Religions of the Middle-East

Assignments for Unit # 4– Middle-East traditions (3 components)

READ: Chapters: 8, 9, 10 from the Fisher text related to the Abrahamic faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

1. Discuss the common factors (history and ideas) among the three monotheistic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam); explain the notion of covenant in these monotheistic traditions. (2 pages)

2. Discuss the terms: Davening, Qibla, Talmud, Trinity, Relics, Zamzam, Synoptic, Shahadah, Shekinah, Sacrament, Sufi, Midrash, in accordance with the three traditions. (4-7 senctences each.)

These 2 questions are to be completed as two separate assignments and to be submitted separately as text in two attempts on BB. Both questions are due: Monday, 3rd August, 2015.

3. The search for ultimate meanings and divine transcendence has appeared in different ways in various parts of the world. Through all these quests for the sacred, the idea of beauty appears as a ubiquitous context. Beauty is represented in religiously inspired objects and structures in innumerable aspects. In this assignment you are to connect the appearance of beauty in human made objects with the sacred scriptures of different faith traditions. For this purpose you are to select 4 objects from 4 different religious traditions and reflect on the aesthetics and beauty inherent in them within the construct of spirituality.

In your analysis include an idea or passage from the respective religious writings as presented in the Anthology of Living Religions by Fisher (provide p. #s with exact quotation)– this is for those who have both the main Fisher text book and the added separate Anthology.
For those who do not have the add-on Anthology, the sacred scriptures should be available on www.beliefnet.com
The art objects should be selected from the online site of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC at: https://www.metmuseum.org — of course, you may visit the Metropolitan Museum in person as well– it is located on 5th Avenue and 82nd street. It is a good experience to visit in person- at least 2 to 3 hours– there is much to see there!
If you can, try to insert the pictures of the objects selected for your review.
Next, select an appropriate thought or passage from the respective religious tradition and associate this with the appearance of beauty/aesthetics in the selected object. The appropriate religious idea/passage should be derived from the Anthology to Living Religions by Fisher or from www.beliefnet.com.
The analysis should be approximately 1 page (230 to 250 words) per each item selected (so 4 pages in all). Include your reaction to the object selected from each religion and connect it to the inspired sacred literature. (Examples of such beauty in created structures/objects is evident in all places and in all time periods. Michael Angelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel or the sacred calligraphic decor on the main Masjid in Isfahan are such examples. The aesthetics of torii gates and the ideas of the kami spirits in Japanese Shinto tradition are also related to this notion.)

This assignment related to the connection between religion and beauty from the objects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is to be completed by Tuesday, 4th August, 2015.

–> Assignments in Unit # 4 will be marked late after Tuesday, 4th August, 2015

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