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Syllabus for Humanities 101

This course aims to introduce the student to the visual arts, literature, philosophy, music, and religion of five peridos of western culture: Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Classical (Greek and Roman), Biblical, and Medieval. By the end of the course, students should be able to recognize works of art from the various periods of western culture studied and associate them with the societies which created them. Students should also be able to identify the prinicpal historical events which transformed the conceptual coordinates of art, literatrue, music, religion, and philosophy in each historical period.


Class Guidelines Daily Schedule Discussion Log Assignments

Class Guidelines
Required Textbooks:

Janetta Rebold Benton and Robert DiYanni, Arts and Culure: An Introduction to the Humanities, Volume 1.

Course Requirements: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Complete FOUR exams. Maintain a Discussion Log in a separate notebook. Make ONE Oral Presentation on a subject from the textbook. Prepare for class each day and participate in discussions and activities. Attend class regularly and arrive on time.

General Course Guidelines:

Students are urged to participate enthusiastically and consistently. Attendance is mandatory at all classes. A pattern of unexcused absences may result in failure of the course. Failure to complete assignments on time or to prepare for class will result in lowered grades. There will be no make-up assignments except in extreme cases. Plagiarism constitutes grounds for failure of the course. There are, however, opportunities for you to acquire Extra Credit; to view a description of the Guidelines for Extra Credit, click on the highlighted word.
Guidelines for Discussion Logs: Course Grading:

A student's final grade will be based roughly according to the following percentages:

Four Exams: 40% (10% each) 4 Discussion Logs: 40% (10% each) Oral Presentation: 20%

In the event that a student's grade falls between two letter grades, that student's attendance and participation will influence his final grade. Final Grades are computed by letter, not numerical, grades. The instructor reserves the right to manipulate these grades as he sees fit. Finally, your success in this class is important to me. If you have a disability and may require some accommodations or modification in procedures, class activity, instruction, requirements, etc., please contact me early in the semester so we can discuss and arrange for necessary accommodations and/or modifications with the Center for Students with Disabilities (Building D, Room 119, Extension 6266). Back to Syllabus Page | Back to Contents | Back to Top

Daily Schedule:
Week One:

January 22:

Introduction to course: aims, assumptions, expectations, and procedures.

January 24:

Read "Introduction," Arts and Culture (AC) pp. 1-12.


January 29:

AC 14-25 Chapter Outline 1

January 31:

AC 25-32 Readings: Epic of Gilgamesh 32-35 Discussion Log 1


February 5:

AC 38-52 Chapter Outline 2

February 7:

AC 52-59 Readings: Egyptian Lyric Poetry 59 & Akhenaton 59-61 Discussion Log 2


February 12:

No class

February 14:

EXAM 1 (Chapters 1 & 2) Study Guide 1 Discussion Logs 1 & 2 due

Week Five:

February 19:

AC 64-73 Chapter Outline 3 Readings: Homer, Iliad & Odyssey 87-97

February 21:

AC 73-87 Readings: Sappho 97; Herakleitos 97 Discussion Log 3


February 26:

AC 100-21 Chapter Outline 4 Readings: Herodotus 129-31; Thucydides 131-33;

February 28:

AC 121-29 Readings: Plato, Phaedo & Republic 151-55; & Aristotle, Poetics 156-57 Discussion Log 4


March 5:

EXAM 2 (Chapters 3 & 4) Study Guide 2 Discussion Logs 3 & 4 due

March 7:

AC 160-73 Chapter Outline 5

Week Eight:

March 12:

AC 173-89

March 14:

Readings: Virgil 189-99; Marcus Aruelius 200-2; Petronius 202-5 Discussion Log 5


March 19:

AC 208-14 Chapter Outline 6 Readings: Genesis 225-29; Matthew 233-35

March 21:

AC 214-25 Readings: Gnostic Gospel of Thomas 237-39; St. Augustine 239-45 Discussion Log 6


March 26:

AC 248-59 Chapter Outline 7

March 28:

AC 259-69 Readings: Qu'ran 269-71; Jalaloddin Rumi 273 Discussion Log 7 * * * * * * * * * * * * * SPRING BREAK: April 1-5 * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Week Eleven:

April 9:

Review for Exam 3 Study Guide 3

April 11:

EXAM 3 (Chapters 5, 6, & 7) Discussion Logs 5, 6, & 7 due


April 16:

AC 332-41 Chapter Outline 8

April 18:

AC 341-52 Readings: Song of Roland 358-60

Week Thirteen:

April 23:

Manuscript Culture and Illumination Readings: Handout

April 25:

Readings: Beowulf 352-55; Medieval Mystery Plays 355-58 Discussion Log 8


April 30:

AC 364-77 Chapter Outline 9

May 2:

