The Humanistic Tradition I

From the Ancient World to The Reformation

The Humanistic Tradition:  Study Questions.
Chapter 8: A Flowering of Faith: Christianity; Chapter 9: The Language of Faith: Symbolism and the Arts.

1. Describe the historical, intellectual, political, and social framework in which Christianity originated.  How did these factors influence the development of this new religion?  Describe the key elements of the message taught by Jesus.

2. What was the contribution of Paul to the development of the Christian religion?  How did Paul’s theology differ from the message of Jesus?

3. Describe the development of Christian religion between the Crucifixion and the Edict of Milian (AD 313).  How was Christianity transformed after the Edict of Milan?  What is the content and significance of the Nicene Creed?  How did Christianity become the official religion of the Roman Empire?  What was the contribution of the Church Fathers? Identify specific aspects of Roman culture borrowed by Christianity.

4. Christian art and architecture is symbolic.  Why did the Christians develop this complex symbolic language for their art and architecture?  Describe three examples of Christian symbolism.  Which elements of Roman art and architecture were retained and transformed by the Christians?  How was the basilica adapted for Christian purposes?

5. Describe the major features of Byzantine art and architecture.  How is it different from the Roman Christian style (look the architecture and the decoration of the Hagia Sophia and San Vitale, especially the mosaics in the latter)?

6. Describe the main features of Early Christian Music (Gregorian and Ambrosian Chant).

7. The Judeo-Christian Tradition is the second of the cultural roots that make up the Western cultural and intellectual tradition.  Compare and contrast it with the Classical Tradition (the first cultural root).  How is it similar, how is it different?  Explain why the Christian Church Fathers preserved the Classical Tradition and incorporated it into Christianity.  Why consequences have resulted from this blending of the Classical and Judeo-Christian traditions?

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Last Update:  23.VIII.2006

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