Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [XTalk] Honor and Shame question

Expand Messages
  • David B. Gowler
    ... I would agree that Herzfeld and Wikan offer critiques that should be considered (Wikan s argument that shame is not exactly the opposite of honor, in my
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 18, 2003
      >She states that biblical scholars have not listened to
      >voices within the field of Mediterranean studies that question the universal
      >applicability of the honor-shame matrix and the presence of any widespread
      >cultural continuity (e.g., M. Herzfeld on particularization and U. Wikan
      >against honor and shame as antonyms). Stiebert also joins those (e.g., D. L.
      >Cairnes) who criticize the assumption that cultures are either guilt-based
      >or shame-based.

      I would agree that Herzfeld and Wikan offer critiques that should be considered
      (Wikan's argument that shame is not exactly the opposite of honor, in my view,
      is correct). Frank Henderson Stuart's short book Honor also should be noted.
      One of the first critics of the "Mediterranean" as a "category" was Joao de
      Pina-Cabral, "The Mediterranean as a Category of Regional Comparison: A
      Critical View," Current Anthropology 30 (1989) 399-406. It is also clear, to
      me at least, that the "shame-based" (with no "introspective conscience") and
      "guilt-based" distinction is vastly oversimplified and often not helpful.

      I would argue that such "cultural scripts" have heuristic value, but are not
      useful at all if they become an interpretive matrix imposed on texts like a
      strait jacket. Any use of such cultural scripts, I think, should be based on a
      careful reading of primary texts. What I have found, since beginning this in
      the 1980's, was that issues such as honor, shame, purity/miasma, and so forth,
      are indeed critically important to ancient texts (ranging from Sophocles,
      Suetonius, Plutarch, Josephus, Chaereas and Callirhoe, the NT, etc.) but show
      differing manifestations. Malina, Neyrey, and others deserve great credit for
      at least bringing to the fore the problems of anachronism and ethnocentrism in
      our reading of the NT

      Good luck with your work.

      With every good wish,
      David

      ************************************************
      Dr. David B. Gowler
      Oxford College of Emory University
      Pierce Professor of Religion; Associate Professor
      http://www.emory.edu/OXFORD/pierceprogram/Pierce.html
      http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~dgowler/dbg.htm
      ************************************************
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.