2,000-Year-Old Manuscript of the Ten Commandments Gets Digitized: See/Download “Nash Papyrus” in High Resolution

How old is the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible? As with most such questions about disputed religious texts, it depends on whom you ask. Many conservative Jewish and Christian scholars—or “maximalists”—have long accepted the text as containing genuine historical records, and dated them as early as possible. Modern critical scholars, the “minimalists,” informed by archeology, have made strong empirical cases against historicity, and date the texts much later.

These debates can become highly speculative the further back scholars attempt to push the Biblical origins. One has to take certain claims on faith. As far as the textual evidence goes, the earliest complete manuscripts we have are the so-called “Masoretic Text,” copied, edited, and disseminated between the 7th and 10th centuries CE. But we have fragments that date back over two thousand years, discovered in the Qumran Caves among the Dead Sea Scrolls in the mid-twentieth century. Prior to their discovery, the oldest known fragment was known as the “Nash Papyrus,” which dates from the second century, BCE.

Purchased from an Egyptian antiquities dealer in 1902 by Egyptologist Dr. Walter Llewllyn Nash and donated to the Cambridge University Library the following year, the papyrus contains a composite of the two different versions of the Ten Commandments, from Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, and the Shema, a prayer from Deuteronomy 6. In 2012, the Nash Papyrus was digitized, “one of the latest treasures of humanity,” reported Reuters, “to join Isaac Newton’s notebooks, the Nuremberg Chronicle and other rare texts as part of the Cambridge Digital Library.”

“It has been suggested,” notes the Cambridge description of the ancient manuscript, “that it is, in fact, from a phylactery (tefillin, used in daily prayer).” But the papyrus’ actual origins are uncertain, though it “was said to have come from the Fayyum,” a city near Cairo. And while the Nash Papyrus may not resolve any debates about the Torah’s origins, its open accessibility is a boon for scholars grappling with the questions. As university librarian Anne Jarvis said upon its digital release, the “age and delicacy” of the manuscript make it “seldom able to be viewed” in person. The leaf papyrus is, as the Cambridge Digital Library notes, full of holes, “barely legible” and composed of “four separate pieces fixed together.”

At the library site, users can see it in high resolution, zooming in very closely to any area they choose. You can also download the image, embed it, or share it on social media. And if that gets your ancient Biblical engines running, you can then see digital Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts of the Ten Commandments here and get an up close look at many other texts from that ancient treasure trove—as well as learn about them in a free online Rutgers course—here.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Dan Rather Introduces Rastafarianism to the U.S. in a 60 Minutes Segment Featuring Bob Marley (1979)

Like many people, I learned the basic tenets of Rastafarianism from Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Steel Pulse, and later adopters Bad Brains. Marley’s worldwide fame not only spread the religion from Kingston to London to New York, but it also inspired no small number of non-Rastafarians to wear the Pan-African colors of red, green, and gold, grow dreadlocks, and sing about “Babylon” and “I and I." The irony of suburban Americans in college dorms adopting the trappings of a postcolonial religion with an unabashedly anti-Western, Afrocentric core predates most recent controversies over “cultural appropriation,” but one rarely sees a better example of the phenomenon.

Consumers of Jamaican Rastafarian culture in the past few decades, however, have rarely had to go very far to find it, and to find it appealing. Since the 1960s, the struggling island nation has relied on “Brand Jamaica,” writes Lucy McKeon at The New York Review of Books, “a global brand often associated with protest music, laid-back, ‘One Love’ positivity, and a pot-smoking counterculture.” The themes most non-Rasta fans of Bob Marley derive from his music also drive a lucrative tourism industry. Both tourists and casual listeners tend to ignore the music's esoteric theology. But reggae as party and protest music is only part of the story.

Those who dig deeper into the music's belief system usually find it quite odd—by the standards of older religious cultures whose own oddness has long been naturalized. Rastafarians revere a recent historical figure, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie (born Ras Tafari), as the messiah, based on a supposed prophecy made by influential Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey (who also inspired the founding of the Nation of Islam). Rastafarianism is also integral not only to reggae, but to what began in the 1930s as “a fight for justice by disenfranchised Jamaicans, peasant laborers and the urban underemployed alike, in what was then a British colony.”

