Religion humaities

Religion humaities - Garland D. Jones Ancient Civilization...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Garland D. Jones Ancient Civilization Religious Comparative Analyzes The history of Chinese civilization is intimately linked to the beliefs and practices of the Chinese people. China's earliest written records (oracle bones) represent the results of divination rituals performed by Shang-dynasty rulers, while official and popular rites were key facets of ancient Chinese society. During China's chaotic medieval era (3rd- 10th centuries), Buddhism and Taoism developed into China's main institutional religions. The rapid socioeconomic development China periodically experienced beginning in the 11th century was also accompanied by the expansion of local cults, and their on-going interaction with the organized religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Sectarian movements featuring millenarian doctrine also became increasingly prevalent during these times of political and socioeconomic transition, as did sects performing spirit-writing rituals. Morality books produced by both individuals and sects also gained increasing popularity at that time. Even in the modern era, religion continues to play a key role in the life of Han Chinese living in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese communities, and is in the process of regaining its influence in China itself. Probably the oldest form of religious worship in Egypt was animal worship. Early predynastic tribes venerated their own particular gods, who were usually embodied in a particular animal. Sometimes a whole species of animal was sacred, as cats at Bubastis; at other times only individual animals of certain types were worshiped, as the Apis bull at Memphis. As Egyptian civilization advanced, deities were gradually humanized. Many were represented with human bodies (although they retained animal heads) and other human characteristics and attributes. The wolf Ophois became a god of war, and the ibis Thoth became a patron of learning and the arts. We do not know precisely how or why certain animals became associated with certain gods. Moreover, the relationship between a god and his animal varied greatly. The god Thoth was not only identified with the ibis, but also with the baboon and with the moon. Occasionally a god was a composite of various animals, such as Taurt, who had the head of a hippopotamus, the back and tail of a crocodile, and the claws of a lion. Just as a god could represent various natural phenomena, so could a single phenomenon be given different explanations. The ancient Egyptian conceived of the earth as a disk, with the flat plains of Egypt as the center and the mountainous foreign lands as the rim surrounding and supporting the disk. Below were the deep waters of the underworld, and above was the plain of the sky. Several systems of cosmic deities arose to explain this natural phenomenon. Some attributed the creation of the world to the ram-god Khnum, who styled the universe on his potter’s wheel. Others said that creation was a spiritual and
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 4

Religion humaities - Garland D. Jones Ancient Civilization...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online