Please follow the instruction and use only material here in the instruction 


Complete your weekly journal for the ready by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. 
 You must work with a passage from this week’s reading. Thanks!

The Thousand and One Nights

The Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita in Audio (Sanskrit)

Week 4 (Read this post first for full directions)

This weeks’ readings take us East of the Greek civilization.  The Bhagavad-Gita is a central text to Hinduism, but also, an important text that had widely influenced thinkers world-wide.  In the mid 19th century, for example, English translations of the text reached the US.  Major American writers from Emerson to Thoreau to Walt Whitman were widely influenced by the text, and it surely played a role in developing the Transcendentalist movement (useful here is the ways in which Eastern ideas influenced the ways in which some Christians re-evaluated their conception of God and human experience).
On a more fundamental scale, the Bhagavad Gita is a philosophical text that unearths key understandings of the Hindu religion in a narrative form–but more widely than viewing this specifically in the context of religion, the text forces us to think about larger discussions of ethics and differences between what is right and wrong that pertain to all cultures.  Likely, this is the reason for the text’s popularity around the world: The simplicity of the two actors in the text, as well as the fundamental problem facing Arjuna, are compelling to anyone and everyone.
The reading here is challenging in that there are lots of new terms and ideas here.  There is no way to become an expert on another religion in a week…do the best you can and look up words and terms as you need to.  Please keep an open mind to this reading.  I am in no way trying to challenge any kind of religious foundation you have, the point here is to read and to be exposed the world at large. 
This week’s second reading focuses on one of the most popular narratives to come out of (now) middle East–then part of Persia.  The text, however, is a mix of stories collected from no singular cultural or linguistic group.  Instead, the stories in the text suggest wide-flung influence, most likely stemming from the “Silk Road,” a complex set of trade routes that bridged the Middle East to India and Asia.  The complex mix of cultures, then, is likely at the heart of this sometimes strange collection of stories.  The manuscript for Nights is the most complete of any text from the middle ages, although the manuscript itself suggests that the tales were penned much earlier and, like Greek myths, began from an oral story-telling tradition. 
As Europeans began trade routes with the East, by the 1700s early translations of One Thousand and One Nights were available in France, and soon after, in England, which helped set into European minds a complex set of stereo

Week 4 Journal: Ten on One

Instructions: Select a short, meaningful passage from one of the texts we read this week here (See module for readings). It is important for this exercise that you type out your passage so that you have the experience of working with it word-by-word. Please note, the passage you select does not count in the 600-word response. Ten or so sentences (or even a bit less) would work well here.


[Type it by hand here. Typing out the passage will make you very aware of what the text is saying—it’s a great way to better understand a text.]

Response directions: The goal with this week’s response is to take the general notice and focus approach from the last few weeks and push even further to notice ten things about the passage. We are going to push to find ten interesting ideas out from your single passage. That is, we are really trying to squeeze a lot out of a little.

Each one of the ten can be it’s own mini paragraph, and can be disconnected from the other items in the list. The entire list should be 600 words. Push on your thinking to get ten, strong ideas out. Be sure to pay close attention to details, to work with specific language in the text, to look for things that repeat, to look for things that are unusual, and to look for a larger relationship between your passage and the rest of the text.


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