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THE GREEKS - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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THE GREEKS. 5TH CENTURY BCE. Greeks Value:. Virtue Arete Service to the Polis Courage Honor Glory. Intelligence Reason Balance Harmony Nothing in excess Man is the measure of all things Family and tradition. Justice Pride The individual Retribution Fate Devotion to the gods

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Greeks value
Greeks Value:

  • Virtue

  • Arete

  • Service to the Polis

  • Courage

  • Honor

  • Glory

  • Intelligence

  • Reason

  • Balance

  • Harmony

  • Nothing in excess

  • Man is the measure of all things

  • Family and tradition

  • Justice

  • Pride

  • The individual

  • Retribution

  • Fate

  • Devotion to the gods

  • Control of emotions

  • Beauty

  • Wealth

  • Compassion

  • Taking an interest in public affairs

  • Democracy

  • Excellence

  • Drama

Roman empire 30 bce 476 ce



30 BCE – 476 CE


  • Borrowers

  • Realists – Stoics

  • Idealists – Neoplatonists

  • Twelve Tables of Law (450 B.C.E.)


  • Ethical view of life

  • Goal: bring individual will into harmony with nature

  • Impersonal intelligence governed nature—Providence or Divine Reason

  • Rejected emotional attachments

  • Reason over emotions

  • Detachment allowed them to accept the worst of life’s circumstances—true happiness






  • Plotinus = 3rd C (neoplatonist)

    • Union with One: ascent through series of levels of spiritual purification (Dante)

    • Soul is eternal and divine

    • Universe is layered in ascending degrees of perfection

Egyptian and southwest asian influence
Egyptian and Southwest Asian influence

  • Roman emperors were theocratic monarchs

  • 2nd C: imperial cult; living emperor is divine

  • Growing social, political, economic unrest

  • Distrust of reason

  • Growing impulse toward mysticism

  • Zoroaster

    • Persian prophet 628-551 BCE

    • Life is cosmic battle between light and darkness (people ae free to choose good or evil

    • Ahura-Mazda is sole god (Wise Lord)

    • Last judgment (good works, good thoughts, good deeds)

      • Evil to darkness

      • Good to pairidaeza (or paradise) (beauty and light)

Mystery cults
Mystery Cults

  • Greece, Egypt, Southwest Asia

  • Less intellectual than neoplatonism

  • More personal than religious philosophy

  • Promise of personal immortality

    • Cult of Isis – Egypt

    • Cybele in Phrygia

    • Dionysus in Greece

    • Mithra in Persia

  • Heritage back to Neolithic times

  • Agricultural

  • Birth, death, rebirth of gods and goddesses associated with regeneration of crops

  • Initiates acted out symbolic rituals

    • Spiritual death and rebirth

    • Ritual baptism

    • Communal meal of flesh or blood of deity in spring

    • Cult of Isis: Queen of Heaven and Earth Mother

Cult of mithra persia
Cult of Mithra (Persia)

  • Associated with sun and forces of Light and Goodness

  • Man-god Mithra released forces of cosmic life and energy by slaughtering Bull of Fertility

  • Mithra’s followers

    • Sought regeneration and personal attachment to this hero-god

  • Celebrated Mithra’s virgin birth on December 25 (after sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)

  • Mithraism excluded participation of women

  • Strict initiation rites, periods of fasting, ritual baptism, death and resurrection, communal meal of bread and wine, deliverance from evil

  • Favorite religion of Roman soldiers

Roman empire
Roman Empire sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)

  • Octavian tried to restore old Roman values of duty and civic pride

  • Germanic tribes invaded

  • Oppression and poverty

  • Constantine 313 CE

  • Edict of Milan (by end of 4th C. Christianity is official religion).

Christianity sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)

  • 36 books in Hebrew Bible

  • Sadducees – Jewish aristocrats; cultural and religious solidarity; denied that soul survived

  • Pharisees – more influential Jewish teachers; interpreters of Hebrew law; believed in advent of messianic redeemer (a shepherd); human soul is imperishable; wicked will suffer eternal punishment

Essenes sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)

  • Monastic communities near Dead Sea

  • Renounced worldly goods

  • Practiced asceticism

  • Believed in immortality of the soul

  • Anticipated coming of teacher of truth

  • Dead Sea Scrolls (Essenes lived near Dead Sea)

  • forecast final apocalyptic age

Jesus 0 33 ce
Jesus 0-33 CE sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)

  • Gospels – 40 years after his death

  • No biography, no writings

  • Jewish rabbi

  • Ethical concerns; moral lessons

  • Pacifistic message

  • Antimaterialistic message

  • Temptations of temporal world distract

Cimabue madonna enthroned
Cimabue sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)Madonna Enthroned

Sermon on the mount
Sermon on the Mount sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)

  • Blessed are the poor, the gentle, the mourners, the seekers of goodness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted because of their belief in Jesus.

  • His followers are the light of the world

  • Jesus came to fulfill the laws

  • Believers should follow his commandments

  • Followers should not judge others

  • The golden rule

  • Rewards in heaven sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)

  • Moral intention is more important than outward behavior

Paul sun’s rebirth at winter solstice)

  • Best known of apostles (d. 65)

  • Jewish tentmaker from Tarsus in Asia Minor

  • Greek and Hebrew language

  • Never met Jesus

  • Wrote 10-14 of 27 books of New Testament

  • Universalized Jesus’s message

Paul s teachings
Paul’s Teachings Minor, Rome

  • Salvation by faith

  • Jesus: son of God

  • Jesus, sacrifice for human sin

  • Sin had entered world through Adam and Eve’s defiance of God

  • Jesus’s death was act of atonement

  • Jesus was New Adam

The bible
The Bible Minor, Rome

  • Old Testament

    • 39 books in the King James Version)

    • written in Hebrew (with a little Aramaic) from 11th to 2nd century BCE.

  • The New Testament

    • 27 books in the King James Version)

    • written in Greek from 40 AD to as late as 150 AD)

Faith vs reason

Faith vs. Reason Minor, Rome