Category Archives: J
Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenali, c. 55-130 CE) was a Roman satirist whose sharp, critical eye gives a reality check to those who uncritically glorify ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt as examples of a mythical ‘golden age.’
The ancient world was typically corrupt, hypocritical and cruel, with large numbers of miserable have-nots (slaves and the over-taxed poor) at the whim and mercy of a tiny group of often tyrannical rulers.
As for sacred temples, Juvenal writes that they are frequently used as meeting places for casual hetero- and homosexual sex. To the “provincial” Naevolus he says:
It’s not so long, I recall, since you used to hang around the temples of Ceres and Isis, or Ganymede’s little shrine
In the temple of Peace, or Cybele’s secret grotto
On the Palatine Hill – all such places are hot-spots for easy women.
You laid them by the dozens then, and (something you don’t mention)
More often than not you would have their husbands, too (Juvenal, The Sixteen Satires, trans. Peter Green, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974, p. 195).
And his take on the Roman state religion’s feast days is just as controversial:
What feast-day’s so holy it never produces the usual quota
Of theft, embezzlement, fraud, all those criminal get-rich-quick schemes,
Glittering fortunes won by the dagger or drug-box? (Ibid., p. 249).
Juvenal’s vivid and piercing portrait of ancient Rome might be more relevant to some contemporary cultures than Voltaire‘s equally powerful satire, Candide, even though the latter is nearer to the present, chronologically speaking.
Contemporary scholars don’t know if Juvenal really stood behind his criticisms or, instead, was simply writing about some of his contemporaries who viewed things as he wrote them.
While Juvenal’s mode of satire has been noted from antiquity for its wrathful scorn towards all representatives of social deviance, some politically progressive scholars such as W.S. Anderson and later S.M. Braund have attempted to defend his work as actually a rhetorical persona (mask) taken up by the author to critique the very attitudes he appears to be exhibiting in his works.¹
The Jedi are a sagely band of warrior-knights in George Lucas’ Star Wars films. Imbued with a high concentration of ‘the force,’ a bio-mystical power permeating all existence, Jedi’s work to liberate their galaxy from an oppressive empire and more generally, to keep the the force in balance.
In much of the Star Wars films, the empire is ruled by an evil emperor and his No. 1 minion, a Sith Lord. The most famous Sith Lord is Darth Vader, who himself is a fallen Jedi.
Jedi Masters normally belong to a Jedi Council. And at death a Jedi becomes immortal and honored, not unlike the ancient Greek heroes who, through their outstanding valor, escape the bonds of the shadowy underworld to enjoy eternal life on the blessed isles.
As with the religious sinner, a fallen Jedi, even a Sith Lord, may be redeemed by a significant act of kindness or self-sacrifice. Darth Vader, for instance, realizes that, without help, his son Luke Skywalker would perish. At a critical moment when Luke is about to be destroyed by the evil emperor, Darth’s humanity is rediscovered and he turns to fight the emperor. This guarantees Luke’s survival at the cost of Darth’s physical but spiritually redemptive death.
Also similar to most ancient myths, the Star Wars films exhibit subtle variants. For instance, in the original release of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the redeemed Darth Vader appears in spirit form, played by actor Sebastian Shaw. But due to the popularity of Hayden Christensen’s subsequent portrayal of a youthful Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader’s name before he became a Sith Lord), in a 2004 DVD release of the film Shaw was replaced by Christensen as the resurrected Vader. And over the years, other scenes have been altered, added or expanded upon due to artistic choice and also the enhanced technologies which became available.¹
The word Jedi was added to The Shorter Oxford Dictionary in 2002.
- Java Jedi: Darth Vader coffee (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says (aproposofnothing.wordpress.com)
- Darth Vader Announces That Obi Wan Is Dead (blippitt.com)
- Breaking: Darth Vader Announces That Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead (laughingsquid.com)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead (wakeuporkney.wordpress.com)
- So, Are They Saying That Obama Is Darth Vader? (outsidethebeltway.com)
- “Obi-Wan Kenobi dead, Darth Vader announces. Plus: Was the Death Star attack an inside job?” and related posts (humblelibertarian.com)
- “F is also for Father and Son Lightsaber Duel from “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”" and related posts (toyhaven.blogspot.com)
- Alternate Ending (e-clecticism.blogspot.com)
- Meet Sariah Gallego: The Eight-Year-Old Sith Lord Who’ll Kill Darth Vader (geeksaresexy.net)
- May The Geocaching Force Be With You (notaboutthenumbers.com)
- Star Wars Pancake Molds (laughingsquid.com)
- The Karma of Star Wars (yogiclarebear.com)
- Intergalactic Droid Memory Sticks – The R2-D2 USB Flash Drive is for Techie Star Wars Fans (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Darth Vader – LEGO Star Wars Key Light (geeksaresexy.net)
- SWTOR timeline 1 : Il trattato di Coruscant (lordrevan88.wordpress.com)
- Darth Vader on Vacation (techeblog.com)
- Vibrant Villainous Shoes – Star Wars Fans Will Love the Adidas Skyline Mid Darth Vader Shoes (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Star Wars: 3D Darth Vader Helmet Wall Clock (tjantunen.com)
In Christianity justification has been the focus of much debate and controversy within the traditional Christian circles.
