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Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism
In the second century, Platonist and Judeo-Christian thought were sufficiently friendly that a Greek philosopher could declare, "What is Plato but Moses speaking Greek?" Four hundred years later, a Christian emperor had ended the public teaching of subversive Platonic thought. When and how did this philosophical rupture occur? Dylan M. Burns argues that the fundamental break occurred in Rome, ca. 263, in the circle of the great mystic Plotinus, author of the Enneads. Groups of controversial Christian metaphysicians called Gnostics ("knowers") frequented his seminars, disputed his views, and then disappeared from the history of philosophy—until the 1945 discovery, at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, of codices containing Gnostic literature, including versions of the books circulated by Plotinus's Christian opponents. Blending state-of-the-art Greek metaphysics and ecstatic Jewish mysticism, these texts describe techniques for entering celestial realms, participating in the angelic liturgy, confronting the transcendent God, and even becoming a divine being oneself. They also describe the revelation of an alien God to his elect, a race of "foreigners" under the protection of the patriarch Seth, whose interventions will ultimately culminate in the end of the world.
Apocalypse of the Alien God proposes a radical interpretation of these long-lost apocalypses, placing them firmly in the context of Judeo-Christian authorship rather than ascribing them to a pagan offshoot of Gnosticism. According to Burns, this Sethian literature emerged along the fault lines between Judaism and Christianity, drew on traditions known to scholars from the Dead Sea Scrolls and Enochic texts, and ultimately catalyzed the rivalry of Platonism with Christianity. Plunging the reader into the culture wars and classrooms of the high Empire, Apocalypse of the Alien God offers the most concrete social and historical description available of any group of Gnostic Christians as it explores the intersections of ancient Judaism, Christianity, Hellenism, myth, and philosophy.
A Complete Reference Guide
From the Delaware River to the shores of Lake Erie, Pennsylvania's diverse watery habitats are home to more than 200 species of aquatic plants. In Aquatic Plants of Pennsylvania: A Complete Reference Guide, botanists Timothy A. Block and Ann Fowler Rhoads have assembled the first identification guide specific to the Keystone State yet useful throughout the Mid Atlantic region. Organized and written in a way that will make information easily accessible to specialists and nonspecialists alike, the book highlights the diversity and vital ecological importance of this group of plants, providing photographs, illustrations, descriptions, and identification keys for all emergent, floating-leaved, and submergent aquatic plants found in the Commonwealth.
An introductory chapter on aquatic plant ecology covers topics such as evolution, form, and reproduction of aquatic plants, vegetation zones, types of aquatic ecosystems, and rare and endangered species. Information on invasive plants, such as Eurasian water-milfoil and curly pondweed, that threaten Pennsylvania's aquatic ecosystems will be especially useful to watershed organizations, citizen monitoring projects, lake managers, and natural resource agency personnel. An illustrated identification key guides the reader through a series of steps to properly identify a specimen based on its characteristics. Each of the more than 200 listings provides a plant's taxonomy, detailed description, distribution map, and expert botanical illustrations. Many also include color photographs of the plants in their natural habitats.
A Forgotten Heritage
Arabic culture was a central and shaping phenomenon in medieval Europe, yet its influence on medieval literature has been ignored or marginalized for the last two centuries. In this ground-breaking book, now returned to print with a new afterword by the author, María Rosa Menocal argues that major modifications of the medieval canon and its literary history are necessary.
Menocal reviews the Arabic cultural presence in a variety of key settings, including the courts of William of Aquitaine and Frederick II, the universities in London, Paris, and Bologna, and Cluny under Peter the Venerable, and she examines how our perception of specific texts including the courtly love lyric and the works of Dante and Boccaccio would be altered by an acknowledgment of the Arabic cultural component.
Recent Work At Gordion
This book is a succinct and readable account of recent research at Gordion, the ancient capital of Phrygia, long one of the key sites for understanding Iron Age Anatolia. The regional survey at Gordion has involved a range of interdisciplinary studies—archaeological, environmental, and ethnoarchaeological—to produce an unusually comprehensive understanding of how the landscape evolved, the patterns of settlement during the rise and fall of the Phrygian state, and its environmental constraints.
With a history of excavation of over a century, Gordion has yielded a vast store of material culture, some of which is spectacular. The Midas tumulus, the architecture of the Phrygian citadel, and the artifacts from several decades of excavations present unique challenges and solutions for conservation methodology. Analyses of these artifacts are providing new insights into the political and economic relationships of this region, particularly from the Early Iron Age to the Roman period. Presenting current work at Gordion contributes to the broader understanding of archaeology across the region and around the world.
Gordion Special Studies 7
Some of the most dramatic new discoveries in Asia Minor have been made at Gordion, the Phrygian capital that controlled much of central Asia Minor for close to two centuries. The most famous ruler of the kingdom was Midas, who regularly negotiated with Greeks in the west and Assyrians in the east during his reign. Excavations have been conducted at Gordion over the course of the last 60 years, all under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
In spite of the economic and political importance of Gordion and the Phrygians, the site is consistently omitted from courses in Old World archaeology, primarily because Gordion lies too far to the west for many Near Eastern archaeologists, and too far to the east for classical archaeologists. Moreover, there is no book that offers a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the material culture of Gordion during the Phrygian period, a gap that will be filled by this volume. The chapters cover all aspects of Gordion's Phrygian settlement topography from the arrival of the Phrygians in the tenth century B.C. through the arrival of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C., focusing on the site's changing topography and the consistently fluctuating interaction between the inhabitants and the landscape. A reexamination of the material culture of Phrygian Gordion is particularly timely, given the dramatic recent changes in the site's chronology, wherein the dates of many discoveries have changed by as much as a century. The authors are among the leading experts in Near Eastern archaeology, historic preservation, paleobotany, and ancient furniture, and their articles highlight the interdisciplinary nature of the Gordion project. A significant component of the book is a new color phase plan of the site that succinctly presents the topography in diachronic perspective.
