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beliefsbefore600CE

  1. 1. Belief systems in CONTEXT  Historians view religion in the context of time and place.  For example: Buddhists in India in the 300s ce were not the same as Buddhists in Southeast Asia in the 1800s c.e. though some of the core beliefs remained unchanged.  Historians view religions as an influence ON culture AND influenced BY culture.  For example: Christianity changed Roman culture and the Renaissance in Europe influenced Christianity.
  2. 2. Belief systems as a study topic  Historians view religions as a part of human experience  For example: Hinduism is not judged as right or wrong in its beliefs or practices, but interpreted in how it influenced human history as it started in South Asia and spread elsewhere.  Confucianism is not judged as good or bad, but understood in the ways it influenced Chinese social classes, etc.
  3. 3. Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Greek Rationalism, Daoism & Christianity Belief Systems of the Classical Period
  4. 4. Foundations  There is no recorded founder of Hinduism – it is the oldest institutional religion of the early belief systems.  Judaism began in the Middle East around the 1200s bce when it had its own political empire.  First monotheistic religion
  5. 5. Foundations  Daoism emerged in East Asia in the 600s to 300s BCE from the teachings of Laozi and later Zhuangzi  Zoroastrianism arose in Persia in the 500s BCE from the teachings of Zarathustra
  6. 6. Foundations  Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), the founder of Buddhism, was originally a Hindu in the upperclass.  Buddhism emerged in South Asia out of Hinduism starting in the 500s bce.
  7. 7. Foundations  Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity, was a lower-class Jew living in Roman controlled Middle East.  The Jesus movement became Christianity with non-Jewish converts.
  8. 8. Existence after Death  Hinduism and Buddhism – Existence is cyclical until one breaks from the cycle and becomes eternally spirit.  Judaism (some forms), Zoroastrianism, & Christianity – Existence is linear; one lives and then becomes eternally spirit.
  9. 9. Spread  Groups within Buddhism and Christianity supported missionaries – men and women who purposely took the message of a religion into different regions.  Religions also spread through conquest, along trade routes, and through migrations.
  10. 10. Spread  Buddhism spread from South Asia into East and SE Asia.  Buddhism by the 500s ce was stronger in areas where it spread than where it originated.  How does this compare to Zoroastrianism?  How does this compare with Hinduism?
  11. 11. Spread  Judaism spread after the Romans exiled Jews to new territories in Europe  Christianity spread into the Roman Empire, into North and East Africa, and beyond.  Christianity by the 1200s was stronger in areas where it had spread than in where it originated.
  12. 12. Spread & CHANGE  As religions spread and new interpretations arose – there were changes, splits into different sects (or groups), and new influences
  13. 13. Texts  The founders of Buddhism and Christianity did not record their own statements or life story.  Which belief systems are connected to these texts? Vedas and Upanishads Torah Gospels & Epistles Analects Sutras
  14. 14. Challenges to Society  Both Buddhism and Christianity, more than the other belief systems, challenged the social class system and women’s status.  Especially in the early centuries, these religions appealed to lower classes and women.
  15. 15. Greek Rationalism…What’s up with that???  Greece-polytheism remained  Intellectuals abandoned mythology  Natural laws govern world  Humans can understand those laws  Power of Human Reason!  KEY ELEMENT-the way questions are asked (argument, logic, questioning of received wisdom)
  16. 16. Greek Rationalism…What’s up with that???  Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle  Constant questioning of assumptions  Applied rationalism to understanding human behavior..Herodotus-the first historian (why did the Persians and Greeks fight each other?)  Influenced later Western Civs-knowledge preserved by Byzantines and Islam

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