From Time Immemorial
by Joan Peters
Jews and Words
by Amos Oz, Fania Oz-Salzberger
Why are words so important to so many Jews? Novelist Amos Oz and historian Fania Oz-Salzberger roam the gamut of Jewish history to explain the integral relationship of Jews and words. Through a blend of storytelling and scholarship, conversation and argument, father and daughter tell the tales behind Judaism’s most enduring names, adages, disputes, texts, and quips. These words, they argue, compose the chain connecting Abraham with the Jews of every subsequent generation.
Framing the discussion within such topics as continuity, women, timelessness, and individualism, Oz and Oz-Salzberger deftly engage Jewish personalities across the ages, from the unnamed, possibly female author of the Song of Songs through obscure Talmudists to contemporary writers. They suggest that Jewish continuity, even Jewish uniqueness, depends not on central places, monuments, heroic personalities, or rituals but rather on written words and an ongoing debate between the generations. Full of learning, lyricism, and humor, Jews and Words offers an extraordinary tour of the words at the heart of Jewish culture and extends a hand to the reader, any reader, to join the conversation.
Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
by Norman Finkelstein
This new edition critically reexamines dominant popular and scholarly images in the light of the current failures of the peace process.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Eleven Pictures of Time
by C K Raju
Time is a mystery that has perplexed humankind since time immemorial. Resolving this mystery is of significance not only to philosophers and physicists but is also a very practical concern. Our perception of time shapes our values and way of life; it also mediates the interaction between science and religion both of which rest fundamentally on assumptions about the nature of time.
C K Raju begins with a critical exposition of various time-beliefs, ranging from the earliest times through Augustine, Newton and Einstein to Stephen Hawking and current notions of chaos and time travel. He traces the role of organised religion in subverting time beliefs for its political ends. The book points out how this resulted in a facile dichotomy between ‘linear’ and ‘cyclic’ time, thereby inaugurating a confusion which, according to the author, has handicapped Western thought ever since, eventually influencing the content of science itself. Thus, this book daringly asserts that physical theory, traditionally regarded as amoral and objective, has depended on cultural beliefs about time.
The author points out that time beliefs are again being manipulated today as the credibility of science is being exploited to promote a picture of time and, hence, a pattern of human behaviour which is convenient to the agenda of globalisation of culture. The linkages between modern theology and this ‘brave new physics’ are traced against the wider context of the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’, and the attempts to remake the world order.
The conclusions point to the need to de-theologise time. The author challenges Einstein’s understanding of relativity theory and suggests that a ’tilt in the arrow of time’, or a small tendency towards cyclicity, will help repair the prevalent confusion about time. A ’tilt’ also enables a physics that permits both memory and creativity, so that purpose and spontaneous growth of order are returned to human life. The book ends with a vision of Man as Creator, surprising God.
Extensive research in physics, the history of science, comparative religions, and sociology lend weight to the important and challenging conclusions reached by the author. Written as a rejoinder to Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, this book goes much further and, unlike any previous book, it gives a critical exposition of various world religions-Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Jainism-while exploring their intricate links, through time beliefs, to current physics on the one hand, and to global political and economic trends, on the other. This book will appeal to scholars and laypersons equally. It will fascinate anyone who reads it and will teach its readers to question the unquestionable.
by Marcel Danesi
The image of restless, apathetic, mopish, awkward teenagers who listen to loud, screeching music when they are not on the phone, and who insist on dressing, wearing their hair, and behaving exactly like the friends they cannot seem to live without, has become a fixture of the modern social landscape.
The emergence of certain behaviours (facial expressions, linguistic styles, dress codes, musical preferences, etc.) on the developmental timetable of children is a sign that they have entered a transitional period. The dramatic changes in physical appearance that occur during adolescence, and the emotional changes that accompany them, are traumatic. Teenagers naturally become inordinately concerned about their appearance and behaviour, and they believe that everyone is constantly observing them. This is why they talk all the time about how others act, behave, and appear. Language, dress, musical tastes, and other symbolic systems become the concrete means for identifying with peers. Teenagerhood is a socially constructed time-frame that channels the physiological and emotional changes that occur at puberty into patterns of symbolic behavior. These patterns are then reinforced by the media.
This book represents both a synthesis of Marcel Danesi’s research on the semiotics of modern adolescence, and his own interpretation of the significance and implications of our teenage culture. It constitutes a semiotic portrait of the teenager and of the factors that have led to the construction of the teenage persona and culture.
Danesi makes a distinction between adolescence as psychobiological period of human growth and development and teenagerhood as a socially induced mindset that accompanies it. He focuses on the central behavioral trait of teenagerhood — coolness; he defines it and discusses its emergence at or around puberty, and draws up an ‘anatomy’ of the behaviors associated with it. He discusses the language of teenagers, which he calls ‘pubilect,’ and concludes with observations on the etiology, evolution, and future course of teenagerhood. Cool is intended not only for semioticians, as a documentation of a specific form of social semiosis, but also for parents and educators, and for teenagers themselves.