Greco, Mariana Marques de Lima, and Tissiana Nogueira Pereira

Ester [ The Story of Esther ] ( 2010 ), Sansão e Dalila [ Samson and Delilah ] ( 2011 ), Rei Davi [ King David ] (2012), José do Egito [ Joseph from Egypt ] ( 2013 ), Os Milagres de Jesus [ The Miracles of Jesus ] ( 2014–15 ), Os Dez Mandamentos [ The Ten Commandments ] (2015–16) and A Terra Prometida [ The Promised Land ] ( 2016–17 ). The most successful so far has been The Ten Commandments , which achieved good ratings in Brazil, being later sold to more than twenty countries and made into a film as well. In this context, two different aspects of

in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium
Gérard Dastugue

. . . Economically speaking, people say to themselves that the artist is profitable, so they’re prepared to lend money so that the artist can make films. You’ve said in the past that you wanted to stop your career after you’d made ten films. Why ten? Because it’s a round figure! The Ten Commandments, Snow White and the Ten Dwarves [laughter]. . . In the Ten Commandments, since we’re speaking

in The films of Luc Besson
Mikel J. Koven

mythologically orientated Hollywood version of The Ten Commandments ( 1956 ). Such a shift reflects Scott’s own interest in more historically plausible filmmaking – Robin Hood ( 2010 ), Kingdom of Heaven ( 2005 ), Black Hawk Down ( 2001 ) and Gladiator ( 2000 ) – than in contributing to a mythological discourse. And yet, to completely demythologise Moses could run afoul of the Christian Right in the United States and thereby alienate a potentially major market for the film. In this respect, trying to balance both Scott’s desire for a demythologised Moses and not

in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium
Myra Seaman

. From the start, Ashmole 61 asserts the status-producing powers of its household object ecology. Its first eight texts act as a model household community, establishing methods of status affirmation for the entire collection to follow. St Eustace , Lydgate's Right as a Ram's Horn , How the Wise Man Taught His Son , How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter , Sir Isumbras , the Ten Commandments (adapted from the Speculum Christiani ), Lydgate's Stans Puer ad Mensam , and Dame Curtasy : these texts’ largely modern titles emphasise their human elements (a saint, a

in Objects of affection