Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Louis Ruprecht
A criminal is thrown from a high cliff into the sea. He has been
covered in feathers, live birds attached to him to slow his fall.
Fishermen wait below, hopeful of being able to carry him safely away.
The people are punishing the criminal with death, yet simultaneously
rooting for his survival. This startling image from Strabo, with its
delicious ironic tension, is the center‐piece of “Civic Poetics.” The thesis
consists of a cycle of poems imagining life in a city where this bizarre
ritual is performed, coupled with a number of essays written for several
Religious Studies courses on related themes. The interplay of
poetry and essay aims to illuminate the experience of my own journey
from criminal outsider to re‐integrated citizen. The lenses of (1) my own
experiences in 21st century Atlanta and (2) poetic imaginative
reconstruction of this ancient ritual reveal a startling picture: a
criminal’s relations with the divine, as mediated by his state, and a
state’s relations with the divine as mediated by its criminals.
Baumunk, Jason H., "Civic Poetics: A Criminal's Relations With the Divine as Mediated by the Polis- A Polis' Relations with the Divine as Mediated by its Criminals" (2012). Religious Studies Honors Theses. Paper 7.