Backgrounds to English Literature
Brother Anthony (An Sonjae)
Spring Semester 2001
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2:00 pm

This course is intended to help students discover Greek and Roman philosophy, history, mythology, art, and literature, and the Bible with a history of Judaism and the beginning of the Christian Church, so that they can appreciate them and also understand the ways in which these combine to form the background to Western culture.

Lectures will be in English.

Assignments: Each student will prepare two scrapbooks  outlining the evolution of ancient culture, including pictures illustrating the topics detailed in the boxes below. (The source of each picture is to be shown).
    Each student will write two reports, as detailed below, one for the Monday after the Mid-term exams, the second for the Monday after the Final exams.
    To avoid misunderstandings, please note that any portions of text downloaded from the Web must be clearly indicated as such, with the source.

The main text book will be Brother Anthony's Classical and Biblical Backgrounds to Western Literature (Sogang University Press, 2000).

Week 1 (Introductory class Friday March 2)
March 5-10 Week 2 Early Greece: The Greek gods and myths
March 12-17 Week 3 Homer's Illiad and Odyssey
March 19-24 Week 4 Drama : The Oresteia, Prometheus
March 26-31 Week 5 Oedipus, Antigone
April 2-7 Week 6  Philosophy before Socrates, Socrates and Plato
April 9-14 Week 7 Plato & Aristotle (no class Good Friday)

April 16-21 Week 8  Mid-term Exams

April 23-28 Week 9 The Roman Empire
April 30-May 5 Week 10 Roman writers : Virgil, Ovid
May 7-12 Week 11 The Old Testament (general)
May 14-19 Week 12 The Old Testament -- Genesis and Exodus (no class Friday)
May 21-26 Week 13 The New Testament : the Gospels
May 28-June2 Week 14 The New Testament : Paul
June 4-10 Week 15 Christian writers and the early church (no class June 6)

June 11-16 Final Exams

Class preparation

The page numbers refer to the textbook

Week 1: Preparatory reading Pages 7 - 30 Early civilisations
Week 2:  Pages 59 - 72 History of Greece Pages 153 - 164 The Greek gods  Pages 165 - 188 Myths
Week 3: Pages 31 - 54 Illiad and Odyssey
Week 4 -5:  Pages 105 - 144 Greek Drama & Lyric Poetry
Week 6: Pages 73 - 87 Philosophy before Socrates
Week 7: Pages 88 - 104 Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
Week 8: Mid-term Exams
Subjects for the first part of the Scrapbook
(Due on the day of the Mid-term Exam)
1. Outline of ancient civilisations: Mesopotamian art and technology; Egyptian pyramids, Egyptian art. 
2. The development of  writing systems: Cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Hebrew and Greek alphabets. 
3. The development of Greek architecture: Greek theater;  the Parthenon, other temples and buildings
4. The development of Greek art: Greek sculpture, pottery.
First Report: What ideas and questions about the nature of the universe, of humanity, of society, and of the divine have especially impressed you in Greek literature and philosophy, especially in Homer, the Pre-Socratics, and Plato? 

Weeks 9 -10 Pages 189 - 222 Rome
Weeks 11 - 12: Pages 223 - 262 The Old Testament
Weeks 12 - 13: Pages 263 - 294 The New Testament
Weeks 14 - 15: Pages 295 - 318 The Early Church
Subjects for the second part of the Scrapbook
Due on the Monday of the 15th Week of the semester (June 4)
1. Rome: the Forum, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Senate House, the Capitol. In Britain: the Roman remains in the city of Bath, Hadrian's Wall.
2. Judaism: Mt Sinai, Jerusalem in Old Testament times, the Temple, a Jewish synagogue, the Hebrew Bible, modern Judaism, the Holocaust... 
3. New Testament: The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (and site of Calvary, in Jerusalem), the Mount of Olives, River Jordan... 
4. Church history: The  tomb of St Peter at Rome, the Catacombs, early Christian art, the great basilicas in Rome, the first monasteries, the oldest manuscripts of the New Testament...
Second Report: Summarize and illustrate the main characteristics of Graeco-Roman approaches to life (Neo-Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Epicureanism); summarize and illustrate the main differences between the Jewish religious tradition (Old Testament) and the Christian (New Testament and early church). Comment on the relative importance of the two traditions in Western culture.

Grading: The two reports and the two exams (Mid-term and Final) will have equal value. All correctly made scrapbooks will receive equal credit but a few additional points will be given for particularly interesting work.

Visit Brother Anthony's list of Classical links

If you have questions you may write to Brother Anthony or visit him in his office (X109)