Wednesday & Thursday Sept. 21 & 22, 2011

Quote of the Day:  "Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." - William James, American psychologist and philosopher (1842 - 1910)

Learning Targets:
  • How would you compare the lives and teachings of Jesus and the Buddha? In what different ways did the two religions evolve after the deaths of their founders?
  • In what ways was Christianity transformed in the five centuries following the death of Jesus?
  • What aspects of Zoroastrianism and Judaism subsequently found a place in Christianity and Islam?
  • What was distinctive about the Jewish religious tradition?
1. DO NOW QUESTIONS: Choose one of the two Big Picture Questions and answer as completely as you can:
  • “Religion is a double-edged sword, both supporting and undermining political authority and social elites.” How would you support both sides of this statement?
  • How would you define the appeal of the religious/cultural traditions discussed in this chapter? To what groups were they attractive, and why?
Write out your answer in your notes.
(This week the Big Idea questions from Strayer will be our Do Now questions. You also have the opportunity to answer one of them in essay form for extra credit on the test. It is due just before the test on Friday.)

2. Students will do document study from Strayer 5 in groups. We will discuss the documents and compare the religious traditions for the first 50 minutes of the class period.

I. Confucius Analects
II. Bagavad Gita
III. Plato's Apology
IV. The Gospel of Matthew
V. Visual Sources - The Buddha

Focus on these questions:

Using the Evidence:

The Good Life in Classical Eurasia
  • Making comparisons: In describing the “good life” or the “good society,” what commonalities do you see among these four documents? What differences are apparent? How might the authors of each text respond to the ideas of the others?
  • Placing texts in context: In what ways was each of these texts reacting against the conventional wisdom of their times? How was each shaped by the social and political circumstances in which they were composed?
  • Relating spirituality and behavior: What is the relationship between religion (the transcendent realm of the gods or the divine) and moral behavior on earth in each of these documents? How does the “good life” relate to politics?
  • Defining the “good person”: How do each of these texts characterize the superior person or the fully realized human being? How do they define personal virtue?
3. Notes & Discussion: Monotheistic Religious traditions. The final portion of the period will be discussion about the monotheistic traditions: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity.

Extra Credit - Big Question Essay due before the test Friday.