Of The People
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This book, along with its companion volume, Democracy as the Political Empowerment of the Citizen, relates the democratic potential of the latest electronic technologies to the idea of direct-participatory democracy. Taking a critical look at the past and present theories of democracy, this volume clarifies the original meaning of the idea of democracy and explains the distortions it has suffered throughout its long history.
"The strongest man in the world is the one who stands most alone." The plot of Ibsen's play is relevant more than 125 years after its 1882 publication. Natural springs found in a little Norwegian village are about to put the town on the map until a physician outs a powerful area business that is poisoning the water. Unfortunately, the media is complicit with local government in suppressing the study and when the scientist himself offers to lecture no one will rent him a forum. In short, when the scientist bucks local interests he becomes a pariah to the lightly-educated and easily-manipulated majority in the town, "an enemy of the people." Handier than the free PDFs on the web, this you can hold, bookmark, highlight and shelve. An inexpensive imperative for any history-, economics-, or political- buff.
Judaism has long derived its identity from its sacred books. The book or scrollârather than the image or idolâhas been emblematic of Jewish faith and tradition. The People of the Book presents a study of a group of Orthodox Jews, all of whom live in the modern world, engaged in the time-honored practice of lernen, the repeated review and ritualized study of the sacred texts. In preserving one of the activities of Jewish life, Samuel C. Heilman argues, these are the genuine "People of the Book." For two years, Heilman participated in and observed five study circles in New York and Jerusalem engaged in the avocation of lernen the Talmud, the great corpus of Jewish law, lore, and tradition. These groups, made up of men who felt the ritualized study of sacred texts to be not only a religious obligation but also an appealing way to spend their evenings, weekends, and holidays, assembled together under the guidance of a teacher to review the holy books of their people. Having become part of this world, the author is able to provide first-hand observation of the workings of the study circle. Heilman's study moves beyond the merely descriptive into an analysis of the nature and meaning of activity he observed. To explain the character and appeal of the study groups, he employs three concepts: drama, fellowship, and religion. Inherent to the life of the study circle are various sorts of drama: "social dramas" playing out social relationships, "cultural performances" reenacting the Jewish world view, and "interactional dramas" and "word plays" involving the intricacies of the recitation and translation process. This book will be of interest to anthropologists and those interested in the academic study of religion.