How are we to think of works of art? Rather than treat art as an expression of individual genius, market forces, or aesthetic principles, Michael Jackson focuses on how art effects transformations in our lives. Art opens up transitional, ritual, or utopian spaces that enable us to reconcile inward imperatives and outward constraints, thereby making our lives more manageable and meaningful. Art allows us to strike a balance between being actors and being acted upon. Drawing on his ethnographic fieldwork in Aboriginal Australia and West Africa, as well as insights from psychoanalysis, religious studies, literature, and the philosophy of art, Jackson deploys an extraordinary range of references--from Bruegel to Beuys, Paleolithic art to performance art, Michelangelo to Munch--to explore the symbolic labor whereby human beings make themselves, both individually and socially, out of the environmental, biographical, and physical materials that affect them: a process that connects art with gestation, storytelling, and dreaming and illuminates the elementary forms of religious life.
The mystery of the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews has been the subject of end debate. The only comprehensive book on the subject, Priscilla's Letter is a scholarly examination of this puzzling New Testament question. Ruth Hoppin presents a meticulously researched case in support of the theory that Priscilla -- a woman who was a leader in the early church and an associate of Paul -- is ultimately the only suspect who meets all the qualifications for the authorship. Originally published in 1997, Priscilla's Letter disappeared from the market after only five months of promotion and general availability. The author became convinced that her publisher deliberately suppressed the book, presumably under pressure from religious extremists who regard the concept of female authorship of any part of the Bible subversive and intolerable.
Most users of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approach it differently than physicians, because they employ informal knowledge, based on their experiences, beliefs, and values. Mary Ruggie stresses that, although physicians also use informal knowledge from their clinical experience to understand patients and their needs, they rely on formal knowledge, based on science, to understand medicine. Thus, if CAM is going to become a legitimate part of health care, physicians must insist that scientific research prove its safety and efficacy.