Lecture Today Question for our in-class quiz



Download 76.69 Kb.
Date25.04.2016
Size76.69 Kb.
  1. Lecture Today

  2. Question for our in-class quiz

  3. Some left over comments about Confucianism

  4. Reading on Confucianism

  5. Background to Judaism

  6. Reading on Judaism

Question for our in-class quiz

  1. What is the relationship between the Taoist moral ideal of wu-wei and the female gender stereotype of dynastic China?

  2. Alternatively, how does the Taoism of the Tao Te Ching use the female gender stereotypes of dynastic China to talk of the good, or moral, life?

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. Remember that, like Taoism, Confucianism arose out of a time of political upheaval in China. This upheaval, and the human suffering it caused, inspired early Confucians to offer suggestions of how to achieve a life, or for rulers to govern their populace in ways conducive to pursuing lives, free from strife and instability.

  2. It also deeply imbedded this concern in later Confucian, and then in Neo-Confucian, thought.

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. Confucius’ thought is often characterized as humanist. Fundamentally this characterization arises out of Confucius’ insistence that the source of our values should be sought in ourselves (more specifically, our human nature).

  2. The values that we ought to acquire, the prescriptions which ought to inform our actions, are those which aid in achieving our full moral potential.

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. It is important to recognize that Confucius thought is primarily ethical in nature…having to do with cultivating the morally Ideal character (he also deals with how rulers or government administrators ought to conduct themselves, with a particular aim to encourage the populace to live morally through their example).

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. The superior person/gentleman (or Zhunzi) of Confucianism embodies jen.

  2. Though not properly defined in the work of Confucius, jen is variously translated as ‘human nature’, human heartedness’, ‘love (for all humankind)’, ‘compassion’, ‘altruism’.

  3. Three important elements in cultivating jen, are Hsiao, Li, and Yi.

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. “Being good as a son and obedient as a young man is, perhaps, the root of a man’s character” Analects I:2.

  2. Hsiao is often translated ‘filial piety’ or ‘filial love’. First an individual ought to show proper love, care and respect for his immediate family. As an individual progresses morally, Hsiao is extended to include his greater family, community, and so on until it includes all humankind.

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. Li has three basic meanings, all of which inform how the term is used by Confucius.

  2. Li can be used to refer to the (rules governing the) religious rites associated with the worship of deities or ancestor veneration that characterized traditional Chinese religion. This understanding of Li represents its earliest usage.

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. Li can also used to refer to common moral prescriptions.

  2. Lastly, Li can be used to refer to anything which conforms to Jen. This more general use of the term captures rules of etiquette as well as rules of right conduct.

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. Jen is the standard to which putative examples of Li are held. If a rule or maxim is to properly count as an example of Li it must conduce to Jen.

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. Yi is typically translated ‘righteousness’, an can have at least two connotations.

  2. (1) In the pursuit of self-cultivation, an individual ought to act with Yi. This would mean acting in accord with li for no other reason than that it is right to do so (or it is one’s duty to do so).

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. Under this usage, Yi refers to the moral quality of an individual’s actions. If you act in accord with li, but for the wrong reasons (i.e. it is expedient, or beneficial), your action lacks moral worth (or Yi).

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. (2) As an individual cultivates her moral potential, she develops moral character. Acting from this character she is motivated by the rightness of an action, rather than its consequential value(s).

Some left over comments about Confucianism

  1. Historically, there has been a deeply held belief in Chinese culture that everything has a proper place and function…including the individual. This belief informed the hierarchical societies characteristic of dynastic China.

  2. The reverence accorded one’s ancestors was a reflection of, and contributed to, such a stratification of society.

Reading on Confucianism

  1. Theresa Kelleher’s essay is focused primarily on the picture of the ideal Confucian woman presented in certain key historical Confucian and Neo-Confucian texts (see pages 135-36).

  2. She also takes at face value the justificatory framework for the way in which human society is arranged according to Confucius, namely, the order revealed in the cosmos (page 136).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. It is important to note, in passing, that though Confucius himself did indeed speak of the cosmic order, and talk of his philosophy as exemplifying the ‘Way of Heaven’, it is difficult to interpret the significance of such references. This has lead to some disagreement among scholars about Confucius own religious beliefs, and how he understood the philosophy he proffered.