You will gather a little bit of this history from the video above, “The Rastafarians,” a 15-minute 60 Minutes segment from 1979 with Dan Rather. But you get it through a condescendingly prejudicial network news filter, a sensibility appalled by the movement’s blackness and poverty. Rather describes Rastafarianism's origins among the “black masses” in "the ghetto, the slums of Kingston." In the “squalor of these slums," he tells his audience, poor residents found solace in the words of Garvey, “a Jamaican slumdweller.” Rather represents a view deeply concerned with the movement's "criminal element" among "true believers" and "ghetto hustlers" alike. This rather compulsively one-note presentation hardly captures the rich history of Rastafarianism, which began not in the "slums," but in a mountain settlement called Pinnacle in the 1930s.

In 1940---a decade into the settlement’s founding and growth into a colony of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people---a reporter named John Carradine observed, "The Rastafarians are not essentially a religious sect.... They are rather an economic community.” Founder of the Pinnacle community Leonard Percival Howell promoted what he “reportedly called ‘a socialistic life’ based on principles of communalism and economic independence from the colonial system.” Under Garvey's tutelage, Howell had absorbed Marxist and socialist doctrine, but the religion was his own peculiar invention. Garvey dismissed it as a "cult," and amidst its nationalism, it harbors several anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic teachings.

Like all zealous nationalist-religious movements, Rastafarians have defined themselves as much by the perceived Babylon they stand against as by the promised land they hope to inherit. Rastafarianism may have been transformed into a nationalist product, both by its most successful musicians and the tourist industry, but its association with Garvey's ideas also links it with a Pan-Africanism that called for people of the African diaspora in Europe, the U.S., and the Caribbean to secede from oppressive colonial systems and either emigrate or form alternative, self-sufficient economies. The first Rastafarians did just that by growing ganja, and their community thrived into the mid-fifties, when government crackdowns and pressure from Winston Churchill drove them from their land and into the capital city.

The spread of the religion in Kingston coincided with an anti-colonial movement that eventually won independence in 1962, and with the blending of rural and urban musical styles happening in the midst of social and political change. All of these threads are inseparable from the burgeoning reggae scene that eventually conquered every beach town and resort across the word. As for the theology, we might say that Ethiopia’s Emperor encouraged his elevation to the role of Jah on Earth with his own creative revisionism. At his lavish and widely-publicized coronation, Rather reports, the new monarch was “crowned King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” Quite a bid for god-on-earthhood. And for a struggling Jamaican underclass, quite an inspiration for visions of a glorious future in a renewed African kingdom.

via BoingBoing

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How Mindfulness Makes Us Happier & Better Able to Meet Life’s Challenges: Two Animated Primers Explain

The West has very rich contemplative tradition. Monastics of the early Christian church practiced forms of meditation that have been adopted by many people seeking a deeper, more serene experience of life. Given the wealth of contemplative literature and practice in European history, why have so many Western people turned to the East, and toward Buddhist contemplative forms in particular?

The answer is complicated and involves many strains of philosophical and countercultural history. Some of the greatest influence in the U.S. has come from Tibetan monks like the Dalai Lama and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, onetime teacher of Allen Ginsberg, and founder of Naropa University and the ecumenical Shambhala school of Buddhism. Trungpa Rinpoche contrasted theistic forms of meditation, both Hindu and Christian, with the mindfulness and concentration practices of Buddhism, writing that the first one, focused on a "higher being" or beings, is “inward or introverted" and dualistic.

Buddhist mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, is “what one might call ‘working meditation’ or extroverted meditation. This is not a question of trying to retreat from the world.” Mindfulness  “is concerned with trying to see what is,” he writes, and to do so without prejudice: “there is no belief in higher and lower; the idea of different levels, or of being in an underdeveloped state, does not arise.” In other words, all of the imported concepts that push us one way or another, drive our rigid opinions about ourselves and others, and make us feel superior or inferior, become irrelevant. We take ownership of the contents of our own minds.

