The Humanistic Tradition I

From the Ancient World to The Reformation

The Humanistic Tradition:  Study Questions.
Chapter 2: Mesopotamia: Gods, Rulers, and the Social Order.

1. Describe the characteristics of Mesopotamia religion and its gods.  How are they related to “geography, climate, and the realities of the natural environment”?  Describe how the Babylonian Creation and the Epic of Gilgamesh exemplify these characteristics.  How does Mesopotamian religion resemble the Egyptian?  How was it different?  Describe the nature and function of the ziggurat.

2. Describe the characteristics of the Mesopotamian political and social order.  What do the Head of Sargon I, the Standard of Ur, and the Stele of Hammurabi tell has about this political and social order?  What are the characteristics of Hammurabi’s law code?

3. Describe the characteristics of the Hebrew religion and its god (after Moses).  How are they related to “geography, climate, and the realities of the natural environment”?  Describe how the Old Testament exemplifies these characteristics.  How does the Hebrew religion resemble those of Egypt and Mesopotamia?  How was it different?

4. Virtually all cultures develop a concept of the afterlife and – perhaps – an “ideology of immortality”.  Describe the Hebrew concept of the afterlife and explain how it influenced Hebrew culture.  Compare it with that of the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians.  How does an “ideology of immortality” influence any culture or civilization?  What does a particular “ideology of immortality” tell us about a civilization or culture?

5. Describe the characteristics of the Assyrian and Persian Empires?  How are they similar?  How are they different?  What are the achievements of each people?



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Last Update:  23.VIII.2006

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