Reading on Confucianism

  1. A respectable, though by no means uncontentious, interpretation of these references is to see them as a respectful adoption of the terminology of traditional Chinese religion as practiced in the Early Zhou Dynasty (1027-771 B.C.E)...which for Confucius was a ‘golden age’ for Chinese society.

  2. At any rate, an appeal to the cosmic order as perceived in the relationship of Heaven and Earth carries a great deal of weight in justifying philosophical arguments which deal with proper human action or behavior.

Reading on Confucianism

  1. There are, then, two related orders in Confucianism: the cosmic order of Heaven and Earth, and the human order of the family and the State. The human order ought to imitate the cosmic order. There were three particularly important qualities of the cosmic order.

  2. The cosmic order is (1) fundamentally live-giving/sustaining, (2) relational and (3) harmonious (pages 136-37).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. (1), or the live-giving/sustaining quality of the cosmic order, is dependent on the proper relationship of Heaven and Earth, or (2). The efficiency of the relationship is predicated on each following its proper role harmoniously, or (3). Heaven, as the superior ‘body’, is active or creative, while Earth, as the inferior ‘body’, is passive or receptive (pages 136-37). (Note this is a way of talking of Yang and Yin [page 140].)

Reading on Confucianism

  1. The worshipful or respectful attitude directed towards one’s parents and ancestors is, for Kelleher, explained through the life-giving/sustaining capacity of parenthood (page 137).

  2. This also leads to the centrality of marriage in Confucian life, in particular to procreation within the family unit.

  3. The importance of continuing the family line is also connected to ensuring the proper ‘care’ of the family ancestors.

Reading on Confucianism

  1. The importance of relationships in the human order is broken down into the Five Cardinal Relationships: (1) Husband and wife, (2) parent and child, (3) older and younger sibling, (4) ruler and subject and (5) friend and friend (pages 137-38).

  2. For (1) through (4) the husband, parent, older sibling and ruler enjoy the superior place, or authority, in the relationship (page 138).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. Harmonious relationships in the human order are governed by acting in accord with Li (page 139). “Here ritual included not just the more overtly religious ceremonials associated with coming-of-age ceremonies, weddings, funerals, an ancestral sacrifices ... but also what Westerners would put in the category of comportment and good manners” (page 139).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. According, then, to the traditional Confucian outlook a woman “was to be yielding and weak, passive and still like the earth. It was left for men to be active and strong, to be initiators like Heaven” (page 140).

  2. This profoundly informs the perceived duties of husband and wife, daughter-in-law to her husband’s family, and even mother to children (see pages 141-154).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. “[T]he husband must be strong, firm , and dominant like Heaven, and the wife must be weak, pliant, and subservient like earth. The husband’s duty is to superintend or manage the wife, the wife’s duty is to serve her husband” (page 145).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. “In dealing with all of them [i.e. her in-laws], she [Pan Chao] recommends a heavy dose of modesty and acquiescence, as well as skillfulness in pleasing them all” (page 146).

  2. The mother is responsible for getting up early enough to prepare the meals, maintain the cleanliness of the house and family (including the children), and keep them properly clothed (page 149).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. The Confucian woman’s sphere was the family, her skills to be evinced by her ability to run an efficient household (and maintain her husband’s approval) (pages 140-41).

  2. Even in later Confucian thought, where some of the archetypes of good/upright women were skillful in politics or in encouraging moral behavior form their husbands or sons, these good Confucian women achieved their ends through passive manipulation...remaining behind the scenes, as it were (pages 150-54).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. Proper womanly character, for the traditional Confucian, consists of four primary virtues: womanly virtue, speech, comportment and work (page 141).

  2. Womanly virtue involves “being pure and chaste, quiet and reserved, and acting with a sense of honor an integrity in all things” (page 146).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. Womanly speech involved “talking only when [it is] appropriate, not maligning or abusing others in ones talk, and not wearying others with too much talk” (page 146).

  2. Womanly comportment “focuses entirely on personal cleanliness” (page 146).

  3. Womanly work involved what we might christen domestic efficiency (e.g. skill in sewing and weaving, preparation of food for guests) (page 146).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. With the rise of Neo-Confucianism you see a more concerted effort to control female sexuality and codify the subjugation of women to men.

