Textbook Leftovers

Posts Tagged ‘religion

After leaving the Bible, Norton moves on to the next big thing in ancient history: Greece!

It seems that, in the deep dark past of Greek history, there was a great deal of prosperity. The Minoan ruins on Crete, the great city of Mycenae, and the epic palace of Pylos show all the signs of a flourishing, wealthy civilization. But then, there was a great catastrophe. It doesn’t seem that anybody knows what exactly happened, but the entire civilization was nearly lost. Greece was illiterate for centuries. (The catastrophe has to be bad if the entire population forgets how to read and write.) Read the rest of this entry »

The Song of Songs (also called the Song of Solomon) is probably the most troublesome feature of the Old Testament for modern Christians. You see, it’s erotic poetry. And it’s right smack in the middle of the Bible.

Anybody who has ever been forced to endure a youth group session on this short poetic book (generally complete with a lesson on abstinence and courting, amirite?) will know that many Christian scholars try to explain that this is meant to be a metaphor for how Jesus loves us, or something like that.

No. Just … no. The poem is pretty explicit, and I don’t want to be thinking about Jesus during it. Read the rest of this entry »

Maybe it’s just me, but when I think of “Egyptian religion” (admittedly not something I think of on a daily basis), I think of a multitude of strange gods with animal heads. And that neat-looking eye that supposedly symbolizes Ra. And Stargate.  So when I turned to the section of Egyptian religious poetry, I was expecting something decidedly polytheistic and foreign to me.

I was very wrong. These selections of poetry are monotheistic in the extreme – my Judeo-Christian-raised brain kept flashing to Psalms, that’s how monotheistic it was. The introduction indicates that this exclusive worship of the sun god was later viewed as heretical, so this is clearly not a representative sample of the religion of Egypt, but it was nonetheless surprising to me. Clearly, I have much to learn. Read the rest of this entry »