Anthropology Category

Where I postulate freely that Mary Magdalene was both the disciple Jesus loved, and possibly the true author of the gospel of John. This is a paper from a truly exciting class on History and Literature of the New Testament, taught in 1993 by the amazing prof's Buck and Luotto — thank you both so […]

When I was a child… On the other hand, there were a few things I found perplexing, although it's possible I found them so due to their being anachronistic (they are quite google-able for the curious, I may add). For example, who is Farinata? Why or how did Rousseau first reveal the supposedly "very human" […]

Originally posted July 2005 To the librarians whose names I can't remember now, who happily helped a small child find and devour each eagerly awaited, newly arrived Narnia book. Also to the tiny handful of wonderful, thought-provoking, and truly religious people who recommended this book to me. It took a while for me to get […]

4. Marriage should be just for child-rearing My first thought at assertions like this is: "Why?" Kids don't care if there's a piece of paper holding their family together — and that piece of paper has proven notoriously incapable of doing so anyway. However, let's work through this theory rationally. If marriage is just for […]

D) What is civilization supported by? The common thread running through all the societies we've looked at so far is quite clear on this. For them, the so-called "cornerstone of civilization" is emphatically not one man-one woman marriage. What is the fundamental assumption of civilization, the underlying principle holding it all together for these societies? […]

Originality in the early US So, on to the United States of America, where we finally get to hear more from women, although they're still mostly all White and upper class. When John Adams was helping to draw up the Constitution of the US in 1777, his wife Abigail wrote, Do not put such unlimited […]

Christianity's copy So where to next in this quick historical scan of cultural attitudes towards marriage? We turn now to Christianity. For once, women are not treated as disposable breeders; Jesus plainly states a man divorcing his wife is not acceptable. Nothing about marriage as a cornerstone of civilization, of course — just an admonition […]

C) What is marriage? Why marry? Marriage is "the chief vehicle for the perpetuation of the oppression of women; it is through the role of wife that that subjugation of women is maintained." — Marlene Dixon That's a quick review of the historical concept of Woman. So how was marriage viewed? If it's the cornerstone […]

B) What is Woman? So, keeping that in mind, let's examine the next stumbling block we find when reviewing the possible cornerstones of past civilizations: the passage of time. We're talking here about approximately three millennia of cultural changes. Even within one particular culture there is a huge amount of change, as can be shown […]

3. 'One male-one female' marriage is the historical cornerstone of civilization Uhm, again, no. We're a far, far more imaginative and flexible species than this argument would imply. However, for the sake of fun discussion let's take a look at the civilizations from which the US classically traces its inspiration. I do this for two […]

Bestiaries depict mythical, moralizing animals, but are also potential allegorical sparks that can bloom into brilliant mental bonfires. My bestiary is this mythologizing animal's fascinated exploration of beauty & meaning in the wonder of existence -- in the hopes of inspiring yet more joyous flares of intellectual passion.

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