  2. This is, at least partially, explained by the revitalization of Confucianism in the face of the success of Buddhism after the collapse of the Han dynasty (c. 220 C.E.) (see page 154).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. Neo-Confucianism adopts a more general philosophical framework than is present in much of traditional Confucianism.

  2. Their concern for self-discipline leads to a greater emphasis than previously existed in Confucianism on the control of the emotions or passions (page 155). This leads to a not unpredictable emphasis on female chastity, and also warnings about the seductive power of female sexuality (pages 155-157).

Reading on Confucianism

  1. It is important to see that these changes in Neo-Confucianism are an intensification of focus on these areas of a woman’s life rather than something completely new.

  2. Remember that Kelleher has already mentioned the extent to which the good woman/wife will go to protect her chastity in the received Confucian texts (see pages 152-53).

  3. She has also alluded earlier to the Confucian view of the seductive power of female sexuality (see pages 151-52).

Judaism

  1. A word of caution. My familiarity with Judaism is not as good as my familiarity with many, though not all, of the Asian traditions we have already examined.

  2. As with, I suspect, a number of you, my understanding of Biblical or Classical Judaism is informed by my Christian background, and its reading of classical Judaism (which is by no means neutral).

Judaism

  1. With this in mind, please don’t hesitate to add to our discussion if you have first hand experience with Judaic practice.

Background to Judaism

  1. Judaism can be, and is often, discussed historically. Scholars tend to divide its history into such broad periods as: Biblical or Classical Judaism, Rabbinical or Talmudic Judaism and Modern or Contemporary Judaism (see p.183).

Background to Judaism

  1. Biblical or Classical Judaism covers the period through which the scriptural canon known as the Tanakh (what Christians know as the ‘Old Testament’) developed.

Background to Judaism

  1. As the canon was not officially settled until 99 C.E. this can mark the end of the Classical period. Carmody sees it as ending in or around 200 B.C.E. (see p.183). This is one possible date for what are taken to be the most recent passages within the Tanakh.

  2. At any rate, it is sometimes taken to include the whole period when there is an active ‘Temple cult’ (we may date the end of this period to the later half of the First Century C.E.).

An aside on the term ‘Tanakh’

  1. The word ‘Tanakh’ refers to the three divisions of the scriptural canon: the Torah (or Mosaic Law), The Prophets (this includes all the writing prophets), and the Writings (which includes the sacred history, poetry and wisdom literature).

  2. The Tanakh is the highest scriptural authority with Judaism. Traditionally, it is viewed as Divinely inspired.

A cautionary note

  1. How the Classical period will be understood, and how the scriptural canon’s development is presented, will reflect, in some respects, the philosophical or literary framework of the scholars in question.

A cautionary note

  1. For those from a more strictly modernist perspective, who are philosophically ill-disposed to talk of miracles, prophecy and revelation, the prophetic literature tends to be dated later than the events that are prophesied.

A cautionary note

  1. When texts indicate an age that predate such events, the content of these texts is often scrutinized in the hopes of finding evidence that they may have been authored by individuals at different periods in the historical development of Judaism. Thus Carmody talks of three authors of the book of Isaiah (see p.189).

A cautionary note

  1. Philosophical sensibilities can also reflect how the other non-prophetic books are dated.

  2. If you start with the view that misogyny or sexism within Classical Judaism arose over time (see p.194), then misogynist or sexist passages from books traditionally given an early date need to be placed in the ‘proper’ historical period.

A cautionary note

  1. Thus you have Carmody talk of the priestly influences in the Torah (pp. 192 and 195), the lateness of the Wisdom literature (p.186), and the lateness of the authorship of certain sections of the Prophets or Writings (p.189).

Background to Judaism

  1. Rabbinical Judaism tends to pick out Judaic Tradition from the end of the Jewish revolt of the early to mid 130s C.E. to sometime in the Nineteenth Century. This is taken to roughly correspond to the rise in importance of rabbinical authority within Judaism.

  2. Modern or Contemporary Judaism refers to the Judaic Tradition as it has developed since the end of the Rabbinical period.

Background to Judaism

  1. In Contemporary or Modern Judaism we have three basic expressions of the Judaic Tradition in the West: Reform, Orthodox and Conservative Judaism.

