Guided Reading for The Western Traditions: Chapter 1.
Find the answer to each of these questions as it is given in the textbook before moving on to the next question.
Some answers, drawn from the textbook alone, will be rather simplistic. They can, and should, be elaborated upon as your knowledge of the subject grows.
It is part of the Guided Reading assignments that student should ASK as well as answer questions.
The symbol (*) after a question indicates that these might be used for longer
essays in your quizzes.
Pages 4 - 26:
- What was once believed about the flat stone at the center of Stonehenge? What is now believed?
- What happens on the day of the summer solstice at Stonehenge?
- As what did the ancient Romans celebrate the Winter Solstice? (*)
- Which few concepts seem to be fundamental to all religion?
- What was the “Sky Father” of ancient religions?
- What were “high places” in ancient Middle Eastern Religion?
- What belief is reflected in Obon, The Day of the Dead, Hallowe’en, etc.?
- What can be said about the reasons why humans tend to be religious?
- Against what must we guard concerning the nature of religious belief and practice? Why?
- What happened around 500 BCE?
- What is a “shaman”? (The plural is “shamans,” by the way.)
- What has long been believed about the spirits associated with natural phenomena?
- Although sometimes the role of a shaman is hereditary, more often it is not. How is a shaman called to their role?
- A shaman may communicate with the spirit world in two ways, what are these? (*)
- What was one important function of priests? (*)
- What is an “axis mundi”?
- What “wave” of religious influence played an important role beginning about 3,000 years ago? Where?
- To what does the term “Indo-European” refer?
- What is the “Purusha”?
- Of which territories did Indo-Europeans take control around 2,500 BCE?
- What name survives in the Greek Zeus Pater, the Roman Jupiter, and the (Hindu Indian) Sanskrit, Dyaus Pitar?
- What was required of all who served in the Temple of early Judaism?
- Which gods were deemed to inspire the priestess of the Temple at Delphi (in the Classical Greek period and earlier)?
- What happened in 586 BCE? Why is it significant?
- What concepts are said to be central to Islam?
- In what did Zoroastrianism play an important part? What concepts owe a lot to this religion?
- What is particular about “the energy god”? What have some people suggested about it?
- What is the Daodejing (Tao De Ching)? Who wrote it? Why two spellings?
- What are the Upanishads and when were they composed?
- What was the worldview of the Upanishadic Masters?
- What did Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mystics alike believe?
- Which two of the world’s living religions are thought to be rooted in the pre-brahmanic traditions of the Ganges region?
- What are ascetics/asceticism?
- Who was Persephone?
- What does the (Hindu Indian) Sanskrit term avatar mean?
- How did the Princess Dharmayanti recognize the gods who were masquerading as men?
- What are the common elements of the biographies of savior gods?
- What is the Bhagavad Gita?
- What three forms of yoga are described in the Bhagavad Gita? What is the special characteristic of the most highly recommended?
- What is hoped by those who put their trust in Amitabha Buddha?
- What are the Magi?
- What are the earliest scriptures that we have?
- When did “scriptural religion” come about?
- What happened with the authority of scripture in Protestant Christianity? (That is, in the 16th Century of the Christian Era.)
- What happened in 70 CE?
- What is the Qur’an considered to be in its essence?
- The textbook suggests two examples of the contrast between incarnational (avatar) and scriptural religions. Which are these?
- What have a number of scriptural traditions maintained about their scriptures?
- Name the ten “waves” of religious change.
- When did the “wave” of Fundamentalism begin to take shape?
- To what does the term “fundamentalism” refer?
- Why study religion?
- When approaching an unfamiliar religious tradition, what do we need to be?
- What do people need to understand about their own religious tradition?
- What are the main divisions of Christianity?
- Where did the so-called Western religions arise?
- What is the biggest problem with the East-West division of religions?