For the Protestant Reformers, justification refers to the idea that sinful human beings may be saved by God’s grace alone. The shortened phrase “justification through faith,” which we often hear in religious debates, more completely means “justification by grace through faith.”
The Catholic interpretation of justification emphasizes a total conversion of the sinner who comes to receive sanctifying grace, this being conferred and increased by the sacraments of the Catholic Church.
Some Protestants and Christian fundamentalists regard most of the Catholic sacraments as human fabrications, possibly leaning towards superstition, magic, paganism and the devil. For Catholics, however, the Protestant notion that one may be certain of one’s personal salvation is misguided and, technically speaking, heretical.
- Calvinism vs. Arminianism: a Debate on Faith and Freewill (prweb.com)
- Where are the Lutherans, revisited (geneveith.com)
- Justification & Sanctification (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
- UMC Doctrine: Justification (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)
- Not Faith, but Christ (inchristus.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Communion (christophermichaellofton.wordpress.com)
- Assurance of Salvation (godshammer.wordpress.com)
- Hauled Aboard the Ark – The Spiritual Journey of Peter Kreeft (onecatholicnews.wordpress.com)
- Michael Servetus (justificationbygrace.com)
- Catholics and the Saints: Part Three (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
The Just War doctrine relates to the notion that, in certain circumstances, war may be ethically justified for reasons of personal, national or religious self-defense. This has nothing to do with a disturbed individual taking on the role of “savior” of humanity through horrific and irrational acts of violence, as we’ve recently seen, for instance, in Norway.
With no direct New Testament scriptural support for the idea of a Just War, Catholic Tradition endorses it. St. Augustine supports the Just War on the basis of numerous holy wars portrayed in the Old Testament. The Middle Ages endorsed it in the Inquisitions. And the most recent Catholic Catechism cites St. Thomas Aquinas, who condones killing as a legitimate form of self defense, be that personal or national (1995: p. 604).
The contemporary understanding of the Just War speaks to the organized killing, when absolutely necessary, of other human beings on the wrong side of the religious or political fence. All peaceful solutions have failed, the enemy poses some kind of grand scale threat and there’s a reasonable expectation of victory. Most theologians, for instance, would agree that Hitler and the Nazi’s simply had to be stopped.
Similarities and Differences in non-Christian Religions
In Islam, the notion of Jihad might point to a uniquely Islamic understanding of a kind of ‘Just War’ doctrine (although it would not be called a Just War because that is a uniquely Christian concept). And in Hinduism, the Baghavad-Gita endorses killing in keeping with one’s moral duty to uphold the apparently sacred dharma. While it may be hard for many to see what these two forms of war have to do with self-defense, an intellectual argument could probably be made within each religion to try to convince others that these kinds of war are about self-defense. One, of course, doesn’t have to agree. And God knows the truth of the matter.
Meanwhile, Buddhist scriptures speak of peace and non-violence, and Buddhism is often hailed as a non-violent path. But Moojan Momen points out that scriptural, philosophical and folkloric justifications for violence exist in the Buddhist tradition (Moojan Momen, The Phenomenon of Religion: A Thematic Approach, Oxford: Oneworld, 1999, p. 410). Bernard Faure also says that Buddhist doctrine has often been adapted to justify war (Bernard Faure, “Buddhism and Violence,” Sangam.org, December 6, 2003). And John Ferguson draws on scripture, legend and history to outline five justifications for war in the Buddhist tradition (War and Peace in the World’s Religions, London: Sheldon Press, 1977, pp. 55-57).
- Religion and War (epages.wordpress.com)
- Killing The Buddha (samharris.org)
- What are different between Japanese buddhism and Chinese Buddhism (wiki.answers.com)
- Idolatry: Can the blind lead the blind? – Part 2 (1joh4.wordpress.com)
In classical Roman mythology Jupiter is the master deity, often depicted with flowing hair, beard, thunder and a thunderbolt.
