The development of major world religions

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Essential Question: How can we view the development of major world religions as a historian would?

To answer that EQ, it seems that we need to first look at what was going on in the world and in the specific place where the religion was ‘born’, and then how it ‘developed’ into a world religion (just think of all the street preachers in all of world history, whose names and ideas have been lost and forgotten!) You’ll often hear the term ‘historical context’ or ‘background’ used, but the Christian scholar John Dominic Crossan prefers to use the term ‘matrix’ (this has nothing to do with the movie…or does it?). Matrix is, in short, more than just ‘historical background,’ and must be fully analyzed in order to write about religion as a historian would

Plot the Matrix of Judaism. Guiding questions have been added to help you along. Use the blank boxes for extra space

TRADITION: into what culture was Abraham born? How did this tradition explain some of the biblical stories of Abraham’s covenant with God?
TIME: What was happening throughout Mesopotamia at the time of Abraham? Did one powerful empire rule the whole region? PLACE: Explain the meaning of the word ‘cosmopolitan’ when describing ancient Mesopotamia at the time of Abraham
VISION: How did the prophecy of Abraham reflect the tradition he came from, but also challenged it?

Plot the Matrix of Islam. Guiding questions have been added to help you along. Use the blank boxes for extra space

TRADITION: into what culture was Mohammad born? What was the religion the Arab people at the time? Why was Mecca an important city even before Mohammad’s prophecy, and what was the position of his family (the Quraysh) in that city ?
TIME:By time of Mohamad, the pagan arabs were surrounded by non-pagans, such as ___________ in the Byzantine empire and ______________ in the Sassanid (persian) empire, as well as Jews spread throughout all three. PLACE: What was the religion of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) empire at the time of Mohammad?
VISION: How did Islam reject Paganism in Arabia, and embrace the same Monotheistic tradition of the Jews and Christians?
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Plot the Matrix of Buddhism. Guiding questions have been added to help you along. Use the blank boxes for extra space

TRADITION: Into which culture and belief system was Siddhartha Gautama born into? What was his class? How did the ideas of karma and dharma influence his later teachings?
TIME: How might we compare the teachings of Buddha to the teachings of Greek Philosophers such as Socrates and Plato, who lived around the same time? PLACE: What was the polical climate of North India at the time? How did geography influence the spread of Buddhism to places outside of India?
VISION: How did the teachings of Buddha challenge the established religion of Hinduism?

Plot the Matrix of Hinduism. Guiding questions have been added to help you along. Use the blank boxes for extra space

TRADITION: How did the ‘Aryan invasions’ assimilate customs and beliefs of the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Indian subcontinent (aka “Dravidian people”) to form the basis of Hinduism
TIME: How can you compare the development of Hinduism to similar developments in the Near East during the Bronze Age? PLACE: How did the Geography of the Indian subcontinent influence the development of Hinduism
VISION: How did the Vedas, Sanskrit, and the Caste system develop as a result of the Aryan invasions? Is Hinduism polytheistic or monotheistic?

 

More to read: Exploring World Religions

Last Updated on November 9, 2020 by EssayPro