How is this relevant for the modern person? Consider the videos here. These explainers,  like many other contemporary uses of the word “mindfulness," peel the concept away from its Buddhist origins. But secular and Buddhist ideas of mindfulness are not as different as some might think. “Mindfulness,” says Dan Harris in the video at the top, “is the ability to know what’s happening in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it.” (Some might prefer the more succinct Vipassana definition “nonjudgmental awareness.”) Without mindfulness, “there’s no buffer between the stimulus and your reaction.” With it, however, we "learn to respond wisely" to what happens to us instead of being pushed and pulled around by habitual reactivity.

As the video above has it—using the Cherokee parable of the two wolves—mindfulness provides us with the space we need to observe our sensations, emotions, and ideas. From a critical distance, we can see causes and effects, and create different conditions. We can learn, in short, to be happy, even in difficult circumstances, without denying or fighting with reality. The Dalai Lama refers to this as observing “the principle of causality… a natural law." "In dealing with reality,” he says, “you have to take that law into account…. If you desire happiness, you should seek the causes that give rise to it.” Likewise, we must understand the mental causes of our suffering if we want to prevent it.

How do we do that? Is there an app for it? Well, yes, and no. One app is Happify---who produced these videos with animator Katy Davis, meditation instructor Sharon Salzberg, and Harris, creator of the mindfulness course (and app) 10% Happier. Happify offers “Science-based Activities and Games, and "a highly secularized, some might say decontextualized, form of mindfulness training—including the “Meditation 101” primer video above. For those who reject everything that smacks of religion, secular mindfulness practices have been rigorously put to many a peer-reviewed test. They are widely accepted as evidence-based ways to reduce anxiety and depression, improve focus and concentration, and manage pain. These practices have been used in hospitals, medical schools, and even public elementary schools for many years.

But whether we are Buddhists or other religious people practicing mindfulness meditation, or secular humanists and atheists using modified, “science-based”---or app-based---techniques, the fact remains that we have to build the discipline into our daily life in order for it to work. No app will do that for us, any more than a fitness app will make us toned and healthy. Nor will reading books or articles about meditation make us meditators. (To paraphrase Augustine, we might say that endless reading or staring at screens amounts to an attitude of “give me mindfulness, but not yet.”)

Harris, in character as a mouse in a V-neck sweater, says in the video above that meditation is “exercise for your brain.” And like exercise, Trungpa Rinpoche writes, meditation can be “painful in the beginning." We may not always like what we find knocking around in our heads. And yet without acknowledging, and even befriending, the feelings and thoughts that make us feel terrible, we can't learn to nurture and “feed” those that make us feel good. If you're inspired to get started, you'll find several free online guided meditations at the links below.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Hear Carl Sagan Artfully Refute a Creationist on a Talk Radio Show: “The Darwinian Concept of Evolution is Profoundly Verified”

It takes a special kind of person to calmly debate those who prefer dogma to reason and who insist on ignoring or distorting evidence to suit their preconceptions. Carl Sagan was such a person. Among his many other scientific accomplishments, he became legendary for his skill as an educator and science advocate. Sagan communicated not only his knowledge, but also his awe and wonder at the beauty and intricacy of the universe, bringing to his explanations an unrivaled enthusiasm, clarity, and talent for poetic expression. And when faced with interlocutors who were less than intellectually honest, Sagan kept his cool and carried on.

This could be difficult. In the audio from a radio call-in show above, we hear Sagan answer questions from a caller with a clear, and rather foolhardy agenda: to best the astronomer, astrophysicist, and astrobiologist in a debate over Darwinian evolution. He begins right away with some ad hominem, calling Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan “true believers, who are no more willing to question the theory that you base your beliefs on than were the ministers of the 19th century who you regularly criticize as being close-minded.” The irony of accusations like these should be obvious. Though the caller doesn’t announce himself as a creationist, it’s abundantly clear to Sagan from his talking points that he’s defending a creationist party line.