Europe, America, and the Iraq War
The commencement of war in Iraq in 2003 was met with a variety of reactions around the globe. In Architects of Delusion, Simon Serfaty presents a historical analysis of how and why the decision to wage war was endorsed by some of America's main European allies, especially Britain, and opposed by others, especially France and Germany.
Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Jacques Chirac, and Gerhard Schroeder were, Serfaty argues, the architects of one of the most serious crises in postwar transatlantic relations. These four heads of state were the victims not only of their personal delusions but also of those of the nations they led. They all played the hand that their countries had dealt them—the forceful hand of a righteous America, the principled acquiescence of a faithful Britain, the determined intransigence of a quarrelsome France, and the ambiguous "new way" of a recast Germany.
Serfaty's deft interweaving of the political histories and cultures of the four countries and the personalities of their leaders transcends the Europe-bashing debate sparked by the Iraq invasion. He contends that not one of these four leaders was entirely right or entirely wrong in his approach to the others or to the issues, before and during the war. For the resulting wounds to heal, though, and for the continuity of transatlantic relations, he reminds us that the United States and France must end their estrangement, France and Britain must resolve their differences, Germany must carry its weight relative to both France and Britain, and the United States must exert the same visionary leadership for the twenty-first century that it showed during its rise to preeminence in the twentieth century.
The phrase "Pennsylvania German architecture" likely conjures images of either the "continental" three-room house with its huge hearth and five-plate stoves, or the huge Pennsylvania bank barn with its projecting overshoot. These and other trademarks of Pennsylvania German architecture have prompted great interest among a wide audience, from tourists and genealogists to architectural historians, antiquarians, and folklorists. Since the nineteenth century, scholars have engaged in field measurement and drawing, photographic documentation, and careful observation, resulting in a scholarly conversation about Pennsylvania German building traditions. What cultural patterns were being expressed in these buildings? How did shifting social, technological, and economic forces shape architectural changes? Since those early forays, our understanding has moved well beyond the three-room house and the forebay barn.
In Architecture and Landscape of the Pennsylvania Germans, 1720-1920, eight essays by leading scholars and preservation professionals not only describe important architectural sites but also offer original interpretive insights that will help advance understanding of Pennsylvania German culture and history. Pennsylvania Germans' lives are traced through their houses, barns, outbuildings, commercial buildings, churches, and landscapes. The essays bring to bear years of field observation as well as engagement with current scholarly perspectives on issues such as the nature of "ethnicity," the social construction of landscape, and recent historiography about the Pennsylvania Germans. Dozens of original measured drawings, appearing here for the first time in print, document important works of Pennsylvania German architecture, including the iconic Bertolet barns in Berks County, the Martin Brandt farm complex in Cumberland County, a nineteenth-century Pennsylvania German housemill, and urban houses in Lancaster.
Literature and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century
American historians have typically argued that a shared experience of time worked to bind the antebellum nation together. Trains, technology, and expanding market forces catapulted the United States into the future on a straight line of progressive time. The nation's exceedingly diverse population could cluster around this common temporality as one forward-looking people.
In a bold revision of this narrative, Archives of American Time examines American literature's figures and forms to disclose the competing temporalities that in fact defined the antebellum period. Through discussions that link literature's essential qualities to social theories of modernity, Lloyd Pratt asserts that the competition between these varied temporalities forestalled the consolidation of national and racial identity. Paying close attention to the relationship between literary genre and theories of nationalism, race, and regionalism, Archives of American Time shows how the fine details of literary genres tell against the notion that they helped to create national, racial, or regional communities. Its chapters focus on images of invasive forms of print culture, the American historical romance, African American life writing, and Southwestern humor. Each in turn revises our sense of how these images and genres work in such a way as to reconnect them to a broad literary and social history of modernity. At precisely the moment when American authors began self-consciously to quest after a future in which national and racial identity would reign triumphant over all, their writing turned out to restructure time in a way that began foreclosing on that particular future.
Were aristocratic women in medieval France little more than appendages to patrilineal families, valued as objects of exchange and necessary only for the production of male heirs? Such was the view proposed by the great French historian Georges Duby more than three decades ago and still widely accepted. In Aristocratic Women in Medieval France another model is put forth: women of the landholding elite—from countesses down to the wives of ordinary knights—had considerable rights, and exercised surprising power.
The authors of the volume offer five case studies of women from the mid-eleventh through the thirteenth centuries, and from regions as diverse as Blois-Chartres, Champagne, Flanders, and Occitania. They show not only the diversity of life experiences these women enjoyed but the range of social and political roles open to them. The ecclesiastical and secular sources they mine confirm that women were regarded as full members of both their natal and affinal families, were never excluded from inheriting and controlling property, and did not have their share of family property limited to dowries. Women across France exchanged oaths for fiefs and assumed responsibilities for enfeoffed knights. As feudal lords, they settled disputes involving vassals, fortified castles, and even led troops into battle.
Aristocratic Women in Medieval France clearly shows that it is no longer possible to depict well-born women as powerless in medieval society. Demonstrating the importance of aristocratic women in a period during which they have been too long assumed to have lacked influence, it forces us to reframe our understanding of the high Middle Ages.