New Books Network This came up on my New Books related to Latin America, but it’s a pretty tenuous connection. Instead, in Beyond Belief: How Pentecostalism is Taking Over the World, Australian journalist talks about her recent book of the same name, aimed at a general rather than academic readership. She defines ‘pentecostalism’ in terms of the influence of the Holy Spirit, going back to William J. Seymour in 1905, who instituted the Azusa Street Revival in about 1905. She then moves to the 1950s and Norman Vincent Peale, and then to the Jesus People of the 1960s New Age movement. A fourth wave, possibly, is now with the spread of Pentecostalism into Latin America, Korea, Brazil and Nigeria. There is no central authority, and the pentecostal churches tend to reflect the society in which they are embedded e.g. the Catholic influence in Latin America, Shamaanism in Korea. There is still an element of the prosperity gospel at play, but it’s more an emphasis on health and wealth, both of which tend to improve when people get their lives together. Pentecostals have always been good at leveraging the media. After radio in the 1950s, in the 1960s and 1970s it was cassette tapes that people could listen to in their cars. Hillsong has always used music as part of its business model. She explores the link between right-wing populism and Pentecostalism, and notes that both use entertainment and stagecraft and draw on the feeling of being ‘besieged by wokeness’.
Rough Translation This is a two-part program about smuggling pills for a medical abortion into Ukraine. Part I Under the Counter, a young German doctor, Vicki, reads of the shortage of abortion pills (mifepristone followed by misoprostol) in Ukraine. She and her boyfriend Ari find a supplier based in Africa who can source the pills from India, and then he offers a huge quantity- far more than ever anticipated. The only problem is that they have to travel through Poland, where abortion is illegal. Part II The Handoff follows this unlikely group of smugglers into Ukraine, where they learn that there are complications in both pregnancy and abortion during war time. I really enjoyed these two podcasts.
Emperors of Rome Interlude: Valerius Flaccus. I’d never heard of this Roman poet, from the Flavian period, who wrote an 8-book epic The Argonautica that retold the well known (at that time) story of Jason and the Golden Fleece. He drew fairly heavily on Apollonius of Rhodes ‘ more famous epic, but he was also strongly influenced by Virgil as well. The episode features Dr. Peter Davis. And now, back to the Emperors with Episode XLV In Trajan We Trust . Trajan was born in 53 CE in Italica in Spain. His father had been Consul, had fought in the Jewish Wars and had been governor of Syria. We don’t really know much about him before he became Emperor, because there’s a Big Black Hole of Biography. He started his military career in Syria with his father, then moved to the Rhine. He became guardian of his cousin’s children, one of whom was Hadrian- spoiler alert! He was a good choice for Emperor, because he was a successful military leader. Pliny is almost nauseating in his praise of Trajan, but he was generally regarded as virile and active. His accession to become Emperor was largely violence free (except for the murder of some potential enemies), and he promised to work well with the Senate. Episode XLVI Trajan vs Dacia sees Trajan heading off to Dacia (present day Romania), at a time when the Roman Empire was at its largest extent. Dacia was a client kingdom, headed by the Dacian king Decebalus. Trajan had a victory in the First Dacian War 101-102 CE, then headed back in 105CE when Decabalus started sabre-rattling again. Trajan built a huge bridge across the Danube as a statement of strength, and leveled the capital. The defeat of Dacia brought huge wealth into Rome, and Trajan partied with a 120-day triumph.
File on 4.(BBC) Three Friends Emily, Nadia and Christie met each other when they were admitted as 18 year olds to the Tees Esk and Wear Valley Mental Health Trust with severe mental problems. They all died within 8 months of each other, in a medical environment that did not keep them safe. Their families are left blaming themselves, and the hospital.
Lectures in History (C-Span) Gays and Lesbians in Colonial America. This lecture in a university seminar class is given by Santa Clara University professor Nancy Unger. She starts off by challenging the denial of homosexuality by many African-Americans (particularly religious African-American groups) and Africans who claim that homosexuality was “un-African”. Instead, she argues, there was an African tradition of boy-wives. She argues that in early 17th century American colonies, there was a recognition of same-sex relationships among slaves. At this early stage, there was no emphasis on reproduction as there was later, and so same-sex relationships were tolerated. As time went on, the official view was that homosexuality was unacceptable, and amongst colonists it was a capital offence. But there were only two men executed, partially because the law required two witnesses and also because there was a labour shortage at the time. She then goes on to look at case studies of gay and trans-sexual court cases. One was of Nicholas Sension in 1677, who despite his high status and marriage, had a 30 year history of homosexuality. The court case was reluctantly brought because the community was concerned that he was bringing them into disrepute. Steven Broughton was a church leader, who was voted back into his leadership position by 2/3 of the congregation when he was reported. Thomas/Thomasina Hall was declared to be both a man and a woman because of their ambiguous genitalia.
Take Me To Your Leader (ABC) Vladimir Putin I’ve heard few podcasts and seen a few documentaries since the Ukraine invasion about Vladimir Putin, but this one was particularly interesting because Hamish Macdonald talks with former (?) ABC journalist Monica Attard, who has a rather different perspective on Ukraine than we usually get. All of the guests agreed that Putin was likely to continue as President up to his death.