Sagan attempts to answer his first question, but before he can finish, the caller leaps to another bullet point, the “gaps in the theory” or “gaping hole” of “fossils in transition.” Sagan presses his claim, with evidence, that “the Darwinian concept of evolution and natural selection is profoundly verified.” The insistent caller again interrupts and Sagan almost gives up on him, saying he “rather reminds me of Pontius Pilate. He asks, ‘what is truth?’ but does not stay for the answer.’” Then Sagan, without hesitation, patiently makes a case in brief:

Consider artificial selection. There is something particularly implausible about natural selection, particularly if you think that the world is only a few thousand years old, as the Biblical chronology would have it. Then the idea of one species flowing into another is absurd, we never see that in our everyday life, we are told. But consider, for example, the variety of dogs on the planet… We humans made them… by controlling which dogs shall mate with which…. In the short period of 8 or 10,000 years, we produce this immense variety of dogs. Now compare that with four billion years of biological evolution, not artificial selection, but natural selection, which goes into not just the overall personality and characteristics of the dog, but the biochemistry and internal organs… and then it is clear that the beauty and diversity of life on earth can emerge. But if you don’t buy four billion years, you don’t buy evolution.

Sagan frequently cited this figure of 4 billion years for the origin of life on Earth. During his hugely popular program Cosmos, for example, he used the number in an accelerated evolutionary history, which you can hear him narrate accompanied by a nifty animation in the video below. Most scientists have used that figure or a few million years earlier. For some time, the actual number was thought to be between 3.6 and 3.8 billion years. Recently, as Tim Marcin reports at the International Business Times, some scientists have concluded that “living organisms may have existed on Earth as long as 4.1 billion years ago.”

Marcin quotes UCLA professor of geochemistry Mark Harrison, who speculates, “life on Earth may have started almost instantaneously” (relatively speaking) after the planet’s formation some 4.6 billion years ago. These estimates come from carbon dating, not fossils, but just yesterday, Sarah Kaplan writes at The Washington Post, discoveries of “tiny, tubular structures uncovered in ancient Canadian rocks” may be evidence of ancient microbes thought to be 3.77 billion years old, “making them the oldest fossils ever found.”

Like all new scientific discoveries, these recent findings have been contested by other scientists in these fields. And like some discoveries, their questions may never be resolved in our lifetimes. Science depends on methods of data collection, evaluation and interpretation of evidence, peer review, and many other processes subject to human error. Scientists must often revise their conclusions and reconsider theories. No scientific explanation is conclusively definitive in all its particulars. Nonetheless, Sagan believed that only through the scientific method could we obtain knowledge about the cosmos and the origin of life on earth that was in any way reliable. He admired religious ethics and the space religions held for the big questions. Sagan even declared in his 1985 Gifford Lectures (published posthumously as The Varieties of Scientific Experience) that “the objectives of religion and science… are identical or very nearly so.” But he did not think religions could answer the questions they asked.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Japanese Priest Tries to Revive Buddhism by Bringing Techno Music into the Temple: Attend a Psychedelic 23-Minute Service

Many religious leaders would like to liven up their services to attract a younger, hipper flock, but few have the necessary background to pull it off in a truly impressive way. Not so for the Japanese Buddhist priest Gyōsen Asakura, who answered the higher calling after a career as a DJ but evidently never lost his feel for the unstoppable pulse of electronic music. Getting behind his decks and donning his headphones once again, he has begun using sound, light, and the original splendor of Fukui City's Shō-onji temple to hold "techno memorial services." You can see and hear a bit of one such audiovisual spiritual spectacle in the video just above, shot at a memorial service last fall.

"Buddhism may be approaching something of a crisis point in Japan," reports Buddhistdoor's Craig Lewis, "with 27,000 of the country’s 77,000 Buddhist temples forecast to close over the next 25 years, reflecting shrinking populations in small rural communities and a loss of faith in organized religion among the country’s population as a whole."

He also sites an Asahi Shimbun survey that found 434 temples closed over the past decade and 12,065 Japanese Buddhist temples currently without resident monks. Can this temple in a small city, itself known for its phoenix-like rise from the ashes of the Second World War, do its part to reverse the trend?