He was worshipped by the Roman elite at his sacred temple on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.
Also known as Jovis, Jupiter was regarded as the upholder of justice who protected the state and its rulers. He also presided over the Roman games.
Jupiter is likely related to the Vedic Dyas Pitar and has probable origins as a sky and weather god. However, he clearly evolved into a bellicose deity, and is also seen, among his other attributes, as a god of war.
His Greek counterpart is Zeus. In Britain he was called Jove—hence the phrase by Jove! And mention of Jove appears quite often in Shakespeare.
At lovers’ perjuries,
They say Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully. ¹
In astronomy, Jupiter is the 5th planet from the sun, with 16 natural satellites, taking 11.9 years to complete a full orbit that travels between the paths of Mars and Saturn.
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system with 63 natural satellites.
In the films 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010, Jupiter figures prominently as the location for a fictional hyperspace portal to the stars.
- Juno (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- The Greatest Mysteries of Jupiter (space.com)
- -aurora -diana -cupid -venus -jove -dido -juno -titan What are these roman gods and goddesses in charge of and what are their characteristics (wiki.answers.com)
- Does Jupiter have damage from being close to the asteroid belt (wiki.answers.com)
- … the Side of Unique Serenity Please (sycalaelen.wordpress.com)
- “The Planets” – A Poem (rodscuriosityshop.wordpress.com)
- Starwatch: Look east for Jupiter and Mars (guardian.co.uk)
- April 30: Mars conjuncts Jupiter (thecolorsofwellness.com)
- Phobos passes Jupiter… as seen from Mars! (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- A New Vision Explains How Jupiter Ruined Mars (scienceray.com)
In ancient Roman religion Juno is the sister and wife of Jupiter with whom she guards and rules women throughout the course of their lives.
Juno also presides over female warriors. She is the Roman counterpart to the Greek Hera.
In the contemporary world, Juno is the name for Canadian music awards, as ‘Oscar’ is to Hollywood film awards.
And she’s been the object of much scholarly discussion by mythographers, as evidenced in this excellent Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_%28mythology%29
- Ottawa to host 2012 Juno Awards (cbc.ca)
- The Greatest Mysteries of Jupiter (space.com)
- Juno Awards headed to Ottawa in 2012 (arts.nationalpost.com)
- -aurora -diana -cupid -venus -jove -dido -juno -titan What are these roman gods and goddesses in charge of and what are their characteristics (wiki.answers.com)
- Juno Awards to return to Ottawa for first time since 2003 (ctv.ca)
- Juno solar panels complete testing (physorg.com)
- Anne Murray returns to her Nova Scotia roots (ctv.ca)
- Juno Solar Panels Complete Testing (spacefellowship.com)
- NASA administrator visits jupiter-Bound spacecraft (physorg.com)
- Emily Browning and Juno Temple join MAGIC, MAGIC with Michael Cera (geektyrant.com)
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and man of letters whose cultural impact is second only, perhaps, to that of Sigmund Freud.
While Freud is cited in most scholarly textbooks and dictionaries about society and culture, Jung is only mentioned in some. That’s probably because Freud, with all his limitations, was the first to systematically conceptualize the so-called unconscious aspects of the psyche—at least, Freud was the first to do so on a grand scale.
Jung, on the other hand, was at one time Freud’s favored disciple. As such, his model of the unconscious, as useful as many may find it, builds on Freud’s work.
Another reason Freud might still be more popular than Jung is that Freud speaks to a level of awareness that most members of 21stC culture — or at least, visible culture — can appreciate. Freud still hits, as it were, because his theory reflects the status quo.
However, from the perspective of those who envision the spirit as something different from culture and nature, it appears that not a few people confuse the idea of grace with mere biochemical or sensory impulses. For example, if a long distance runner has only experienced endorphin rushes, or if a canoeist has only delighted at the aesthetics of nature, these people might not understand that grace is something entirely different from biochemically or naturally induced pleasures. So Freud makes sense to these people because, arguably, they haven’t experienced anything else that would demand a better and more complete explanation than Freud’s theory can afford.
From the spiritual person’s vantage point, on the other hand, Freud may have some valuable insights but he’s also terribly reductionist. Along these lines, Jungians will usually say that, as a visionary of sorts, Jung’s full impact is yet to be seen. Mankind just has to catch up with Jung’s forward looking insights. But until that time, Jung will always be number two to Freud. (The jury’s still out on this, of course).
