hey, you guys can also post the answers to margin questions on here, too. it's not cheating! :)
Hey guys, hope your enjoying Strayer! Here are the first few MQs and the answers I got, any comments/help are welcome!
1. What different answers to the problem of disorder arose in classical China?
-Legalism (the strict enforcing of laws on the Chinese population, with great rewards and harsh punishments)
-Confucianism (the right behavior of superiors would motivate obedience from inferiors, thus achieving harmony)
-Daoism (escaping from political and social activism, a public life, and efforts of self-improvement to withdraw into nature and live naturally and individually, thus achieving harmony with nature)
2. Why has Confucianism been defined as a "humanistic philosophy" rather than a supernatural religion?
-Confucianism teaching was more focused on improving one's moral state, social harmony, and government rather than focusing on supernatural deities. While Confucius encouraged participation in spiritual rituals, the concept of spiritual beings was not incorporated into his teachings. It was seen as "humanistic" because the central role of Confucianism was achieving harmony in human relationships.
3. How did the Daoist outlook differ from that of Confucianism?
-Lived in small communities rather than large groups
-Abandoned efforts of self-improvement
-Sought to align themselves with the way of nature rather than achieve social harmony in human communities
-Believed in Dao as central concept of Daoism
Looks good Sam. I would just make sure you have a broader definition of "humanism" and also, you'r answer should more completely define what exactly the "Dao" is.
Because Buddhism didn't see God or anything supernatural as necessary to reach nirvana, could it also be defined as a "humanistic philosophy" like Confucianism, even though it shares many characteristics with Hinduism?
Yeah, absolutely. We can talk about this in class.
Or maybe the correct question would be: Why isn't Buddhism seen as a "humanistic philosophy"?
My God, I'm so disappointed by your performance on Strayer 4
I'm actually embarrassed for you. Sad. I'll have to curve the grades just to keep you from failing on progress reports.
I am a little confused as to why Strayer discusses Buddha being incorporated into Hinduism , yet it was considered a totally separate religion. (The section titled, "Hinduism as a Religion of Duty and Devotion).
It is still its own religion but it was absorbed into Hinduism (in its Mahayana form) in India after its decline there and its spread into the rest of Asia.
This was during Hinduism's revival, when it started to tolerate other ideas. In order to absorb the failing Buddhism and bring in its followers, it brought in Buddha as a branch of one of their gods.
Thanks to you both!
Sorry if this is a little late! While answering the margin questions, I got stumped on the correct way to answer the question on page 140. It asks what was distinctive about the Jewish religious tradition. Now, it begins with a paragraph stating traditions that were recorded in the Old Testament (which go on to mention the history of the Jewish people). However, the section on Judaism later talks about what made Judaism different from any other monotheistic religion. I was unsure of if both areas of the section were to be included in the answer or just the traditions in the Old Testament.
Hi Chloe, I believe that what Strayer is trying to get at is, is that it was started from such a small group of people with such and interesting and unique background like their exodus in Egypt and exile in Babylon. They were focused more on creating religious traditions than large empires.
And maybe that they were the first monotheistic religion centered upon Yahweh, with which they could communicate, and who was not connected to nature.
Is it possible that it's referring to the Jewish belief that Yahweh is actually untouchable in his perfection, which was unlike most gods of this time who the people saw as humanlike? Other than monotheism, this is the most striking contrast I can find about Judaism.
Okay, okay, let me get you guys on track with this one...
-Unlike other Mesopotamian peoples, the Jewish people through time came to believe in a single god, whom they called Yahweh. (Remember, Abraham migrated from Mesopotamia to "Israel") So far so good guys.
-The Jews came to understand their relationship with Yahweh as a contract or covenant. In return for their sole devotion and obedience, Yahweh would consider the Jews his chosen people.
-Unlike other gods in Mesopotamia, Yahweh was increasingly seen as a lofty, transcendent deity of utter holiness and purity, set far above the world of nature, which he had created.
-Unlike the impersonal conceptions of ultimate reality found in Daoism and Hinduism, Yahweh was encountered as a divine person with whom people could actively communicate. He was also a god who acted within the historical process. You know, he's paying attention in the here and now.
