inclusionary religious term

David Bergdahl bergdahl at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Thu Dec 2 02:45:22 UTC 1999

On Wed, 1 Dec 1999 RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:

> Arnold Zwicky wrote:
> <<during the past century in the u.s., jews have become
> "white" - and have gotten a kind of honorary christianity
> as well, in references to "judeo-christian" values and
> traditions - but arabs have not (at least not in folk
> usage; the practices of official agencies like the census
> bureau and the eoc are another matter).>>
> I have a friend in the Duke Religion Department who teaches courses on
> Buddhism; he speaks (somewhat disdainfully?) of the
> (hegemonic-in-his-Religion-Department) "Abrahamic tradition"--a cover term
> for Moslems, Jews, and Christians (I'm not sure what place "Arabs" play in a
> religious discussion, since being an "Arab" is not a necessary nor sufficient
> condition for being a Moslem.
"People of the book" is the PR term for
inclusive-Middle-Eastern-religions: while Arab is a linguistic label
(which made the Iranian hostage situation difficult for us since the
"arabs" were as Indo-European as we...) the overlap between
Arabic-speaking and Muslim is enough for the
one term to refer to the other.  The fact that most Muslims in the
world are Indonesian or Malay doesn't seem to bother most people.  I
think Arnold is playing with the entrancing book title "How the Irish
Became White."  Cf. the Roy Cohn speech in "Angels in America" on the
label "homosexual."
David Bergdahl          Ellis Hall 366         Ohio University / Athens
Associate Prof/English  tel:  (740) 593-2783   fax:  (740) 593-2818
                        bergdahl at

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