Gyōsen Asakura frames his techno memorial services, however incongruous they might at first seem, as in keeping with the traditions of his branch of Pure Land Buddhism. "Originally, golden decorations in the temple are expressions of paradise light," he told THUMP. "However, the light of a traditional temple has not changed its form from 1000 years ago to use candlelight, even after electricity was invented. I felt doubtful about that, and then I thought about expressing paradise with the latest stage lighting such as 3D mapping."

After all, as he said to Japankyo, "people used to use the most advanced technologies available to them at the time in order to ornament temples with gold leaf," so why not harness today's technology to evoke the Buddhist "world of light" as well? And in any case, ecstatic sensory experiences are nothing new in the realm of faith, though ecstatic sensory experiences of Gyōsen Asakura's kind do cost money to put together. And so he, in the way of most religious projects the world over, has asked for donations to fund them, using not a bowl but the crowdfunding site Readyfor. Judging by 383,000 yen (more than $3300 U.S. dollars) he's already raised, quite a few techno-heads have seen the light.

via Electronic Beats

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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Take a Break from Your Frantic Day & Let Alan Watts Introduce You to the Calming Ways of Zen

By the end of the 1960s, Alan Watts had become one of the gurus of the counterculture. Though he was not really a Zen Buddhist, he was many a person’s gateway into the religion due to The Way of Zen published in 1958. His was a philosophical and populist approach to Eastern religion, an antecedent to the Eckhart Tolles of our time.

This short film, Now and Zen, was directed by Elda and Irving Hartley, shot in the gardens at their residence, and features Watts encouraging the viewer to go beyond the material world, especially as we understand it through language and our cultural viewpoint. Instead, he says, “This world is a multidimensional network of all kinds of vibrations” which infants understand better than us adults. The film then transitions into a guided sitting meditation of sorts, and ends with the sounds of nature. (Plus, there's ducks.)

“Hence the importance of meditation in zen,” he continues, “which is, from time to time, to stop thinking altogether, and simply be aware of what is. This may be done very, very simply. By becoming aware of the play of light and color upon your eyes. Don’t name anything you see. Just let the light and the shadow, the shape and the color, play with your eyes, and allow the sound to play with your ears.”

Elda Hartley, working with her husband Irving, used this film to launch the Hartley Film Foundation, its mission to produce documentaries on world religions and spirituality. (It still exists as a non-profit). Zen as a subject came first, because Elda had been on a trip to Japan with Alan Watts, and when she proposed the film, he agreed to narrate. She would later make films with Margaret Mead, Joseph Campbell, Ram Dass, Huston Smith and others.

There are several other films on archive.org's Hartley Productions page, and another Watts-narrated one: The Flow of Zen. (Warning: this is the opposite of meditative, and its harsh atonal electronic sounds very far removed from any mediation CD you might have kicking around.)

Better still: Open Culture also has plenty of Alan Watts in the archive.

Finally, as someone who spent many an undergrad night listening to his late-night lectures on KPFK and at the time not understanding a whit, it was edifying to hear Watts say in the above film:

As you listen to my voice, don’t try to make any sense of what I am saying. Just be aware of the tones and your brain will automatically take care of the sense.

I can vouch that he was right about that...eventually. But only after reading many, many books on Buddhism.

Now and Zen and The Flow of Zen will be added to our collection, 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

How Leo Tolstoy Became a Vegetarian and Jumpstarted the Vegetarian & Humanitarian Movements in the 19th Century

tolstoy rules 2

Leo Tolstoy is remembered as both a towering pinnacle of Russian literature and a fascinating example of Christian anarchism, a mystical version of which the aristocratic author pioneered in the last quarter century of his life. After a dramatic conversion, Tolstoy rejected his social position, the favored vices of his youth, and the dietary habits of his culture, becoming a vocal proponent of vegetarianism in his ascetic quest for the good life. Thousands of his contemporaries found Tolstoy’s example deeply compelling, and several communes formed around his principles, to his dismay. “To speak of ‘Tolstoyism,’” he wrote, “to seek guidance, to inquire about my solution of questions, is a great and gross error.”

“Still,” writes Kelsey Osgood at The New Yorker, “people insisted on seeking guidance from him,” including a young Mahatma Gandhi, who struck up a lively correspondence with the writer and in 1910 founded a community called "Tolstoy Farm" near Johannesburg.

