Chapter

<i>Interlude:</i> Crossing the Boundary of Empathy

Adam B. Seligman and Robert P. Weller

in Rethinking Pluralism

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199915262
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980215 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199915262.003.0006
Interlude: Crossing the Boundary of Empathy

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This chapter continues the comparison of Judaic and Chinese themes. It focuses on the ways in which rituals and ritual texts both constitute and bridge boundaries between insider and outsider, near and far. The ability of rituals to cross boundaries without dissolving them forms part of the ability to empathize, to imagine oneself as if one were the other while still recognizing our fundamental differences. The Jewish cases revolve around the crucial role of the Gentile in all the texts relating to the Red Heifer. The Chinese cases involve real and imagined geographic boundaries in linking peripheries to centers and communicating peacefully between them.

Keywords: Gentiles; Red Heifer; empathy; Judaism; China

Chapter.  10642 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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