World Religions and the Classical Age Codification and Development of Existing Religions



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World Religions and the Classical Age

Codification and Development of Existing Religions

  • Judaism
    • Hebrew Scriptures reflect the influence of Mesopotamian cultural and legal traditions
    • Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans conquered Jewish states
      • Contributed to diasporic communities

Codification and Development of Existing Religions

  • Hinduism
    • Sanskrit scriptures = Vedas contribute to:
      • Social and political roles within caste system
  • promoted reincarnation doctrine

New Belief Systems

  • Buddhism – founded on beliefs concerning desires, suffering, and the search for enlightenment by Siddhartha Gautama.
    • Spread via Ashoka (Mauryan Emperor), missionaries, merchants
    • Stressed Monasticism

New Belief Systems

  • Christianity – founded on teachings and divinity of Jesus of Nazareth.
    • Despite Roman hostility, spreads via
    • missionaries and merchants
    • Gained support in Rome
    • via Emperor Constantine’s conversion
    • Monasticism

Read the following passage that compares Christianity and Buddhism

  • Using both the reading and the notes, complete the diagram
  • Purpose: How was it possible that these diametrically opposed religions managed each create a mass following during this time?
  • Compare Essay Toolbox
  • First step in preparing to write a compare essay is to carefully examine what the question is asking you to compare and what topic or topics will be used as the
  • source(es) of comparison.
  • For example: Compare and Contrast the major beliefs and spread of Christianity and Buddhism
  • What is to be compared?
  • __________________________________________
  • What is the topic or topics of comparison? ________________________________
  • Christianity and Buddhism
  • Major Beliefs, Spread
  • Second step is to identify the most significant similarities and differences within each topic
  • Third step is to provide evidence of these similarities and differences. This can be key events, developments, dates or the work of a key figure.
  • Finally, the fourth step is to analyze the reasons for the similarity and difference.
  • Do not write an essay that dedicates one paragraph to similarities and one paragraph to differences or one paragraph each about what is being compared. You must generate direct comparisons. These method tend to create indirect comparisons
  • Sometimes compare questions will not contain topics. In this case you must develop your own. They should be broad enough to apply to both civilizations and contain similarities and differences. This is what we will do for our first compare essay of the year
  • Let’s examine some thesis statements below based on the question above:
  • Make sure the thesis contains the following:
  • 1. Addresses the themes and /or issues—In another words what is being compared and the topics that will be used to do the comparing
  • 2. Specify at least one similarity and one difference. Try to use the most striking and significant ones available.
  • 3. Insert analysis. This helps to add sophistication to a thesis statement. Remember analysis means a reason for these comparisons
  • Incomplete/ poor thesis statements: There were many similarities and differences between Christianity and Buddhism. What is missing from the numbers above?__________________
  • Incomplete/ average thesis statement: There were many similarities and differences, in terms of major beliefs and reasons for its spread, between Christianity and Buddhism. What is missing from the numbers above?____________________
  • 1. Topics 2. Sim. Diff. 3. Analysis
  • 2. Sim./Diff. 3. Analysis
  • Your task is to improve upon the thesis statements written on the previous page and write an effective thesis that serves as a road map to the rest of our essay. Start with specifying your similarities and differences in the chart below.
  • Topics
  • Most striking and significant similarity
  • 1. Major Beliefs of Buddhism and Christianity
  • 2. Spread of Buddhism and Christianity
  • Think about beginning a thesis statement with words like although, whereas, while, similar to, different from, both etc. Write your thesis statement on the lines below.
  • __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

New Belief Systems

  • Confucianism – founded to promote social harmony by outlining proper rituals and social relationships.
    • --Helpful in maintaining order in society
      • Stressed importance of roles in the 5 relationships
      • Filial Piety

New Belief Systems

  • Daoism – founded on the belief that balance between humans and nature is supreme.
    • --Influenced Chinese culture in terms of:
      • Poetry
      • Architecture
      • Medical theories and practices

Cultural Traditions

  • Greco-Roman philosophy and science emphasized:
  • Shamanism and animism continued because of reliance on outside world
  • Plato’s political philosophy
  • Aristotle’s metaphysics
  • Questioning of religion
  • Belief that natural events are explained by spirits inhabiting objects and animals

Cultural Traditions

  • Ancestor veneration
    • Africa-
    • Mediterranean
    • East Asia-
    • Andean States
  • Storytelling
  • Confucian tradition-Filial Piety

Other Impacts

  • Gender Roles
  • Artistic Expression
    • Literature and Drama
    • Architectural Styles
      • Greco-Roman and Buddhist Sculptures
  • Mythology
  • Bhagavad Gita
  • (Columns and Arches)

Cultural Traditions

  • Greco-Roman philosophy and science emphasized:
  • Shamanism and animism continued because of reliance on outside world.


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