No Class, but read AC 377-95

Week Fifteen:

May 7:

Readings: St. Francis 395-96; St. Thomas Aquinas 396-97; Dante 397-402

May 9:

Readings: Dante 416-21 (Canto XXXIII)

Week Sixteen:

May 14:

Readings: Boccaccio 426-28; Chaucer 429-41 Discussion Log 9

May 16:

EXAM 4 (Chapters 11 & 12) Study Guide 4 Discussion Logs 8 & 9 due

Prof. Richard F. Johnson Humanities 101 Discussion Log 1

Discussion Question for Chapter One: The Dawn of Culture

In a brief essay of 250-500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an Akkadian poem composed around 2500 B.C. It is the earliest known epic. The theme of the poem concerns human beings search for immortality. Write several paragraphs on Gilgameshs adventures by exploring questions raised in the epic, such as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. What is the relationship between human beings and their deities? How is Gilgamesh linked with the world of nature and animals? What is the meaning of friendship, family, and public duty? How did Gilgamesh live in the face of mortality? What tests did Gilgamesh face throughout his life? How does this epic inform the reader about ancient history?

Discussion Question for Chapter Two: Ancient Egypt

7. In a brief essay of 250 to 500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question. 8. Compare and contrast sculptures, relief sculptures, and paintings from the Old to Middle to New Kingdoms. Refer to illustrations in our book in your essay. Examine innovations of New Kingdom temples and tombs, such as greater freedom of pose, wider variety of movement, and more complex figure groupings. But also discuss how the basic conventions of earlier art endure, such as the frontal eye, the physically impossible poses, and the arrangement of figures in zones of the register system.

Discussion Question for Chapter Three: Aegean Culture and the Rise of Ancient Greece
In a brief essay of 250-500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question. Discuss the Homeric world view. How did the characters in the Iliad see themselves and the world in which they lived? What is the theme of the Iliad, and in what ways can we apply it to the modern world? Compare the image of Achilles to our modern idea of the war hero. For example, do we give medals for the same attributes honored by the Greeks?

Discussion Question for Chapter Four: Classical and Hellenistic Greece

In a brief essay of 250-500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question. In his book, The Republic, Plato is mostly concerned with the notion of justice and how to create and maintain a society founded on the principle of justice. How does the "Allegory of the Cave" contribute to his argument?

Discussion Question for Chapter Five: The Roman World

In a brief essay of 250-500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question. Compare Virgils Aeneid to Homers Iliad. In what ways are they similar and in what ways are they not? How does Homers "agenda" differ from that of Virgil? For comparison, cite examples from the excerpts of the Iliad and the Aeneid in our book.

Discussion Question for Chapter Six: Judaism and the Rise of Christianity
In a brief essay of 250-500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question. In his Confessions, St. Augustine proposes a process of spiritual interpretation that was to become influential for hundreds of years. For example, the books image of the spiritual journey became the model for medieval books of pilgrimage, such as William Langlands Piers Plowsman and Dantes Divine Comedy. Another aspect of Augustines influence derives from his theory of prefigurations. According to Augustine, the Old Testament prefigures the New Testament, with Old Testament characters and events serving as prefigurations of those in the New Testament. What are some of those prefigurations and what are their implications?

Discussion Question for Chapter Seven: Byzantine and Islamic Civilizations

In a brief essay of 250-500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question. Although there are profound theological differences between the three great monotheistic religions of the world, they share a profound attachment to the city of Jerusalem. Discuss the significance of Jerusalem to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Discussion Question for Chapter Eleven: The Early Middle Ages and the Romanesque
In a brief essay of 250-500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question. The epic poem Beowulf begins with the funeral of Shild Shefing, a legendary Danish king. Hrothgar is the king of the Danes at the time of the poem. His land is plagued by the monster

Grendel, who sneaks into his hall, Herot, nightly and eats several of his men. Beowulf, the Geatish warrior, hears of Hrothgars troubles and travels with a group of men to help Hrothgar defeat the monster. Thus, in the first 256 lines of the poem, we hear about an excellent king and his exploits, a weak king and his troubles, and a young fearless warrior. How do these passages suggest the themes of doom and fate (Old English, "wyrd")?

Discussion Question for Chapter Twelve: The Gothic and Late Middle Ages
In a brief essay of 250-500 words (roughly one to two typed, double-spaced pages), discuss the following question. The tales excerpted from Boccaccios Decameron in our book reflect contemporary attitudes toward women. The first tale describes the illicit escapades that a monk and his abbot each have with a young woman. The second tale tells the story of a noble woman found guilty of adultery. In what ways do these tales suggest the contradictory and disenfranchised position of women in fourteenth-century Italy? Cite examples from the text to support your answer.