  2. All three emerged in the Nineteenth Century.

Background to Judaism

  1. Reform Judaism represents a rejection of Talmudic Judaism: a rejection of some of its rituals, some of its legalism and the status of the Talmud.

  2. Orthodox Judaism reacted to this move on the part of the Reform movement.

  3. Conservative Judaism can be understood as seeking a middle way between the two other expressions of Judaism, seeking reform but within the boundaries of reform or innovation recognized within, the then, traditional.

Background to Judaism

  1. Central to the teachings of Judaism is the need for reconciliation between humanity and God, and the special status of the chosen people in human history (for Gentiles this status will include Israel, qua the chosen people of God, being a vehicle for God’s revelation to general humanity).

Background to Judaism

  1. The sacred story of Abraham’s life in the book of Genesis nicely combines both of these themes.

  2. Throughout his adult life Abraham evinces his commitment to God in various ways. One famous example of this being his willingness to give up his firstborn son, Isaac, because God required Isaac’s sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-19).

  3. It is because of his faithfulness to God that he is given a twofold promise of a land for his many descendents (Genesis 17:1-12; 22:17-18).

Background to Judaism

  1. The reconciliation of humanity with God is to be found in living according to the will of God as revealed in the Torah.

Carmody on Judaism

  1. Do note the tension within Carmody’s paper. On the one hand, Carmody does not want to deny that you can find sexist, and even misogynist, teachings or themes within orthodox Judaism. On the other hand, she does want to distance herself from a blanket or all-encompassing treatment of, particularly, the Tanakh as generally sexist or misogynist.

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. The nature of the covenant with Abraham, and then with the children of Israel at Sinai, is that God would be the Deity of Abraham’s descendants through Isaac, and his descendants would be faithful to God alone.

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, were you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8, NIV)

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6a, NIV).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. This “covenantal monotheism” (p.183), with its emphasis on a relationship between the Divine and generations of descendants from Isaac, gave rise to an emphasis on “procreation and family life” (pp.183-84) within Biblical Judaism. “As a result, the prime raison d’être of the Jewish woman throughout history has been motherhood” (p.184).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. Carmody presents the following as evidence of the control of female sexuality, a control motivated by concern for stable family life and reliable lines of descent:

  2. (1) Women were prevented from achieving “cultic prominence” (p.184). This manifested itself in the exclusion of women from the priesthood, and also in the scriptural condemnation of indigenous fertility religions (p.184).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. (2) Israelite girls married early to ensure their chastity. To not be chaste was a violation of her father’s property rights, to be adulterous was a violation of her husband’s property rights (p.184).

  2. (3) Women thought guilty of adultery could be tried by ordeal (pp.184-85). The same was note true for husbands (p.185).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. In saying this, Carmody tries to balance this negative treatment of women in Biblical Judaism with examples of more positive treatment.

  2. These include that a woman could not be divorced for non-substantial reasons, the image of marriage was of the spouses becoming ‘one flesh’ (implying, for Carmody, a a strong marital bond), the creation myth and fall of humanity portray male and female as equally in the Image of God, and equally guilty of disobedience, respectively (pp.185-86).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. This, however, has itself to be balanced by a recognition of the sexism within these very texts.

  2. The family line is traced through the male (see the previous reference to the Abrahamic covenant or Noah’s lineage in Genesis 5:3-32). Thus the reference to ‘one flesh’ does not signify an androgynous ‘whole’.

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. Adam retains the authority of naming the animals in Eden (Genesis 2:19-20). It is from him that Eve is taken (Genesis 2:22). His existence is not itself dependent on any other human (Genesis 2:7). The environment is cursed because of Adam’s sin, not Eve’s (Genesis 3:16-19). Humanity is expelled from Eden because “[t]he man ... must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22, NIV).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. Perhaps more significantly you do find figures such as Deborah, Ruth and Esther who are celebrated in the Tanakh (p.186).

