Writing comparative and transnational histories in twenty-first century Ireland

This blog accompanies the new special issue of Irish Historical Studies, Ireland and Finland, 1860–1930: Comparative and Transnational Histories. Just over twenty years ago, the central debate among Irish historians could be presented as one between two competing strands of conservatism.…


ASR Forum: Land Disputes and Displacement in Post-Conflict Africa. Questioning Boundaries and Belonging

Conflict-related displacement is increasingly central in shaping land claims, property relations, and modes of belonging in the African continent. In settings of forced mobility and resettlement, land property claims define the continued struggles over community membership and access to resources.…


“Paul’s Place in a First-Century Revival of the Discourse of ‘Equality’”

The discourse of “equality,” which originated in democratic Athens, revived in the first century CE, in response to growing inequality between the classes.  Symptomatic of the increase in inequality in the early Roman Empire were the numerous and widespread outbreaks of riots and uprisings in the cities of Greece and Asia Minor in the first and second centuries CE.  Among the thinkers who revisited the idea of “equality” in this period was Paul of Tarsus, who appealed to the principle of “equality” in order to encourage the Christ-believers at Corinth to contribute to a collection of money for the poor in Jerusalem.  This essay compares Paul’s concept of “equality” with those of seven contemporaries (Philo, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, Pseudo-Ecphantus, Diotogenes, Sthenidas, Pseudo-Arcytas).  Paul’s concept of “equality” is shown to be significantly more “democratic” that those of his contemporaries.  More importantly, Paul extends the principle of “equality” into the socio-economic sphere, making “equality” the goal of relations between those who enjoy “abundance” and those who suffer “lack.”  Paul’s extension of the principle of “equality” into the sphere of economic relations has virtually no precedent in the Greco-Roman world.  The source of Paul’s originality is sought in the egalitarian impulses that were at work in the earliest communities of Christ-believers, and finally in Paul’s own theology.…


“Space, Place, and the Race for Power: Rabbis, Demons, and the Construction of Babylonia”

Demons were an important part of Late Antique life across religious divides. This article explores how the authors of the Babylonian Talmud “think with” the demonic to produce meaningful rabbinic spaces.…


“Exegesis and Appropriation: Reading Rashi in Late Medieval Spain”

The Commentary on the Torah of Rashi (Solomon ben Isaac; 1040–1105) stands out as the most widely studied and influential Hebrew Bible commentary ever composed.…


“Finitude, Phenomenology, and Theology in Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit”

Heidegger’s descriptions of Dasein’s “finitude” (Endlichkeit) in Sein und Zeit are based on Dasein’s experience of thrownness and mortality, and not on theology and the relation to God, methodologically suspended early on in the treatise.…


Revenge served cold: Was Scott of the Antarctic sabotaged by his angry deputy?

On February 11, 1913, the world woke to the headline “Death of Captain Scott. Lost with four comrades. The Pole reached.…


Holocaust Scholarship and Politics in the Public Sphere: Reexamining the Causes, Consequences, and Controversy of the Historikerstreit and the Goldhagen Debate

Last year marked the anniversary of two of the most important scholarly debates about modern German history and the Holocaust: the so-called Historikerstreit (“historians’ quarrel”) that erupted thirty years ago in West Germany, as well as the lively debate sparked exactly a decade later by the publication in 1996 of Daniel J.…