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HonorsŐ Freshman Sequence

HHI 21: Identity: Self in the World

Fall 2009

Themes/Discussion Handout


Monday, October 19

Understanding Self and Society in China: Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism

Text: Chapter 4, pp. 89-105

Sources: Confucius (pp. 215-21), Taoism (pp. 222-30)

Discussion Exercise: All students have to write down on a piece of paper the three or four main elements of Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism and be ready to apply them contemporary, real world solutions.  Professor will check for homework at the start of class.


Wednesday, October 21

Religious Identities in India: Hinduism and Buddhism

Text: Chapter 3 (pp. 63-78)

Sources: Bhagavad Gita (pp. 231-45), Buddhism (pp. 246-58).

1)      What are the principal characteristics of Mahayana Buddhism?

2)      What are the principal beliefs of Hinduism?

3)      What is the ultimate goal of Hinduism?  How is it achieved?

4)      What is the ultimate goal of Buddhism? How is it achieved?

5)      What are Bodhisattvas?  What is their function?

6)      Which of the two ways of life is more related to society and to the self?


Friday, October 23

Roman Religion and the Origins of Christianity

Text: Chapter 8 (pp. 198-200)

Gospel of Matthew: 1-7, 25: 31-46; 26-28.

1)      What does the Sermon on the Mount say about the focus of Christianity?

2)      What is required to get into Heaven according to JesusŐ description of the Last Judgement?  What does this say about JesusŐ view of what is just?

3)      How is the figure of Pontius Pilate presented in Matthew?  Can you think of any alternative interpretations?

4)      How is a crucifixion performed?  Why were the Romans so keen on controlling this process?