Overview of Eurasian Cultural Traditions. Strayer: Ways of the World Chapter 5

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1 Overview of Eurasian Cultural Traditions Strayer: Ways of the World Chapter 5

2 China and the Search for Order Three traditions emerged during the Zhou Dynasty: Legalism Confucianism Daoism

3 Legalism Han Fei was a leading Legalist philosopher principle: strict rules, clearly defined and strictly enforced, are the answer to disorder pessimistic view of human nature; only the state can act in people s long-term interest promotion of farmers and soldiers, who performed the only essential functions in society Legalism inspired the Qin dynasty reunification of China

4 Confucianism Confucius ( B.C.E.) was an educated, ambitious aristocrat principle: the moral example of superiors is the answer to disorder humans have capacity for improvement: education is the key the family as a model for political life, with focus on filial piety emphasis was practical, focused on this world

5 Confucianism Confucian society was based on unequal relationships known as the five loyalties: Ruler to subject Father to son Elder brother to younger brother Husband to wife Friend to friend

6 Daoism (Taoism) Laozi (sixth century B.C.E.), author of the Daodejing (The Way and Its Power) central concept: dao: the way of nature, the underlying principle that governs all natural phenomena Daoism was in many ways the opposite of Confucianism 1. education and striving for improvement was artificial and useless 2. urged withdrawal into the world of nature

7 Cultural Traditions of Classical India The focus in India is based on two religious traditions: Hinduism Buddhism

8 Hinduism the Indian religious tradition had no historical founder spread into Southeast Asia, but remained associated with India and the Indians above all was never a single tradition; Hinduism is a term invented by outsiders

9 Hinduism central idea: Brahman (the World Soul) as ultimate reality Basic elements include: life as an illusion karma and rebirth overcoming demands of the ego practice of meditation hope for release from the cycle of rebirth

10 Hinduism Organizes society according to a caste system Caste was organized by occupation Brahmins (priests and teachers) Ksatriyas (warriors and rulers) Vaisyas (farmers, merchants, artisans) Sudras (laborers) Untouchables (polluted laborers those technically beneath the caste system)

11 Buddhism Siddhartha Gautama (ca. 566 ca. 486 B.C.E.) spiritual journey led to enlightenment (insight) at age 35 his followers saw him as the Buddha, the Enlightened One central Buddhist teaching: life is suffering goal is achievement of enlightenment or nirvana (extinguishing of individual identity)

12 Buddhism Retained these elements from Hinduism: life as an illusion karma and rebirth overcoming demands of the ego practice of meditation hope for release from the cycle of rebirth However, rejected the caste system and thus appealed to lower castes and women

13 Moving toward Monotheism: The Search for God in the Middle East The radical notion of a single supreme deity developed in Zoroastrianism and Judaism and became the basis for both Christianity and Islam. Two traditions arose simultaneously: Zoroastrianism Judaism

14 Zoroastrianism Persian prophet Zarathustra traditionally dated to sixth or seventh century B.C.E. single god Ahura Mazda is source of truth, light, goodness Cosmic struggle between good and evil judgment day: restoration of world to purity and peace need for the individual to choose good or evil

15 Judaism developed among the Hebrews, recorded in the Old Testament early tradition of migration to Palestine, led by Abraham early tradition of enslavement in Egypt and escape establishment of state of Israel ca B.C.E. Judean exiles in Babylon retained their cultural identity, returned to homeland

16 Judaism distinctive conception of God Yahweh demanded exclusive loyalty relationship with Yahweh as a covenant (contract) lofty, transcendent deity but communication was possible foundation for both Christianity and Islam

17 Judaism Jews in the Persian Empire were influenced by Zoroastrian ideas idea of God vs. Satan idea of a last judgment and bodily resurrection belief in the final defeat of evil, with help of a savior (Messiah) remaking of the world at the end of time

18 The Cultural Tradition of Classical Greece : The Search for a Rational Order Classical Greece did not create an enduring religious tradition. system of polytheism, fertility cults, etc., remain Greek intellectuals abandoned mythological framework world is a physical reality governed by natural laws humans can understand those laws human reason can work out a system for ethical life

19 The Greek Way of Knowing flourished B.C.E. (same time as citystates flourished) key element: the way questions were asked (argument, logic, questioning of received wisdom) Socrates ( B.C.E.) of Athens constant questioning of assumptions conflict with city authorities over Athenian democracy accused of corrupting the youth, executed

20 The Greek Way of Knowing earliest classical Greek thinkers applied rational questioning to nature application to medicine application of Greek rationalism to understand human behavior Herodotus: why did Greeks and Persians fight each other? Plato ( B.C.E.) outlined design for a good society (Republic) led by a philosopher-king Aristotle ( B.C.E.) emphasized empirical observation

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