-Yahweh was also distinctive in that he was transformed from a god of war into a god of social justice and compassion for the poor and marginalized. Very appropriate for a people who had been enslaved by both the Mesopotamian's (Babylonian captivity) and the Egyptians (the whole Moses leading the people to the promised land thing.)
You have to understand that Judiasm, like the other universalizing religions, has an appeal to the common people, not just the educated upper classes. This is new. This is why we think of this period as the Axial Age, when civilization pivots and turn in a new direction that resonates in our own times.
You didn't mention anything about the enslavement of the Jews and the splitting of the small state which the Jews had established after escaping Egypt. Would you not think that the establishment of the religion is a distinction on why it was so different? Or should we just focus on their conception of god?
So I have a question about what Strayer means when he first mentions filial piety. He says "Filial piety, the honoring of one's ancestors and parents, was both and end in itself and a training ground for the reverence due to the emperor and the state officials." By this does he mean the concept of filial piety helped to support the belief that the emperor and officials were part of this familial hierarchy, and that they were the top, essentially deserving the most reverence and also to set the moral example? Help clarify please :D
Yes, I'm pretty sure that that's what he means. Just that filial piety was a microcosm for how a subject should respect their ruler. Ex: A son is inferior to the father and submits to him, just like a subject is inferior to and should submit to a ruler. Did this help at all?
Yes thank you!
I'm slightly confused on two of the margin questions; the first asks how the religions of Buddhism and Christianity evolved after their leader's deaths. I'm not sure if the question is literal or if it's some figurative meaning about the diffusion of the religion into other parts of the world considering they're both worldwide practiced religions.
The second asks the distinctive features of Greek intellectual tradition. Is this question referring to the philosophers' way of thinking (ie, their emphasis on logic, argument, and questioning of what they were being taught) or possibly a bigger picture I missed in the text?
Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the first question is asking the literal question of what happened after the death of both Buddha and Jesus. For example, how the religions diffused and how their followers treated the founders (both of them treated as gods).
I do think you need to take into account the bigger picture that Strayer is trying to communicate, but you still need to know the way these intellectuals were thinking and teaching. It's important to know that they were focused on more rational thinking than a religious explanation. The more you know about each of these two subjects, the better.
Great analysis Chloe!
I'll take on the Greek tradition one for you. Pretty straightforward:
-Emphasis on argument and logic
-Relentless questioning of received wisdom (Socrates baby!)
-Confidence in human reason (Man is the measure of all things!)
-Enthusiasm for figuring out the world without much reference to the gods
On the subject of Buddhism's decline and assimilation into Hinduism:
Strayer's first explanation to why Buddhism declined is that the wealth of monasteries and economic interest of leaders separated them from ordinary people.
It may be me, but I would think more wealth for monasteries would elevate Buddhism because leaders would be working in the religions best interest?
Is it that the wealth made the leaders of monasteries less able to relate to ordinary people creating a gap them from their followers?
*"creating a gap between them and their followers?"*-type error:(
Yes, it removed some of the egalitarian aspects of the religion because it moved the monastery to a higher level than many of the followers. It also capitalized on the sense of some kind of religious authority, a concept originally rejected by Buddhism. I hope this was coherent.
Hi guys, I did a few margin questions and here are my answers. Please comment if there is something that needs more or if something is missing.
1a. (pg.135) In what ways did Buddhism reflect Hindu traditions, and in what ways did it challenge them?
-the idea that ordinary life is an illusion
-the concepts of karma and rebirth
-goal of overcoming the incessant ego demands
-hope for the final release from the cycle of rebirth
1b. -rejecting religious authority of the Brahmins
-Buddha ridiculed Hindi rituals and sacrifices
-argued that neither caste position nor gender was a barrier to enlightenment
2.What is the difference between the Theravada and Mahayana expressions of Buddhism?
