Explores ancient texts that articulate perennial issues, such as the nature of the human and the divine; virtue and the good life; the true, the just, and the beautiful; the difference between subjective opinion and objective knowledge. These texts exemplify basic modes of speech, literary forms, and patterns of thinking that establish the terminology of academic and intellectual discourse and critical thought across many different societies: epic, rhetoric, tragedy, poetry, epistemology, science, democracy, rationality, the soul, spirit, law, grace. Such terms have shaped the patterns of life, norms, and prejudices that human communities have continually challenged, criticized, and refashioned throughout history. To highlight both the dialogue and conflicts between the texts and the traditions they embody, this course, taught by a multidisciplinary staff and in an interdisciplinary manner, focuses on both the historical contexts of these texts and the ongoing retellings and reinterpretations of them through time. The course includes texts from the ancient Mediterranean world that have given rise to some of the philosophical, political, religious, and artistic traditions associated with “The West,” emphasizing that Western traditions were not formed in a vacuum but developed in dialogue and conflict with other traditions. Common to all sections of this component are classic works such as Homer, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, Plato, and a Roman text. Complementary texts or visual materials from the ancient period, in and beyond the Western world, and/or response texts from the medieval or contemporary periods are added by faculty in individual sections.
By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:
Exercise 1: Prior Knowledge Check (10 minutes)
Exercise 2: Simplified Timeline (20 minutes)
Exercise 3: In-Depth Timeline (20 minutes)
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