medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

While moral relativism is in some ways comparable to historical relativism, there are important differences. Burning someone alive for heresy was an abhorrent practice, but we can hardly campaign against a practice that stopped centuries ago,  while a practice such as female genital mutilation (which some claim is ‘cultural’ and so should be allowed, and indeed is happening in this country) is clearly abhorrent and needs to be exposed and campaigned against. The misogyny of which it is, I presume, a manifestation is maybe more difficult to handle.
In an historical rather than cross-cultural context saying that the writings of a medieval man (such as the early Middle English work extolling the virtues of virginity Hali Maidenhead) are misogynistic, since they assume the subordinate and compliant role of the woman, is a ’so-what’ comment. Misogyny was the default position of society. The interesting question would be: is this more or less misogynistic than any other writing of the period? How is the misogyny constructed and is that in anyway unusual or interesting? How does it present female virginity and is that in any way empowering? In other words, we have to start from an understanding that our concept of misogyny is anachronistic - and that, maybe, is the tricky concept to convey to students. 

 
Cate Gunn
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On 31 Jul 2016, at 16:33, Karen Schousboe <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Dear Erica

I am not sure that I understand you: do you mean that we (or your students) should not be allowed to abhor despicable acts because they were condoned in the past (or for that matter are at present condoned in a "foreign country” - which we all know is the same?) I once (in the 90s) asked some budding anthropologists bent on being “politically correct” whether they would be able to do participant observation among paedophiles? Do you think I was wrong in asking this question? (they answered that they were willing)





On 31 Jul 2016, at 02:10, Erica Obey <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
 
Erica
 
Coming in October, The Lazarus Vector
 
From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of James Bugslag
Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2016 2:14 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [M-R] Presentism
 
medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 

From an art historical perspective, I tend to see "presentism" in terms of the dreg-ends of an out-moded modernism.  At the beginning of the 20th century, the Italian Futurists wanted to burn down all the museums to start afresh.  But although on a theoretical level, I believe that sort of radical idealism has been discredited, it appears to have sunk into broad social and institutional strata.  The problem is: how does one teach to students imbued with such an ideology that something that happened hundreds of years ago (or before yesterday, for that matter) is still both interesting and relevant.  It seems curious, as well, that students who can cast virulent scorn on the European Middle Ages can also get enthusiastic about Islamic or east Asian traditions, as if other people's pasts are okay, but not their own.
Jim


From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Sue Ridyard [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: July 30, 2016 11:13 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [M-R] Readable version of Augustine's confessions

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture I'm a little puzzled by the fact that this sub-thread seems to have started with a quotation from my note describing the significance of "presentist" to someone who asked.  
My original post explained as follows:  It's pretty well-established. Carries the implication that whoever is being "presentist" sees the world from an almost solely contemporary perspective -- I encounter it often, for instance, in reading the Rule of St Benedict and seeing students outraged over the fact that Benedict can think it perfectly reasonable to beat boys who fail in some respect, something that would never enter my head as someone raised in the 70s. Also of course in teaching women's history one endlessly encounters outrage at the limited choices and power available to women. The theme is always: what we do now is the best, and if it hasn't always been this way it should have been. For a Brit teaching in the US, presentist attitudes are complicated by the "what America does is best" syndrome.
 
What I meant by the last sentence is the tendency  I see among my students to add the belief that "what WE do is best" to the presentist "what we do NOW is best". I didn't think I needed to include further explanation, but I was referring to the ingrained nature of ideas such as "separation of church and state is best" (unshakable even after a whole semester studying religion and power in the pre-modern world) or, of course, only democracy is a "good" political system. I hasten to add that I don't teach using concepts of "good," "bad" etc.; these are simply ingrained attitudes that I've encountered over a 20+ teaching career in the US and which complicate especially the study of the pre-modern world.
 
Sue
 
 
 
On Jul 30, 2016, at 9:30 AM, Greeley, Prof. June-Ann T. wrote:


medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
Why has this become so snarky and bitter?  
Please leave your politics (and hostilities) to your private communications with each other. It is so unprofessional and unnecessary.
 
 
 
June-Ann 
 

From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Anne Willis [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2016 5:00 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [M-R] Readable version of Augustine's confessions

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
There are two answers to this one.
 
The Canadian response ‘it must be tough living next to the greatest country in the world, but somehow the Americans seem to manage’.  
 
Or the rather more succinct phrase ‘gun laws?’
 
 
Anne
 

From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sue Ridyard

For a Brit teaching in the US, presentist attitudes are complicated by the "what America does is best" syndrome.
 
Sue
 
 
 
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