-portrayed Buddha as a wise teacher and model, but not divine
-more psychological than religious
-practices rather than beliefs
3. What new emphasis characterized Hinduism as it responded to the challenge of Buddhism?
-action in the world
-detached form of the caste system
-the new king of Hinduism was more accessible than elaborate sacrifices or philosophical speculations
I think you're exactly right, except for number three. I'm not sure where you got your answers, and if their in the book please prove me wring, but I got instead:
ordinary people, not just priests, could make spiritual progress by selflessly performing their ordinary duties
“withdrawal and asceticism not only way to moksha”
another religious path was quickly becoming popular
devotion to a particular god or goddess
caused surprisingly few conflicts
Buddhism became another cult worshipping another god
Buddha incorporated into pantheon of gods
I would also add to number two that Mahayana was the more accessible form of Buddhism. It contained bodhisattvas, people who postponed their entry into nirvana to help others, and it allowed people to do things like donate to a monestery to gain salvation.
I was confused by the the big picture questions this chapter (except for 2). I'll put my best shot below, but could you guys tell me what you got?
1. No, simply put. I'm not sure here, though. The quiz for Strayer 5 (for form A, at least) said that all philosophies and religions of the classical era "sought to define a single source of order and meaning in the universe." This pretty much says the same thing as the statement, but the chapter itself seems to prove the opposite.
2. Greek rationalism, Confucianism, Theravada Buddhism, and (mostly) Daoism all looked at the world in a largely secular manor, and did not explain phenomena as simply the will of the Gods.
3. Kings have used religion as a justification for their rule since the beginning of civilization, namely because it gives them more credibility and reduces the chance of a peasant revolt. However, religion has often gotten out of the hands of the government, and can very easily work against the rulers if they do something that is against what is taught by the religion or simply if a radical religion gains enough popularity to topple the government or convert it, as in the case of Christianity and Rome.
4. I'm not sure if this is how to answer this question, but... Buddhism appealed to the lower classes in India because it was a simpler, and more accessible version of Hinduism. Christianity gained popularity for similar reasons, as it allied itself with the poor and destitute. Judaism's appeal lay in it's unique perception of God, which appealed to certain people.
Zoroastrianism may have gained numbers simply on the radical idea expressed within it, I can't find anything else. Hinduism's appeal came from it's complexity and the options within it (later on) as well as it's rigidity and social order and loyalty.Legalism was never popular, but it was used for it's simplicity, clarity, and brutality, making it ideal for subjecting conquered peoples.Confucianism became so widespread because of it's order compared to the warring states period, and it appealed to those in power, because it reinforced their position. Daoist themes have been popular throughout human history, namely as an escape from civilization. Part of it's appeal may have also come from it's contrast with Confucianism. Greek rationalism is appealing because anyone can follow logic, and be taught to arrive at the same conclusions as anyone else. This meant they had to take much fewer facts on faith, which is frankly appealing and merges rather well with democratic ideas.
It is important to note that when talking about the appeal of a religion, large amounts of people stay in a religion simply because it is or has become part of their culture.
“Religions are fundamentally alike.” Does the material in this chapter support or undermine this idea?
This question can reasonably be answered either way:
In support of the thesis that religions are fundamentally alike, you could point to influences like that of Zoroastrianism on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam or the influence of Judaism on Christianity and Islam.
You could also note similarities across traditions, like those between Buddhism and Christianity highlighted in Strayer 5.
To emphasize differences, you could point to differences even within cultural traditions, such as the beliefs that separate the Hindu and Buddhist faiths.
You could also point to important differences across cultural traditions, such as the difference between the conception of
God in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Brahman in the Indian tradition, or the Dao in the Chinese tradition.
You could also note the difference between Greek and Confucian philosophy and the traditions that focus on the supernatural.
Big picture #2: "Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?"
Here's how I see it;
-The philosophical systems of both China and Greece are central to any possible answers.
-In China, Legalism possessed several features of a modern secular political philosophy in its reliance on law and the enforcement of law to secure a stable society. Think about our reading from Han Fei.
-The thrust of Confucian teaching was distinctly this-worldly and practical. Confucianism was primarily concerned with human relationships, with effective government, and with social harmony.
-Greek thought, with its emphasis on argument and logic, relentless questioning of received wisdom, confidence in human reason, and enthusiasm for puzzling out the world without much reference to the gods, also provides a precedent for modern secular outlooks on the world.
I mean really, these dudes were totaling laying the ground work for science and the "modern" world generally!
