Topic/Prompt: All of the pieces we have considered so far contain the theme/idea of consequences for actions. Pick two pieces from Unit I to analyze in this essay. Briefly analyze (showing similarities and differences) how each piece deals with the above : Essay Fountain


 those are the topic… among 4 you can choose any one

The Hebrew Bible (Selections from the OT)

Short Answer/Multiple Choice:

·          Two parts of the Bible – Old Testament (39 books) and New Testament (27 books) for a total of 66 books; this makes up ‘God’s revelation to man.’

·          OT – sacred writings of the ancient Hebrews associated with the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

·          All three religions stress ONE God (e.g. first of the Ten Commandments).

·          OT contains a variety of literary genres – stories, poetry, songs, history, prophecy (know any 3)

·          Major focus of the OT – the characteristics and ways of God (especially in relation to the Israelites)

Noah and the Flood:

·          Reason God regretted making mankind

·          Noah, wife, three sons and their wives

·          Character of Noah

·          Flood, ark, what to take in the ark, 40 days

·          God’s command to Noah after the flood

·          God’s promise to Noah and significance of the rainbow

Abraham & Isaac:

·          God’s test for Abraham & Abraham’s reaction

·          God’s intervention & promise to Abraham

Essay:

·          One aspect of the story of Noah and the Flood focuses on God’s punishment. Do you think destroying the world with a flood was justified or do you think it was too extreme? What do you think was God’s rationale in doing so? Why do you think God chose water as the instrument of punishment? Suppose you were in God’s place, what form of punishment would you have chosen? Why? Do you think the animals also deserved to be punished? Why or why not? Finally, think about various punishments given in our society today. Do you think punishments serve any useful purpose? Or are they just a form of control and power by those in authority? Give specific examples to support your answer.

 

·          Another aspect of the story of Noah and the Flood focuses on Noah and his family’s salvation in the midst of God’s punishment. What does this reveal about the character of God? Is God’s sparing of Noah and his family consistent with his desire to destroy the world? Analyze the words/expressions used to describe Noah’s character. What do you think they mean in relation to the kind of person he was? What explanation could there be for the difference in his character from the other people? Finally, we are not told anything regarding the character of Noah’s family. Did they deserve to be saved? If so, why? If not, why not?

 

 

·          Both Noah and Abraham exhibited a measure of faith in God. Compare and contrast their faith as found in the assigned pieces. Why do you think they had such faith in God? Who do you think exhibited greater faith? Why? Analyze faith in your own life/experience. Do you have faith in someone or something? If so, who/what? If not, why not? Would you be willing to go to the extent that Noah and Abraham did? Why or why not? Finally, do you think people today misuse faith or confuse faith with something else? Give specific reasons to support your answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aesop

Short Answer/Multiple Choice:

·          Meaning of ‘fable’ – a short story, usually involving animals or inanimate objects, with the purpose of conveying a moral lesson

·          Part of ancient Greco-Roman world; mainly aimed at ordinary people, not high class

·          Presented in modern world as children’s stories, though not originally intended/seen that way

·          Consisted of anecdotes, proverbs, animal stories, jokes, and morality tales (know any 3)

·          Not much known regarding the identity of Aesop; fables most likely a collection compiled by many authors at different times

·          Fables combine elements from other cultures such as Egypt and India as well (e.g. animals not native to Greece)

·          Role of fables in ancient Greece/Rome – shared over meals, spoken by various people such as poets, comedians, philosophers, politicians, orators, and historians (know any 3)

·          Reason for popularity of fables – can appeal to all types and cultures of people

 

 

Essay:

·          Pick any two or three of the fables from the assigned reading and explain/analyze the moral(s)/teaching(s) found in them. How true/relevant do you think the moral(s)/ teaching(s) is/are in your own life and today’s society? Give specific examples.

 

·          Why do you think Aesop’s fables are generally regarded as children’s literature today? Do you think this classification is accurate? Why or why not? Are fables/stories are a good way to convey life lessons/morals? Why or why not? Would the fables be seen differently if the characters were mostly human rather than animals/objects? Give specific examples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bhagavad Gita

Short Answer/Multiple Choice:

·          Bhagavad Gita  = “Song of the Lord”; part of the Hindu Scriptures

·          Written in the form of a poem (18 chapters and 700 verses); part of the Sanskrit epic the Mahabharata

·          Indian text most familiar to the West; second only to the Bible in terms of the number of times it has been translated

·          Reason for the Gita’s universal appeal

·          The meaning of ‘Karma’ (all actions involve inevitable consequences) and ‘Dharma’ (duty/responsibility)

·          Tension between the action and how (in what spirit/manner)you do the action

·          Three difficult questions the Gita asks (know any 2)

·          Principal families (Kauravas & Pandavas) and characters – Arjuna, Krishna, Vishnu (know who they are/their role)

·          Context of the Gita – moment of crisis in Arjuna’s mind and the conversation he has with Krishna on the brink of war

 

 

 

 

Essay:

·          Explain the concepts of ‘discipline’, ‘dharma’ and ‘karma’ as seen in the given portions of the Gita. How similarly or differently are these concepts practiced in the world today (even if they are not known by those names)? Explain with specific examples.

 

·          Compare and contrast the Gita with the Analects in terms of how both teach a person how to function in society. Which do you think offers better advice for today’s world and why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confucius

Short Answer/Multiple Choice:

·          A native of Eastern China

·          A teacher/ philosopher whose impact was felt mainly after his death

·          No ruler was willing to fully implement his teachings while Confucius was alive; spent many years wandering from court to court

·          Name of his work – Analects (‘Collected Sayings’)

·          Started as an oral tradition by his disciples and only written down after his death

·          Claimed to be a ‘transmitter’ and not an ‘innovator’

·          Nature/format of the Analects – brief quotations, conversations and anecdotes from his life

·          Core ideas – ritual, social roles, efficient action

·          Focus on this world rather than heaven or supernatural

·          Mixed reception in history; widely implemented during the Han Dynasty

·          Role in China more recently (know any 3) – rebuilding of Confucius temples, discussed on television talk shows, used by government to represent China to the world, references used in 2008 Beijing Olympics, establishment of ‘Confucius Institutes’

 

 

Essay:

·          According to the Master, what are the characteristics of a good/proper person? Do you think the advice of the Master is applicable in society today? Why or why not?

·          The teachings of Confucius have been regarded as religion, philosophy and even common sense. Which do you think it is? Or is it a combination of two of these or of all three? Explain with specific examples.

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