Friday, September 30, 2011

prezi ....

The prezi seemed to go well - i used it in conjunction with regular slides.  It does a better job of giving an overall view of the interconnections - but I must learn to design with multimedia...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prezi for Judaism final lecture

Judaism and Modernity

My first live prezi file - to be used tomorrow, September 28, 2011 in lecture..... we shall see!  I have back up keynote/powerpoint slides in case!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shi'a Islam in south Asia

Today, I began listening to a series of podcasts sponsored by an excellent service in England called Back Door Broadcasting.  The lectures are from a conference of experts in Shi'a Islam, who look at this branch of Islam in south Asia, an area little studied.  Apparently around 15-20% of the Muslim population there are Shi'a, but they have historically occupied a more important position in the various societies there than numbers would indicate.

It is very difficult listening for the non-expert!  There is, however, information to be gleaned for anyone with a general interest in Islam.  For example, it used to be said in the popular media, that Islam, unlike Christianity was largely unified with only a politically-based division existing between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims.  These podcasts should put that myth to rest - there are multiple divisions within Shi'a Islam alone.  When the West looks at the Shi'a also, we most often talk about Iran and now after the Iraq war, Iraq.  But the keynote speech dealt with south Asia in general, and the first specific paper presented at this conference focussed on the Indian sub-continent around 1910, and divisions among Shi'a in Karachi.

I hope to listen to them all over the next few days....

Here is the link:

Shi'a in south Asia conference podcasts

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I have just finished the second week lecture for a course called Judaism, Christianity, Islam, where I looked at the early history of Judaism - beginning with Abraham, the progenitor of all three.  Then we looked at others - Moses, David, Solomon, trying to discern underlying principles such as law, order, fear of chaos, a religion of written rules vs one merely lived.  I reminded everyone that although we were jumping through centuries in minutes, and talking about grand ideas and movements, that we were in fact dealing with individual people, deciding on the basis of their circumstances - their work, how they lived, family, who they loved, who they hated, desires and wants.

Sorting out the communal from the individual seems impossible.  Is religion a matter of public or communal ritual and the human need for fellowship - or is it firstly an individual need for meaning found in a connection to the divine?