ETHICS AND PESTILENCE

Discerning the Greater Common Good and Mutual Reciprocity

  • Etienne Rassendren St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru
Keywords: Ethics, Good, Morality, Reciprocity, Species-centricity

Abstract

This article explores the question of ethics in times of pestilence as during Covid-19, via the ideas of Simon Blackburn, Jean Paul Sartre, and Henry Louis Gates Jr; it employs the representational notions of Gayatri Spivak and Stuart Hall as ways of seeing, so as to map and evaluate Biblical-Hebrew Exodus stories in relation to the current Covid-19 pandemic. This exploration also attempts to respond principally to the questions: what then is the place of the greater common good as ethic in the current experience? And what kind of ethics could be delivered in such a context? The article simultaneously argues that there is a close similarity between the Egyptian plague experience and the current pestilence, and that social action based on the ethics of common good and bio-centric mutual reciprocity are adequate responses for restoring current society to its ethical orientation and practice. In its conclusion, the article points to ideas that make transparent the article’s significance.

Author Biography

Etienne Rassendren, St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru

Dr Etienne Rassendren teaches English at St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru. His current academic interests are South Asian Studies, Critical Theory and Cultural Studies.

References

Ashcroft, Bill, Griffiths, Gareth, and Tiffin, Helen. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-colonial Literatures. New York: Routledge, 1989.

Bacigalupo, Ana M. “Mapuche Struggles to obliterate Dominant History: Mythohistory, Spiritual Agency and Shamanic Historical Consciousness in Southern Chile.” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power London: Routledge, 2013 16 January 2020.

Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Holquist, Michael. Trans. Emerson Caryl and Holquist, Michael. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981.

Blackburn, Simon. Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Bretens, Hans. Literary Theory: The Basics. London: Routledge, 2001.

Burney, Shehla. “Conceptual Frameworks in Postcolonial Theory: Applications for Educational Critique.” Counterpoints, PEDAGOGY of the Other: Edward Said, Postcolonial Theory, and Strategies for Critique 417 (2012), 173-193.

Derrida, Jacques. “Structure, “Sign and Play in the Discourse of Human Sciences.” Writing and Difference. Trans. Bass, Alain, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978, 278-293.

De Troyer, Kristin. “Doing Good and Bad: Links between Exodus and the Deutero-canonical Books.” Exodus: Rezeptionen in deuterokanonischer und frühjüdischer Literatur. Ed. Judith Gärtner and Barbara Schmitz. New York: De Gruyter 2016, 89-99.

Ehrenkranz N. Joel and Sampson, A Deborah. “Origin of the Old Testament Plagues: Explications and Implications.” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 81 (2008): 31-42.

Facci, Anthony S. “Foreword.” Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues Volume 1, A–M. Ed. Byrne, Joseph P., London: Greenwood Publishing, 2008.

Gates, Jr, Henry Louis. “Ethics and Ethnicity.” Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 51.1 (Sep. - Oct., 1997): 36-53.

Gruen, Erich S. “The Use and Abuse of the Exodus Story.” The Construct of Identity in Hellenistic Judaism: Essays on Early Jewish Literature and History. Boston: De Gruyter, 2016.

Hall, Stuart. “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. Ed. Rutherford, Jonathan. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1990, 222-237.

Hallo, William W. “Exodus.” The Book of the People Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2020

Kipling, Rudyard. The Second Jungle Book. New York: The Century, 1906 5 May 2020.

Marx, Karl. The German Ideology: Including Theses on Feuerbach and Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy New York: Prometheus Books, 1998.

Neusner, Jacob. The Emergence of Judaism. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2004.

Moore, Megan B. and Kelle, Brad E. Biblical History and Israel’s Past: The changing Study of the Bible and History. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2011.

Sartre, Jean Paul. Notebooks for an Ethics. Trans. Pellauer, David. London: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Schmid, Konrad. “Genesis and Exodus as Two Formerly Independent Traditions of Origins for Ancient Israel.” Biblica 93. 2 (2012):187-208.

Seshan, Suprabha. “Locking down Leviathan.” Counter Currents.Org April 29, 2020 2 May 2020.

Spivak, Gayatri C. “Can the Subaltern Speak.” Marxism and Interpretation of Culture. Eds. Nelson, C. and Grossberg, L. Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 1988, 271-313.

Trevisanato, Siro Igino. “Ancient Egyptian Doctors and the Nature of the Biblical Plagues.” Medical Hypotheses 65, (2005): 811–813 28 May 2020.

Wasman, Olivia. “Did the 10 Plagues of Egypt Really Happen? Here are 3 Theories.” Time, March 2, 2020.

Zain Ridling. Ed. The Bible (NRSV) Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches, 1989.

Published
2020-06-11
How to Cite
Rassendren, E. (2020). ETHICS AND PESTILENCE . Journal of Dharma, 45(2), 279-298. Retrieved from http://dvkjournals.in/index.php/jd/article/view/2851