  2. Even within texts that contain sexist or misogynist passages, like Proverbs, you have, at least according to Carmody, positive treatment of women (p.186).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. A worry in Carmody’s remarks about the ‘good wife’ on page 186 is her apparent dismissal of the clear implication in the relevant passage, namely Proverbs 31, that the ‘good wife’ is to excel at keeping a good household so as to bring respect or good to her husband (Proverbs 31:11, 12, 15, 23).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. Carmody also notes that there is female imagery used to describe God’s relation to creation or, in particular, humanity. God’s love for His people is sometimes compared to maternal love (pp.188-89).

  2. God’s wisdom is described using feminine vocabulary in Proverbs 8 (pp.189-90).

  3. “Overall, this maternal imagery ensures that the God of the Hebrew Bible is both masculine and feminine” (p.189).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. There are further positive treatments of note.

  2. Women, such as Deborah, can enjoy charismatic gifts, or special gifts form God (p.190).

  3. Women were generally held to the same moral and dietary laws as were the men (p.191).

  4. Important for Carmody is the equal punishment of death given to adulterous couples. Something not seen in many other near contemporary patriarchal cultures (p.191).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. The messianic Zion prophesied by the third author of Isaiah (Isaiah 66:7) appears to imply that Eve’s curse is lifted, thereby implying that the fulfillment of that age includes both women and men (p.192).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. Carmody does balance her talk of these comparatively positive treatments of women in the Tanakh with some negative examples.

  2. These include the fact that although, as noted by Carmody, the wife is allowed to pursue sexual love within marriage, and she is valued because of her procreative capacity, she is also held to be cursed if barren, and her special duty to husband, nation and God is to produce offspring, particularly sons (pp.187-88).

Carmody on Biblical Attitudes

  1. Indeed, “[b]iblical women’s ‘equality’ never reached the state when a daughter was as welcome as a son” (p.192).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. There are two basic Talmuds which emerge out of Rabbinical Judaism: the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds (p.194).

  2. The Talmuds are basically rabbinical commentaries on a body of literature known as the Mishnah. This in turn was compiled by rabbinical authorities towards the end of the Second Century C.E. as a constitution for Judaism (p.194).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. The Talmud includes “legal opinion, folklore, scholarship, medical and scientific theory, philosophy, theology, biography, [and] anecdotes” (p.192).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. In the so-called inter-testamental period you have a notable swing towards a misogynist treatment of women.

  2. Women are regarded as base, seductresses who are a danger to the spiritual path of men (p.193).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. Within the Mishnah you have a section on Women.

  2. However, it mainly treats those instances where the woman is passing from under one male authority to another, or , in the event of a husband’s death, to none at all (p.195).

  3. Again the control of women’s sexuality seems to be a plausible reason for this focus (p.195).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. Under Talmudic Judaism Jewish life centers on a study of the Torah. As women cannot, or should not, study Torah (p.197), they acquire merit by producing sons (who can study Torah in synagogue) and freeing up the time their husbands need to also study (pp.196-97).

  2. As sexual impropriety will only hinder the men in their spiritual advancement, the wife is also to take it upon herself to ensure his sexual satisfaction (p.197).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. There was a continued pro-natalism during the Rabbinical period.

  2. Producing sons was valued more than producing daughters (p.198).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. The Talmud seeks to place stricter restrictions on divorce, making it difficult for men to divorce their wives (husbands had to obtain a bill of divorce form the court and also pay a marriage settlement) (p.198).

  2. They do allow for divorce, without obtaining a bill of divorce from the courts, on such grounds as “appearing in public with an uncovered head, being loud-mouthed, or spinning in the street”, however (p.198).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. Interestingly, Talmudic law seems to allow women to divorce under some surprisingly ‘lax’ conditions, like a husband’s impotence, his affliction with conditions like boils, or even the pungent smell arising from his daily occupation (p.198).

Carmody on Talmudic Attitudes

  1. Though the Talmudic literature contains misogynist descriptions or depictions of women (see p.200), it also contains stories of a few women of excellent virtue (p.199).

  2. Thus some women are credited with a particular power of prayer, devotion to their husbands and to the study of the law (p.199).

Carmody on Modern Attitudes

  1. It is not until the mid Nineteenth Century C.E. that there is a call for full equality of women within Judaism. The call for this equality comes in a conference for Reform Judaism in 1846, but it is not until 1972 that a woman becomes a Rabbi within Reform Judaism (pp.201-02).




Share with your friends:




The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page