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Index: Anthropology and Sociology

Social Sickness.

E.F. Benson: ‘For the base and foundation of national life is soundness in the home, and if the home be built of rotten and corrupt structure the time will not be long before, with a crash, the whole fabric totters and falls.’

A kind of hush.

Tom Lowenstein; ‘Brody’s agnostic mother presumably thus experienced an issue that was quintessentially Jewish. But that made it no less painful.’

Dionysus in diaspora.

Matt Hanson: ‘In generations past, the steps to Kehila Kedosha Janina were consecrated by the profound nostalgia of a people linked to their beloved city. In its synagogue, Greek- speaking Jews prayed for the land which had been synonymous with the community itself for a thousand years. For its descendants, whether religious or not, Kehila Kedosha Janina stands as a doorway of return, and more, as a spiritual mirror that reflects in each and every individual the significance of who came before them.’

Why is the sea salt?

Nigel Wheale: ‘Ian Crockatt has translated all thirty-eight of Rognvaldr’s surviving verses, which were preserved in the (textually complex) Orkneyinga saga. Rognvaldr may again have been profoundly innovative here, as one of the earliest Norse authors to have his vernacular work preserved in written form, rather than recited from generation to generation…

The Jinn of Failaka.

Martin Rosenstock: ‘After forty-five minutes on grey and choppy waters, I see the coastline and some low-slung buildings strung out along it. The harbor of Failaka appears to have silted up, for we anchor off the coast and a smaller boat comes alongside to ferry us to a make-shift pier of plastic pontoons. The air here is crisp with a touch of salt.’

God and His absence in China.

By ALAN MACFARLANE. I WAS BROUGHT up in a Christian household in the West. My uncle was devout and I went to religious camps as a boy where we were encouraged to ask Jesus into our hearts. Jesus seemed unenthusiastic about coming at my call, nevertheless I never really questioned my Christian faith through the […]

Fragment: Concepts of Time and the World We Live In.

Alan Macfarlane, on arranging books: If we are to understand these changing paradigms in the past, and the way they swing in the present, we should note that they seem to shadow political relations and the rate of economic progress. The general rule appears to be that in periods of rapid economic and technological growth, especially when this is linked to political dominance and expansion by a certain civilization, confidence rises and optimistic, ‘progressive’ and teleological theories dominate.