COVER ARTICLE: History and Lore of Sesame in Southwest Asia by Dorothea Bedigian Affiliation: Department of Biology,

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By Dorothea Bedigian Affiliation: Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis and Missouri Botanical Garden; dbedigian@yahoo.com

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Whatever anyone thinks religion may be, the idea that it is not a matter of power seems counterintuitive. Yet this follows the same logic as the ideological separation of religion and politics. ’’ In this question, the idea of a distinct form of terrorism—religious terrorism—is introduced 36 discourse on civility and barbarity effortlessly into the discussion. This usage, which is widely dispersed throughout the general media and academic publications, implies that some terrorism is religious but some is nonreligious or secular.

24 discourse on civility and barbarity The nonreligious sometimes takes the form of a positive commitment to a moral view of the world, as in some forms of humanism which construct ‘religion’ in a specific way and then declare themselves to be ‘nonreligious’ in opposition to that view. S. Constitution, the modern nation-state, or the state education system, is more generally thought of as a position of neutrality and objectivity characteristic of ‘modern’ rational societies as distinguished tacitly from traditional irrational (religious or mythical) ones.

The discourse on Hinduism and on world religions more generally has a history going back to the founding of the scientific study of religion in the nineteenth century, as Despland’s article and other essays in the same volume testify; much of it derives from Christian theological traditions, substantively though not exclusively Protestant incarnational theology. ‘‘Religion is in the world, it is a formative influence in every society, found in every culture in human history,’’ writes Miller. One could trace this idea back to the early seventeenth-century writing of the Protestant English vicar and nationalist Samuel Purchas, discussed in chapter 6, for whom there was one Truth (true Religion) which was Protestant Christianity, and there were many religions, which were really irrational superstitions because they were either at best merely dim memories of the revelation of God which had been lost from view for much of humanity by the Fall, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel; or at worst they were diabolical inventions.

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