Greek Culture in the
Ancient World, Ancient Philosophy, and Old Testament. Western Heritage
also provides the historical framework for the classical literary works
studied in Literature I.
The course in the
western heritage has a joint aim: to enter imaginatively into the past
in order to make the present more intelligible. The development of thought
is best seen with the eyes of those who participated in it, and therefore
selections from some primary sources are required.
The course begins
with the Romans. (Near Eastern and Greek civilizations are treated in
the seminar on Greek culture.) The student examines the law and order
of Rome, studies the Republic, the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginnings
of the Christian tradition. The course then surveys the religious and
feudal societies of a world that saw itself as the scene of the drama
of salvation. The next section deals with new interests that usher in
the Modern Age: the Renaissance (Italian and Northern), and the Era of
Exploration and Expansion of Europe. The student then studies the Reformation,
and, finally, the beginnings of the scientific revolution, culminating
with Francis Bacon and the Baconian spirit.
sequence of topics:
- Rome: law and order
- The Republic and the Empire
- The Christian tradition: Augustine, Dante, Bernard, Francis
- Feudal societies: the knightly ideal, the guild system, the peasant's
lot, the schools
- The Renaissance: humanism, Erasmus, Boccaccio, Cervantes
- The spirit of reform: Luther, Machiavelli, Loyola, Puritanism
- Interests of the incipient modern, scientific age:
Expansion of Europe through exploration
Attacks on scholasticism
Anti-scientific basis of humanism
Revival of Alexandrian mathematical science
Sherman, and Sullivan, A Brief History of Western Civilization, Vol.
1 Wiesner, Ruff, and Wheeler, Discovering the Western Past, Vol.
2 Knoeble and Gochberg, Classics of Western Thought, Vols 1, 2.
Recommended primary authors (other than those listed above), excerpts from
whose works are used in conjunction with the history texts: Marcus Aurelius,
Tacitus, Cicero, Apuleius, Juvenal, Livy, Horace, St. Benedict, Thomas à
Kempis, Catherine of Siena, Chaucer, Christine de Pisan, Petrarch, Maimonides,
Thomas More, Rabelais, Vasari, Cellini, Montaigne, Calvin, Elizabeth I,
and Teresa of Avila.