Okay, one more, then I'm going to go have a gin & tonic and hope you guys are going to get your act together!
"How would you define the appeal of the religious/cultural traditions discussed in this chapter? To what groups were they attractive, and why?"
Okay, some religious/cultural traditions, including Legalism and Confucianism, found widespread appeal among the elite because they reinforced the established social structure that defined the elites. Makes sense, right. I mean, apply your common sense one you have digested what's in the chapter.
Other traditions, like Buddhism and Christianity, appealed to the lower strata of society because they offered universal salvation to all believers regardless of class or gender. "Universal", get it?
Traditions such as Judaism appealed to all strata of one ethnic group because they defined a special relationship between that group and a powerful divine entity.(Yaweh)
However, each cultural and religious tradition explored in this chapter appealed to its adherents because it brought guidance for living along with meaning and order to life.
Thanks, that really helped!
Hi everyone, I just wanted to share a margin question answer and compare it with others.
What are the distinctive features of the Greek intellectual tradition?
"It's emphasis on argument, logic, and the relentless questioning of received wisdom; its confidence in human reason; its enthusiasm for puzzling out the world without much reference to gods," is a quote I found that I think sums up the answer. Is there anything that I am missing?
Aristotle repersented the epitome of Greek Knowing. While this is just a side note, one of the reasons he embodied the rationalism so well was his empirical observations, meaning guided by experiment or experience. Furthermore, the Greek also held virtue highly, but they believed it was something that could be taught and cultivated. While virtue is not unique to Greek culture/philosophies, it is important to note that it's roots are separate from Confucianism, which sees virtue in respecting the hierarchies of society (especially in the family) and the Judaic form of virtue, which is demanded by their god. Greek Virtue was thought to be taught. Hope this helped, feel free to shoot down anything not important or wrong
I am having problems with answering the big picture question #3 with religion being a double edged sword. So far I have that religion can undermine political authority when giving the elites rules to operate by (Mandate of Heaven), or criticizing political activism (Daoism). It can also support political authority by unifying a people under a common belief system, or emphasizing the importance of doing what the ruler says (Confucianism).
...I think I have it wrong so could someone please explain/clarify?
That seems right, you can also use the fact that religion served as means to topple, or change current government practices, such as the case of Christianity and Rome. Religion could also serve as a barrier to creating a unified state, as in the case of Hinduism with its caste system counter parts. It can also generate some range of concern and disagreement, meaning different sects of the religion can quarrel and fight. This was very much so evident in the East-West divide in the Christian church. The two sects of(eventual) Roman Catholicism and East Orthodox church split creating two separate empires. This is less manifested in other religions, such as Buddhism which did have arguments about the "correct" interpretation, but this was eventually eliminated by the assimilation of Buddhism back into the Hindu fold.
Wait, maybe I've had too much to drink (just kidding), but that seems backwards! And this is a really important question, because it gets at a concept you really need to understand from this class. The question is...
“"Religion is a double-edged sword, both supporting and undermining political authority and social elites.”" How would you support both sides of this statement?"
To answer this question you must consider the issue of what is and what is not a religion. Legalist and Confucian ideas along with Greek rationalism should be placed to one side, although you might note that (like religions) philosophies can both support and threaten political authorities and social elites. Both Legalist and Confucian traditions are pretty much supportive of political authorities and social elites, while Greek rationalism, as seen in Socrates’ death (he died like Jesus for your irrational sins!), could threaten the political and social elites. This is why I make administrators uncomfortable, because like Socrates, I want to corrupt you into thinking for yourselves!
In support of political and social authority, you could easily point to individual instances where new and popular religions were adopted by elites. Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism in Mauryan India is one example, the support of the Achaemenid dynasty for Zoroastrianism another. And, the adoption of Christianity by Constantine and the ultimate reinforcement of patriarchy by the Christian church speaks to the political and social support that a new religion could provide to established power structures. I mean, what more could they ask for?
More generally, the tendency of several religions to focus the believer’s attention away from action in this world also served to support political authority and social elites. I don't want to annoy any deeply religious people, but getting the masses focused on the next life is a great way to get people to do what you want them to do in this life, right? This was true of Daoism in China, Buddhism in India, and Christianity in the Roman Empire.
