Category Archives: Intellectual, Religious, or Cultural Tradition

THICH NHAT HANH
(1926- )

from Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire: In Search of the Enemy of Man

  Thich Nhat Hanh, a scholar in the field of philosophy of religion and an internationally revered figure of Zen Buddhism, was born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo in Vietnam in 1926. (The word “Thich” [pronounced tick] is not a title, but … Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Buddhism, Hanh, Thich Nhat, Selections, The Modern Era

MURTAZA MUTAHHARI
(1920-1979)

The Martyr: On Jihad, Suicide, and Martyrdom

  Ayatollah Murtaza Mutahhari (also spelled Morteza Motahhari or Motah-hary), a traditional Shi’ite mujtahid and scholar influential in the Islamic Revolution of Iran (1978–79), was born in a small town in the province of Khorasan, Iran, and studied at the … Continue reading

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Filed under Islam, Middle East, Mutahhari, Murtaza, Selections, The Modern Era

JAPANESE NAVAL SPECIAL ATTACK FORCE (KAMIKAZE CORPS)
(b. 1920s, d. 1944-1945)

Kamikaze Diaries
Last Letters Home

  In October 1944, toward the end of World War II, as it was becoming clear to the Japanese command that American aircraft carriers massing at the mouth of Leyte Gulf represented a serious threat, the new commander of Japanese … Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Japanese Naval Special Attack Force, Martyrdom, Military Defeat, Success, Strategy, Selections, Shinto, The Modern Era

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER
(1906–1945)

from Ethics: The Last Things and the Things Before the Last

  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran theologian, was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), the son of a famous psychiatrist. From 1923 to 1927, Bonhoeffer studied theology at the universities of Berlin and Tübingen. He also studied under Reinhold … Continue reading

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Filed under Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Christianity, Europe, Selections, Sin, The Modern Era

PAUL-LOUIS LANDSBERG
(1901-1944)

from The Moral Problem of Suicide

  Paul-Louis (also known as Paul-Ludwig) Landsberg was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1901 to a prominent family. Landsberg became a professor of philosophy at the University of Bonn in 1928. He wrote several works on anthropology and German philosophy, … Continue reading

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Filed under Christianity, Europe, Landsberg, Paul-Louis, Martyrdom, Selections, Sin, Stoicism, The Modern Era

SZMUL ZYGIELBOJM
(1895-1943)

Letter to the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland

  Szmul Zygielbojm was born in a village in what is now Poland, then part of the Russian empire. At the age of 10, he left school and began working in a factory. As a young man, he became involved … Continue reading

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Filed under Europe, Judaism, Selections, The Modern Era, Zygielbojm, Szmul

PAUL TILLICH
(1886-1965)

from The Courage to Be

  Paul Tillich was a German-American theologian whose work helped to revolutionize Protestant theology in light of a philosophical analysis of existence. Born in a small Prussian town, the son of an authoritarian Lutheran minister, Tillich attended universities in Berlin, … Continue reading

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Filed under Americas, Europe, Existentialism, Protestantism, Selections, The Modern Era, Tillich, Paul

MOHANDAS K. GANDHI
(1869-1948)

from Indian Home Rule
from An Autobiography: The Story of    My Experiments With Truth
from Non-Violence in Peace and War

  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (often called “Mahatma,” or “great soul”), the Indian nationalist and advocate of non-violence, was born in Porbandar to the local chief minister and a mother who was an active disciple of Vaishnavism, the worship of the … Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Gandhi, Mohandas K., Hinduism, Selections, The Modern Era

HINDU WIDOW
(c. 1889)

The Plight of Hindu Widows as Described by a Widow Herself

  This anonymous selection was originally published in the Methodist Church Missionary Society’s magazine The Gospel in All Lands in April of 1889. Little is known about its author or its exact date of composition, except that the author, “a … Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Hindu Widow, anonymous, Hinduism, Honor and Disgrace, Love, Selections, Slavery, The Modern Era

DINKA

#23 Burial Alive: The Master of the Fishing-Spear

When a master of the fishing-spear has fallen sick and is becoming weak, he will call all his people and tell them to bring his whole camp (tribe or subtribe) to his home to bury him whilst he lives. His … Continue reading

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Filed under African Traditional Sub-Saharan Cultures