Similar to the Ultra-Orthodox Jews are their parallel-competitors in Israel, the right-wing nationalist Orthodox (known by the acronym Hardal), as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in the Sunni countries of the Middle East (e.g., Mitchell 1993; Kepel 2003), the Protestant Bible Believers Evangelists in the United States, Holland, and Germany (e.g., Ammerman 1997), and Catholic groups such as the Italian Communion e Liberazione (Zadra 1994). Continue reading The groups that unwavering endeavor to increase their religiosity→
Inter- and intra-religious competitions are recognized phenomena. Generally speaking, they are seen as antagonisms revolving around religious “truth,” monopolization of the claim to the original message, possession of the fundamentals (as well as struggles for control over sacred sites and offices.)
At times these conflicts escalate to Holy Wars, Religious Wars, Crusades. Jihad, etc. In our case, though, we are speaking of competition between partners who might share a religious doctrine, who do not necessarily have exegetical disagreements or overt rivalries over privileges and positions of prestige and authority. Continue reading Inter and Intra Religious Competitions→
The methodic examination of this rich reservoir of authentic materials offers an opportunity to advance our understanding of religious violence, its dynamics and implications. The present article illustrates the scientific potential of the sociological study of sacred texts. At the background of this and related research is the exposure and rereading of the Jewish religious legacy of violence – often dormant, at other times dominant – alongside a legacy oriented towards peace, moderation and accommodation.
The above two maintain intense dialectical relationship.
While my broader project is to trace the normative, moral and political aspects of zealotry, in this particular paper I am focusing on its cultic aspect, relating it to the issue of collective and bodily boundary management. Furthermore, I draw attention to the homology of the ideal-types of zealotry and priesthood conventionally considered polar opposites in many respects. I usually employ the elaborate corpus of our accumulated knowledge on priesthood as a means to help me solve the riddle of zealotry.
In this article I exploit some insights concerning zealotry to shed light on yet unidentified dimensions of priesthood. Among others, I suggest that priests might be seen as zealots in a golden cage. A positive feedback from Jewish Studies scholars encouraged me to carry-on my Jewish Sociology project.
The lecture discusses the Jewish case of religious violence. This by no means implies that Judaism is more (or less) violent than any other religion. In fact, we witness an impressive legacy of non-, or, anti-violence in Judaism.
However, I will rather focus on the dialectical relationship between religious tradition and violence in Jewish history and mythology, and in the contemporary Jewish world, particularly in the Jewish State. My argument regarding Jewish violence implies a general theoretical model of religious violence that can be applied in a comparative context.
This lecture offers a partial survey of the components of Jewish tradition relating to violence while analyzing and illustrating their development and influence along three Millennia from biblical times, through the middle ages and modernity to these very days.
I’ll analyze the various transformations that these violent motifs have undergone, their linkage to ever-changing social and cultural circumstances, their social-political roots and implications, and their relationship to other Jewish traditions.
I’ll trace how ancient motifs have emerged and been processed over time, and observe present day violent behavior in the light of ancient motifs. Along the way, I will explicate the dynamics that characterizes the Jewish violence tradition and its paradoxical natureby clicking here
My work on Super-Religiosity consists of two parts. The present essay which is theoretical and methodological in nature presents a thesis on radical religion and discusses the measures of religion. The next essay (Numen, forthcoming 2013) presents an empirical “case” to which the analytic model of Super-Religiosity is applied. The first essay may serve as a conceptual and analytic introduction to the second, while the latter one may serve as an illustration and test of the former.
The religious group at the empirical focus of the two essays is the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox in contemporary Israel, known as Haredim. More precisely, the work on Super-Religiosity depicts and analyzes the hard core of the Haredi society that manifests religious extremism. The discussion of the Haredi world is harnessed to the effort to deconstruct and reevaluate the prevalent concepts of tradition and fundamentalism, and suggest new perspective on scaling religiosity and on high-scale religiosity. Continue reading ON RELIGIOSITY AND SUPER RELIGIOSITY – Preface→
Anyone who has viewed footage of a suicide attack in Israel will have seen bizarre bearded men busily working at the center of the gruesome site. At a certain moment they turn their fluorescent safety vests inside out. Previously the orange side, emblazoned “medic” was on display. The reversed side is yellow and bears the word “Zaka”, a Hebrew acronym that stands for Identifying Disaster Victims.
Zaka is an organization of Jewish Ultra-Orthodox (haredi) volunteers that has gained a monopoly on managing the deaths of victims of terrorism in Israel. It operates a network of a few hundred well-trainee and well-equipped personnel throughout the country. These men can arrive at any terrorism site rapidly, offer first aid, and then turn to their central task—carrying for the bodies of the dead in strict obedience to Jewish religious (halakhic) ritual norms and in keeping with traditional Jewish respect for the dead. Continue reading Zaka’s Active Key Role In The Middle Eastern Suicide Terrorism Scene→
On Religiosity and Super Religiosity essay submits a thesis on radical religion, discusses the measures of religion and proposes the concept of Super-Religiosity. It will be followed by a second essay (in an upcoming issue of Numen, 4, 2013) that presents a contemporary “case” to which the analytic model of Super-Religiosity is applied.
Though the two essays systematically relate to each other and are complementary, they can be read independently of one another.
The theoretical core of the essay addresses the issue of the measurability of religiosity. It supports the recent claim that religion in general and religious extremism in particular, is not so much a matter of belief or experience but rather it is essentially a matter of performance of the self and the group. It then argues that advancing our understanding of religious extremism requires turning the spotlight from a performance oriented towards religion’s environment to religious inward-facing performance. Continue reading Gideon Aran: On Religiosity And Super Religiosity – Abstract→
The literature looks, on the one hand, at what preceded and ostensibly led to the attack (i.e. the HB’s psychological and social profile, his motivations and the organization’s ideology, the recruitment and indoctrination of the HB, the structure of the terrorist cell, the socioeconomic conditions that give rise to ST, the policies and military actions that elicit it, and the culture that embraces ST and praise the HB). Continue reading Prof. Gideon Aran – Academic Study And Precipitants Of Suicide Terrorism→