In this paper, I seek to present the range of issues involved in the efforts of sixteenth-century kabbalists to understand the nature of selfhood, and the paths prescribed for the formation of an ideal life. I reflect on the mystical writings of Moshe Cordovero, Eliyahu de Vidas, and ayyim Vital—probing their conceptions of core identity, the polarity between body and soul, and the ethical guidance for a life well lived. In so doing, I consider the following additional themes, and (...) their relation to the matrix of self-formation and religious identity: reincarnation and rebirth; the virtue of humility and self-effacement; the cultivation of wisdom; ideals of piety and prophetic experience; asceticism; and the spiritual transcendence of desire. In presenting this wide range of constituent themes, I argue that sixteenth-century kabbalists understood the soul to be the ultimate marker of personal identity (nuanced and complicated by the doctrine of reincarnation), and that they formulated a vision of an ideal ethics in which the human being functions as an earthly vessel for the divine presence. What is more, the preparation of that vessel required a degree of humility so extreme that the attainment of ideal personhood ultimately involved the effacement of that very identity. (shrink)
Negative campaign advertising is a major component of the electoral landscape, and has received much attention in the literature. In many studies, political scientists have tried to explain why some campaign ads contain more negative messages than others and to identify the determinants of this form of campaign behavior. In recent years, a number of studies have acknowledged the differences between alternative measures of negativity, but, in most cases, it is assumed that since these measures are highly correlated, they are (...) unidimensional and essentially interchangeable. In this article, we argue that much of the debate in the literature over negative campaigning is a result of inadequate operationalizations of negativity. Although debates over negativity have often been framed in conceptual terms, there is a methodological explanation for why they persist We begin our analysis by constructing reliable scales of negativity, and model them with salient predictors reported in the literature as significantly associated with campaign attacks. Our findings show that scaling does matter, and while some of the explanatory variables are robust predictors of negativity, most of them are not. (shrink)
This is a response to Dr Joseph Mazor’s paper ‘The child's interests and the case for the permissibility of male infant circumcision.’ I argue that Dr Mazor fails to prove that bodily integrity and self-determination are mere interests as opposed to genuine rights in the case of infant male circumcision. Moreover, I cast doubt on the interest calculus that Dr Mazor employs to arrive at his conclusions about circumcision.