Beneath the Veil of the Strange Verses: Reading Scandalous Texts

MSU Press
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Jeremiah Alberg’s fascinating book explores a phenomenon almost every news reader has experienced: the curious tendency to skim over dispatches from war zones, political battlefields, and economic centers, only to be drawn in by headlines announcing a late-breaking scandal. Rationally we would agree that the former are of more significance and importance, but they do not pique our curiosity in quite the same way. The affective reaction to scandal is one both of interest and of embarrassment or anger at the interest. The reader is at the same time attracted to and repulsed by it. Beneath the Veil of the Strange Verses describes the roots out of which this conflicted desire grows, and it explores how this desire mirrors the violence that undergirds the scandal itself. The book shows how readers seem to be confronted with a stark choice: either turn away from scandal completely or become enthralled and thus trapped by it. Using examples from philosophy, literature, and the Bible, Alberg leads the reader on a road out of this false dichotomy. By its nature, the author argues, scandal is the basis of our reading; it is the source of the obstacles that prevent us from understanding what we read, and of the bridges that lead to a deeper grasp of the truth.
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About the author

Jeremiah L. Alberg is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at International Christian University in Tokyo. He is Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Executive Secretary of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COV&R).
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Additional Information

Publisher
MSU Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 2013
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Pages
160
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ISBN
9781609173647
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / General
Philosophy / Religious
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The thought of René Girard on violence, sacrifice, and mimetic theory has exerted a strong influence on Japanese scholars as well as around the world. In this collection of essays, originating from a Tokyo conference on violence and religion, scholars call on Girardian ideas to address apocalyptic events that have marked Japan's recent history as well as other aspects of, primarily, Japanese literature and culture. Girard's theological notion of apocalypse resonates strongly with those grappling with the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as events such as the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In its focus on Girard and devastating violence, the contributors raise issues of promise and peril for us all.

The essays in Part I of the volume are primarily rooted in the events of World War II. The contributors employ mimetic theory to respond to the use of nuclear weapons and the threat of absolute destruction. Essays in Part II cover a wide range of topics in Japanese cultural history from the viewpoint of mimetic theory, ranging from classic and modern Japanese literature to anime. Essays in Part III address theological questions and mimetic theory, especially from a Judeo-Christian perspective.

Contributors: Jeremiah L. Alberg, Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Yoko Irie Fayolle, Eric Gans, Sandor Goodhart, Shoichiro Iwakari, Mizuho Kawasaki, Kunio Nakahata, Andreas Oberprantacher, Mery Rodriguez, Thomas Ryba, Richard Schenk, OP, Roberto Solarte, Matthew Taylor, and Anthony D. Traylor.

In order to come to your senses, Alan Watts often said, you sometimes need to go out of your mind. Perhaps more than any other teacher in the West, this celebrated author, former Anglican priest, and self-described spiritual entertainer was responsible for igniting the passion of countless wisdom seekers to the spiritual and philosophical delights of India, China, and Japan.
 
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