However, if followed, the teachings of many religions put real limits on political and social authorities. For instance, Ashoka’s adoption of Buddhism limited the scope for his legitimate use of violence, while dictates about the treatment of the poor and the equality of all believers in the Christian faith brought into question the social norms of Roman society. That's a real bummer for the people at the top of the food chain, right?
Religious leaders could end up being subversive to the current system, as the execution of Jesus by the Roman authorities indicates. Also, the teachings of a faith could potentially challenge established authorities.
For instance, the strict monotheism practiced by early Christians effectively precluded the worship of Roman gods, which traditionally was seen as a sign of obedience and loyalty to the Roman Empire.
See, you have to go deep into this stuff. Step one is understanding what Strayer has to offer, step two is to make sense of it, to put in to context, to apply your innate common sense. My job is to help you with that second part. Get it?
Thank you so much Mr. Bingham! Life makes so much sense now :)
I'm confused on what your saying on the first part. If you could verify my interpretation of your paragraph that would be great.
Legalism and Confucianism are supported by political authorities while Greek rationalism wasn't.
Legalism what supported because of it's intense version of unifying China with laws which were provided by state. Confucianism is supported by the superiors of the state and other unequel relationships which would create harmony. BUT neither of them were religious (as a whole, state religion sort of thing).
These 2 ideas differ from Buddhism and Christianity because they weren't fully developed on religion but more ideas?
I think I'm just making myself more confused so I'll stop there. HELP PLEASE!!
Hi, I'm having trouble understanding on page 132 when he talks about how a scholar could purse the Confucian project during the day, and follow Daoism fashion at night? I understand that they symbolize the yin and yang symbol, but how could one be both if their beliefs and ideas counter each other? Thanks in advance.
I think that the elite Chinese used the concept of yin and yang to find balance in their lives. So they may choose to follow the more strict principles of Confucianism at one point and time, and then in order to find balance they also needed to switch to getting in touch with nature, and being more relaxed about their lives.
Oh okay! Thank you so much it makes sense now.
Even though in theory the two ideas oppose each other, the Chinese saw them as complementing each other.
What new emphases characterized Hinduism as it responded to the challenge of Buddhism?
-Hinduism became widely accessible and popular in India because it was easier to partake in than elaborate sacrifices or philosophical speculations.
-Performance of caste duties could provide a path to liberation
-Ordinary people could become more spiritual by performing normal duties.
-Many gods/goddesses were now worshiped in Hinduism (bhakti movement)
-Hinduism did not exclude; it was welcoming
-Thus, Buddhism assimilated with Hinduism
Any feedback is appreciated. I found this question somewhat confusing, so if I missed anything please let me know.
What aspects of Zoroastrianism and Judaism subsequently found a place in Christianity and Islam?
-Zoroastianism was the first monotheistic religion, which provided a framework for its descendants.
-In Zoroastrianism, people were believed to exercise free will and had to choose between good and bad.
-The people who aligned with Ahura Mazda would acquire eternal life, while the people who aligned with Angra Mainyu, would be forever punished. This entire idea was reflected in Judaism after the Jews came to inhabit Persia and were influenced by Zoroastrian ideas. The conflict of God and Satan, the notion of a judgement day, the belief in the defeat of evil, the arrival of a savior, and the re-creation of the world all became Jewish beliefs.
-The concepts of Heaven and Hell, good and evil, free will to choose between good and bad, and a day of judgement became central beliefs of Christianity and Islam, as they were Judaism's successors.
This might be me just missing information but was there anything that Zoroastrianism gave to the world besides give ideas to Judaism and Christianity?
And just to internalize, the Zoros gave the idea of good and evil, god and counterpart (which was Ahura Mazda (God) and Angra Mainyu (counterpart) in Zoroastrianism), resurrected bodies, final defeat by evil, and remaking of the world at the end of time.
Anything would help!
Doesn't that sound very Judeo-Christian? Isn't that quite a bit to have given?
What more would you expect?
The third margin question goes like this: "In what ways did the religious in South West Asia change over the centuries?"
