The second volume of HUMANITAS - Journal of the Faculty of Arts has just been published. Edited by Lydia Sciriha, this issue, like its predecessor, is bound to appeal to the interests of readers who have the study of the humanities at heart.
Stanley Fiorini presents an overview of the developments in the life of the village of Siggiewi during the Knights' period, with special emphasis on how the villagers' life is affected. These developments are placed in the context of the principal events that moulded the Islands' history - the arrival of the Order, the Great Siege, visitations of the plague and improved economic conditions and how these left their mark on village life.
Simon Mercieca explores the usage of titles and protocol that existed in Malta, in early modern times. He analysis the political implications behind the usage of titles, showing that behind the formality and exhibitionism of certain forms of address, lay a passive resistance against the foreign aristocratic rulers of Malta.
Mario Vassallo analyses the effect of modernization and globalization on small village communities. Problems of ultimate meaning can only be solved in the private sphere and within this context, the local community offers much, since it provides even in an environment that developed eclectic accretions, a unitary metacode for its members. Vassallo examines the extent to which this is true in small village communities.
Lydia Sciriha investigates aspects of positive politeness through the use of compliments paid by the Maltese in different settings. The data that this sociolinguistic study of compliment usage in Malta presents was acquired through the adoption of an ethnographic approach in which a corpus of naturally occurring compliments paid to individuals in different contexts.
Claude Mangion focuses on the status of myth and the possibilities it contributes to the revival of culture, an issue that occupied Nietzche's attention throughout his intellectual career. Mangion claims that the doctrines of the eternal recurrence and of the Ubermensch should be read as examples of mythical thinking, and goes on to show how myth functioned as the standard of measuring the 'health' of society and generating life-affirming attitudes.
Ivan Callus studies the claim that certain texts written by literary theorists defy categorisation. Neither critique nor fiction, and not even identifiable as a hybrid of both, such texts resist efforts to identify their generic affiliation. This paper reviews Jacques Derrida's The Post Card, and more particularly the section entitled "Envois", in the light of his essay "The Law of Genre".
Gloria-Lauri Lucente examines the themes of memory, oblivion and nostalgia in Trezza Azzopardi's The Hiding Place, focusing on Azzopardi's treatment of memory as an instrument of reclamation and retrieval in the search for selfhood. In the novel, memory is endowed with a redemptive power capable of transforming the outside into the inside, denial into acceptance and obscurity into revelation.
Carmen Depasquale treats various 18th century documents written and printed by some Knights who, having studied the Rule, recorded their observations and reflections for the benefit of other brethren who often neglected their religious duties and led a worldly life. The documents prescribe the spiritual and mundane norms that the Knights were to follow, their ultimate duty being that of sacrificing their lives for the interests of the Order.
Marisa Farrugia examines the well depicted elements of war and peace in the pre-Islamic Arabic poetry, mainly in the Mucallaqat. Tribal conflicts, raids and vengeance were the raison d'être of pagan Arab Bedouin life. However others preferred 'milk' than 'blood'. This paper seeks to explain the motives of the Bedouins' battles as illustrated in their oral poetry together with peace as the theme.
Horatio C. R. Vella analyses Jean Quentinís Insulae Melitae Descriptio (1536). Jean Quintin was a French Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, a priest, a traveller, a Professor of Canon Law and a writer. His description of Malta, written in 1533, is about how he saw it at the time the Knights first came to Malta, and about the classical and Pauline traditions related to it. This paper analyses the correctness of these traditions.
Martin Zammit presents an overview of the role played by the sea in various cosmogonies and cosmographies of the ancient Semitic peoples, also taking into consideration the Seaís function from the standpoint of the Semitic holy books. He discusses Maltese and Arabic proverbs, with a view to assessing the various connotations associated with the sea, and the extent to which they reflect the Semitic mythological and monotheistic heritage.
Copies of Humanitas - Journal of the Faculty of Arts are being sold at Lm5 per copy and may be obtained from Ms. Charlotte Cucciardi (Old Humanities: Room 350. Tel: 2340-2972).