Though uneasy in the role of movement leader, the author of Anna Karenina invited such treatment by publishing dozens of philosophical and theological works, many of them in opposition to a contrary strain of religious and moral ideas developing in the late nineteenth century. Often called “muscular Christianity,” this trend responded to what many Victorians thought of as a crisis of masculinity by emphasizing sports and warrior ideals and railing against the "feminization" of the culture.

Tolstoy might be said to represent a “vegetable Christianity”—seeking harmony with nature and turning away from all forms of violence, including the eating of meat. In “The First Step,” an 1891 essay on diet and ethical commitment, he characterized the prevailing religious attitude toward food:

I remember how, with pride at his originality, an Evangelical preacher, who was attacking monastic asceticism, once said to me "Ours is not a Christianity of fasting and privations, but of beefsteaks." Christianity, or virtue in general—and beefsteaks!

While he confessed himself “not horrified by this association,” it is only because “there is no bad odor, no sound, no monstrosity, to which man cannot become so accustomed that he ceases to remark what would strike a man unaccustomed to it.” The killing and eating of animals, Tolstoy came to believe, is a horror to which—like war and serfdom—his culture had grown far too accustomed. Like many an animal rights activist today, Tolstoy conveyed his horror of meat-eating by describing a slaughterhouse in detail, concluding:

[I]f he be really and seriously seeking to live a good life, the first thing from which he will abstain will always be the use of animal food, because, to say nothing of the excitation of the passions caused by such food, its use is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to the moral feeling—killing.

[W]e cannot pretend that we do not know this. We are not ostriches, and cannot believe that if we refuse to look at what we do not wish to see, it will not exist.... [Y]oung, kind, undepraved people—especially women and girls—without knowing how it logically follows, feel that virtue is incompatible with beefsteaks, and, as soon as they wish to be good, give up eating flesh.

The idea of vegetarianism of course preceded Tolstoy by hundreds of years of Hindu and Buddhist practice. And its growing popularity in Europe and America preceded him as well. “Tolstoy became an outspoken vegetarian at the age of 50,” writes Sam Pavlenko, “after meeting the positivist and vegetarian William Frey, who, according to Tolstoy’s son Sergei Lvovich, visited the great writer in the autumn of 1885.” Tolstoy’s dietary stance fit in with what Charlotte Alston describes as an “increasingly organized” international vegetarian movement taking shape in the late nineteenth century.

Like Tolstoy in “The First Step,” proponents of vegetarianism argued not only against cruelty to animals, but also against “the brutalization of those who worked in the meat industry, as butchers, slaughtermen, and even shepherds and drovers.” But vegetarianism was only one part of Tolstoy’s religious philosophy, which also included chastity, temperance, the rejection of private property, and “a complete refusal to participate in violence or coercion of any kind.” This marked his dietary practice as distinct from many contemporaries. Tolstoy and his followers “made the link between vegetarianism and a wider humanitarianism explicit."

"How was it possible," Alston summarizes, "to regard the killing of animals for food as evil, but not to condemn the killing of men through war and capital punishment? Not all members of the vegetarian movement agreed.” Some saw “no connection between the questions of war and diet.” Tolstoy’s philosophical argument against all forms of violence was not original to him, but it resonated all over the world with those who saw him as a shining example, including his two daughters and eventually his wife Sophia, who all adopted the practice of vegetarianism. A book of their recipes was published in 1874, and adapted by Pavlenko for his Leo Tolstoy: A Vegetarian’s Tale(See one example here---a family recipe for macaroni and cheese.)

In her study Tolstoy and His Disciples, Alston details the Russian great’s wide influence through not only his diet but the totality of his spiritual practices and unique political and religious views. Interestingly, unlike many animal rights activists of his day and ours, Tolstoy refused to endorse legislation to punish animal cruelty, believing that punishment would only result in the perpetuation of violence. “Non-violence, non-resistance and brotherhood were the principles that lay at the basis of Tolstoyan vegetarianism,” she observes, “and while these principles meant that Tolstoyans cooperated closely with vegetarians, they also kept them in many ways apart.”

via History Buff

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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