Is there any one particular way to answer this question? 'Cause to me is seems a little vague and foggy.
Any help is appreciated.
What I did for this margin question was go through the entire section of Cultural Traditions of Classical India, starting at South Asian Religion and going from there. As I read, I wrote down major changes in the religions, for example the Upanishads transforming Hinduism and Buddhism rising and falling in India. If you include much of the details that relate to the changes in religions, it actually adds up to a lot. Hope this helps!
Nothing tricky, just make a list.
There is an entire section devoted to Greek legacy, but I am still not quite clear on what it is. Is it the role it played in formulating Christian theology, fostering Europe's Scientific revolution, providing a starting point for European philosophy, and stimulating Muslim thinkers and scientists in astronomy, math, geography,and chemistry?
I think that you're right about the Greek Legacy, how it played roles in many important events and movements. A legacy is something handed down by many predecessors, and in this case the Greek Legacy, which was the whole reasoning, logic, and questioning received wisdom, was passed down as texts through the Roman Empire and into Europe (after a long time, though), Byzantium, and Islamic and Christian culture. Not only was Greek Legacy passed down, but it had an influence on the people in these places/cultures. Some examples are the ones you stated, stimulating Muslim thinkers and scientists, formulating Christian theology, and fostering Europe's Scientific Revolution. So the whole story of this section is basically how the Greek Legacy of logic and wisdom was passed on and how it influenced and played a role in cultures, revolutions, and movements in the future.
When Strayer says that Daoism and Confucianism complement each other, and that an individual can live by principles of both, does that mean that there was a part of the Chinese population that was neither Confucian or Daoist, but a combination of the two? Would they be classified in their own category? Or just as someone trying to live by good morals/principles?
I think this was answered earlier, but I'll see if I can help too! Both belief systems, while having some major differences between the too, almost seem like they'd conflict but they do not. Many people were able to follow the Confucian ideas by day but then stick to a more Daoist way of life at home. I wouldn't think that this would mean everyone followed this lifestyle, but it worked for many people. I would think some people just chose one of the two. Anyone can add on! I'm getting sleepy so this may not be 100 percent laconic and as detailed as it needs to be.
I am having a hard time answering the religious traditions of South Asia change over the centuries. My answer to the question was how it went from Hinduism with sacrifices and over powerful Brahmin to a philosophical challenge by Buddhism that was absorbed into Hinduism to connect with all people is India. Please help clarify.
I think you got it but its a little more than that. You could talk about Buddhisms Mahayana development that shifted it from a self effort humanistic philosophy to a more community religion of salvation. Also the Mahabharata and the Ramayana explained a new form of Hinduism emphasizing moreso selfless moral actions. Also how Bhakti intensely adored its deities and readily absorbed others including the Buddha.
So the margin question on pg. 146 is confusing me because the passage that it is based off of mainly talks about how the societies that practiced Christianity changed, not how the religion itself changed. I've isolated a few theories in my head, but I need some confirmation before the test.
1) it went from patriarchal practices to accepting women's rights
2) it went from being practiced secretly because followers were persecuted to being practiced by the state
3) it went from being practiced by poor people to being practiced by poor and wealthy people
Are these reasonable/acceptable?
I think you have an idea but I think it might be a little too vague.
Christianity went form being a small Jewish sect to allowing non-jewish(gentiles) to join. You're right about women going from having leadership roles to being subjugated to patriarchy within the church. You're also right about it going from the oppressed to the elites.
But you're missing the major event after Jesus' death thaat was the acceptance of the religion into the state and suppressing polytheistic religions via the roman empire.
Yes, I believe you are on the right track!
This is what I found:
- Accompanied by reports of miracles, healings, and the casting away of demons.
- Split between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholicism.
- Attracted converts by the way their members cared for one another.
- Developed hierarchical organization
- Frequent controversy about the nature of Jesus
- Began with Saint Paul
I hope this helps!
I am not in this school, but this section really helped me because we are doing the same thing in our WH class. So thanks!
Bingham: This forum is for us to engage with each other publicly about where we are struggling with the coursework and to offer each other solutions for what works for us.
Why Geography Matters More Than Ever