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HonorsÕ Freshman Sequence

HHI 21: Identity: Self in the World

Fall 2009

Themes/Discussion Handout


Monday, September 14

Mesopotamia and Egypt: Establishing Identities

Textbook: chap. 2, pp. 23-47.


1)       What was Mesopotamian religion like and why did it play such an important part in their society?

2)       What was the relationship between gods and humans?

3)       What tools did the successive Mesopotamian societies use to establish senses of community and individuality?


4)       What were some of the characteristics of Egyptian religion?

5)       How was Egyptian society and government organized?

6)       What was the role of the individual?


7)       What enabled these empires to rule such large populations/areas successfully?


Wednesday, September 16

Mesopotamia and Egypt: Self in Political and Spiritual Life

Sourcebook (pp. 5-30):

Epic of Gilgamesh

1)       What can you find in this poem that can give you information regarding Mesopotamian life and society? (Hint: How can you use this poem to find out about real life?).

Egyptian Religion

2)       Why is the Nile so important for the Egyptian community? Who benefits? Who is in charge?

3)       Why is the sun so important for the Egyptian community? Who benefits? Who is in charge?

Code of Hammurabi (find specific examples within the text)

4)       What were the threats to daily life in the ancient Near East?

5)       How does the code attempt to deal with these?

6)       How are disputes solved?

7)       Does the Code privilege anyone?


Friday, September 18

The Ancient Hebrews: Early Monotheism

Textbook, chap. 2, pp. 48-51; Genesis chaps. 1-9; 11: 27-32; 12, 15-18, 21-22.

1)       What methods did the Hebrews utilize come together as a people?

2)       What is monotheism? What is the implication of this belief for Hebrews and others?

3)       Why seven days?

4)       What does the story of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil say about the place of humans in the world?

5)       Considering the stories of Noah and the flood, AbrahamÕs covenant and interactions with Yahweh, what is the relationship between humans and God?