In his early days, Jung distinguished himself with his work in developing a word-association technique, finalized in 1906, which apparently identified unconscious complexes.
In 1907, Jung visited Freud and quickly became part of Freud’s inner circle in the newly arising school of psychoanalysis. As Freud’s protégé, Jung began to formulate his own theories, especially in relation to the libido.
Fearing his professional differences with Freud would rupture their mentor-mentee relationship, Jung withheld his ideas until 1914, at which time he publicly split with Freud. After that, the two never spoke again.
From 1913-1919, Jung underwent what he envisioned as a creative illness. He minimized his activities and generally withdrew from society. During this period he explored the collective unconscious in a somewhat pioneering and (apparently) controlled flight into the psychological underworld.
Jung apparently maintained his mental balance with the help of family ties, dream representation, inventive play and by developing the psychotherapeutic technique of active imagination. After recovering from his creative illness and returning to daily life, Jung began to make significant and lasting contributions to psychiatry and, more generally, to the history of human thought.
In the 1930′s, some controversy arose mainly because Jung headed the International Psychiatric Association, an organization that was funded by the Nazis in Germany. In his memoirs, Jung recounts that he was compelled to make a difficult ethical choice, deciding it best, in the long run, to work at advancing the field of psychiatry within the existing totalitarian political conditions in which he found himself. Scholars and writers still debate the ethics of his choice, their secondhand opinions being formed in hindsight.
Regardless of one’s take on Jung’s level of involvement with the Nazi’s, his work on synchronicity and numinosity are nothing short of groundbreaking. And his innovative work on personality types directly influenced the Myers-Briggs model (and its many offshoots) which are still used today. Moreover, Jung later openly criticized Nazi Germany, likening its sinister powers to the activation of the Teutonic Wotan archetype.
According to Jungian legend, at the time of Jung’s death, his favorite tree at Kusnacht was struck by lightning. And around this time, Jung’s old friend Laurens van der Post dreamed that Jung appeared to him saying, “I’ll be seeing you.”
- Carl Jung: The Baby-Boomers’ Friend (themoderatevoice.com)
- Carl Jung, part 2: A troubled relationship with Freud – and the Nazis | Mark Vernon (guardian.co.uk)
- Carl Jung on reason’s limits. (lifeondoverbeach.wordpress.com)
- Brain game (bbc.co.uk)
- Carl Jung, part 1: Taking inner life seriously | Mark Vernon (guardian.co.uk)
- Carl Jung, part 7: The power of acceptance | Mark Vernon (guardian.co.uk)
- Keira Knightley Has Spanking Good Time in ‘A Dangerous Method’ Trailer (moviefone.com)
- Forever Jung (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Sony Pictures Classics Pick’s Up Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’ (moviefone.com)
- Marxists: What exactly is wrong with Carl Jung? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Carl Jung, part 8: Religion and the search for meaning (guardian.co.uk)
Judas Iscariot (1st-century CE) was the New Testament Apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Judas singled Jesus out before the High Priest Caiaphas’ soldiers by kissing his cheek in the garden of Gethsemene (Mark 14.43-6).
Otherwise, the Priest’s guards wouldn’t have known who to arrest among Jesus and his disciples, who’d been sleeping and praying at Gethsemene during the night. Caiaphas had been appointed High Priest by the Romans, and his soldiers duly turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate’s guards.
Before the betrayal, Judas looked after the mission’s finances (John 13:29). Some writers assume that all he ever cared for was money, even though most religious organizations necessarily have a business aspect. Shortly after Jesus’ arrest, Judas’ greedy mood turned bitter and self-recriminating. He returned the ‘blood money’ and hung himself on a Yew tree.¹
“Poor old Judas” goes the refrain, at this point, in Andrew LLoyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.
Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, keeping the number of apostles at twelve, which is an important Biblical number (e.g. the twelve tribes of Israel).
The tale of Judas is, perhaps, the best-known story illustrating the old adage, “all that glitters is not gold”—or in this case, silver.
¹ There are actually several canonical and non-canonical variants concerning the death of Judas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_Iscariot#Death
- Did Judas Iscariot write anything and were his writings in the Bible (wiki.answers.com)
- Campaign of terror & character assassination targeted Mary Magdalene & Judas Iscariot “Sicarii” (aeldwood.wordpress.com)
- Judas was a Judas before Judas meant Judas (byrdmouse.wordpress.com)
- Passion Week (E) Wednesday Events and John Piper-Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World (rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com)
- Finding Judas… (drmoose.wordpress.com)
- Holy Week: Spy Wednesday (allsufficientgrace.wordpress.com)
- Peter vs. Judas (vitaconsecrata.wordpress.com)
- Was Judas Iscariot’s death a fulfillment of the scriptures (wiki.answers.com)
Judaism [Latin Juda: a son of Jacob] The religion of the Jewish people, which like most other world religions, has many variations.
Its core belief is monotheism. For believers, God created the world and delivered the chosen people, the Israelites, out of captivity in Egypt. God then revealed the holy law of the Torah to the Isaelites and ordained them to be the light of the world.
The Hebrew Bible is the source of orthodox Judaism, called the Tanakh. The term Tanakh is an acronym based on the first letters of the three distinct parts of the ancient scrolls: Torah (Teaching), Nevi’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings).
The family is important to Jewish religious practice but the synagogue has become more prominent in modern times.
The Sabbath, the day of rest, runs from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Synagogues contain the hand-written scrolls of the Pentateuch, known as the ark of the covenant made between God and his people.
Orthodox Judaism arose in the 19th century, maintaining what it sees as the core or ‘true’ Jewish religion from antiquity.
Reform Judaism, also from the 19th century, incorporates influences from contemporary scriptural scholarship.
Liberal Judaism has an open, debate-style format, based on diverse scholarly opinions and interpretations of Jewish scripture.
Conservative Judaism differs from orthodox Judaism with its concern for the historical and archaeological elements of the Jewish faith.
The Jews have long been a persecuted and marginalized people but not without periods of great financial prosperity. In medieval times Christians paradoxically borrowed money from Jews yet drove them out of towns for not practicing the Christian faith. Along these lines, Shakespeare‘s depiction of the character Shylock in The Merchant of Venice remains controversial. Shylock is both unmerciful but, at the same time, laments that Jews are just like anyone else. From this, Shakespeare has alternately been charged with racism but also lauded as humanizing Jews.
The powerful ancient Romans occupied Judea at the time of Christ, and more recently, the German Nazis persecuted the Jewish people on a scale and with a cold ruthlessness that boggles, nay scandalizes, the imagination.
- Orthodox Judaism Is A Hardcore, Hardball Religion (lukeford.net)
- Child Sex Indictments Plague Orthodox Judaism (mysteryworshipers.wordpress.com)
- The Greening Of American Orthodox Judaism: Yavneh in the 1960s by Benny Kraut (lukeford.net)
- I’m A Judaism Junkie (lukeford.net)
- What is the difference between the Torah and the Tanakh (wiki.answers.com)
- Jewish men on the decline: is Judaism becoming too female-centric? (slate.com)
- Judaism Is Difficult, No Point In Watering It Down (lukeford.net)
- The Bulgogi Talmud: a Bestseller in… Korea?!? (windsofchange.net)
- Judaism (crisskross.wordpress.com)
- How was th ejewish religion different from religions (wiki.answers.com)
A simple carpenter in the town of Nazareth, Joseph is last mentioned in the Bible when Christ is aged 12 years.
Many believe that Joseph, being much older than Mary, died by the time Christ began his public ministry.
Some feminists and Christians in general believe that Joseph and Mary had sex to produce the Christ child. Theological dogmas and arguments that preserve Mary’s virginity are often seen as patriarchal ploys to subjugate women, devalue sex and define the human body as a sinful object.
Others believe that Christ was fathered by God but Joseph and Mary possibly had another child (James) through intercourse.
Catholic prayer, however, usually describes Joseph as a “most chaste spouse” of the Virgin Mary. And James, Jesus’ alleged brother is regarded as a relative but not an actual brother. This is based on other parts of the New Testament that clearly state that Mary is a Virgin, and an informed understanding of the Greek term for “brother” (adelphos) as it appears in the historical context of the New Testament, along with the Catholic teaching tradition, held to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.¹
Joseph’s feast day is 19 March.
¹ To get a sense for the controversy around the word “brother,” see:
- Jesus Christ (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- St. Joseph and Selling A House (groovyafter50.wordpress.com)
- Roman Catholic Historical Dates You Should Know About! (savoringscripture.wordpress.com)
- Catholic Star Herald – Father Romano named vocation director (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Mary: Mother most chaste, Virgin most holy (catholicexchange.com)
- Biblical Proof That Mary Did Not Continue To Be a Virgin and That Jesus Had Brothers and Sisters (rantsandrage.wordpress.com)
- Did the Bible give proof that Mary had other Children? (idkh.org)
- A Prayer for Fathers (lezrec29.wordpress.com)