Voltaire’s Critique of Organized Religion in Candide

Fatima Khan

Wesleyan College (Macon, Georgia)

 

voltaire1

Candide, Penguin Classic, 1947

Voltaire expressed his contempt towards organized religion and its disregard for human suffering in his famous satirical novel, Candide.  He targeted Leibnitz’s teaching that  “all is for the best” by creating characters that fall into miserable situations and face both internal and external strife by attempting to fit it into the church’s world view.[1] The only place free from Voltaire’s critiques was a made up New World town known as El Dorado where the only religion is an appreciation for life and nature.[2] El Dorado represented Voltaire’s perfect society  and provided insight into how he would have preferred society in Europe to be structured. Even though efforts to reform the Church were brought forward through Calvinism and the Council of Trent, Voltaire shows disdain for the major principles of organized religion in the 18th Continue reading

Advertisements

The Menkaure Triad, Numerical Thinking, and Divine Configurations in Ancient Egypt

Wen Li Teng

The University of Chicago

 

Teng E1

The Menkaure Triad, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In the numerical thinking of the ancient Egyptians, numbers served as a system of classification that was simple, but permitted complex thematic variations in the concepts of unity, difference, and plurality.[1] The number three, for example, was considered the plural par excellence, and triads of gods were used to express familial relations (e.g. Osiris-Isis-Horus), modality (e.g. Khephri-Re-Atum), and unity (e.g. Amun-Re-Ptah).[2] The statue of King Menkaure (of the Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4), the goddess Hathor, and the deified Hare nome is one such triad (Boston MFA 09.200). The statue was one of many excavated by George Andrew Reisner in 1908 in the temple of Menkaure’s funerary complex at Giza.[3] The triad reveals the power structure of the Old Kingdom, exemplifies the religious beliefs of Continue reading

Education and Government in the Eyes of a Confucian Scholar in Modern China

liudapengEditorial Introduction

In times of rapid socio-political changes, individuals accustomed to the old ways of life are left scrambling to find a new place within a new system that bears nothing in common with what they once knew. The Man Awakened from Dreams: One Man’s Life in a North China Village, 1857-1942 by Henrietta Harrison is the case study of Liu Dapeng, a Confucian scholar who experienced the extreme changes brought on by the fall of the Qing Dynasty and rise of the Chinese Republic in the early 1900s. Liu Dapeng witnessed the replacement of traditional Chinese institutions with Westernized ones. This collection focuses primarily on the themes of education and Continue reading

Hotel Rwanda: A Twisted Perception

Ashley Burton

Young Harris College (Young Harris, GA)

 

hotelHistorians, philosophers, political scientists, and social activists have long analyzed how American media represents political and social events in order to support various governmental policies and stances. Whether it be through literature, news, or the filmed adaptations of a certain event, discrepancies are bound to be discovered when pulling from multiple sources in order to create an American approved version of events. In 2004, Terry George directed and released Hotel Rwanda, a movie that follows the life of hotel owner Paul Rusesabagina and his efforts to save members of the Tutsi community during the Rwandan Genocide. The film was highly criticized for its inaccurate Continue reading

The Master’s Teachings Are Not Far: The Analects of Confucius and Its Modern Relevance

Editorial Introduction

kongzi2The Analects of Confucius is believed to have been written by his disciples around 2500 years ago, and has remained one of the most influential texts in China to this day. This text was written in order to provide people with the teachings of Confucius. His disciples did this by writing down their questions along with the answers that Confucius gave them. In this series of questions and answers various terms that Confucius believed people should live according to are continuously referred to. What is the Dao the master was pursuing? How to become a junzi or superior man? Are the Confucian values such as filial piety and trustworthiness still relevant today? Is Confucius’s political goal still meaningful? The three papers here are contributed by students from HIST 3200 Traditional China, an upper-level history course taught by Dr. Hongjie Wang at Armstrong in the spring semester of 2017. These authors try to answer the aforementioned questions from their respective perspectives based on their reading of the ancient text. Continue reading

Civilization and Nature: A Reading of Ancient Texts

Wen Li Teng

University of California, Los Angeles

Teng3

Detail of the Code of Hammurabi (Wiki)

 

The Code of Hammurabi was a comprehensive set of 282 laws enacted by the Babylonian ruler Hammurabi (r. 1792–1750 BCE), which included provisions for contract, criminal, family, transactional and even military law; The Book of Exodus tells how Yahweh led the Israelites out of Egypt through the prophet Moses; the Egyptian Book of the Dead was a New Kingdom funerary text used from 1550 BCE to 50 BCE. These texts appear markedly different: a law code, a religious narrative, and a book of spells to help the dead in the afterlife. Yet all three texts reveal the close relationship between these societies and the natural environments in which they lived. Insofar as themes of water, land, and fauna are present in these various texts, this paper aims to determine the extent to which the Code of Hammurabi, Exodus, and the Book of the Dead differ in their depictions of nature.

Continue reading

Emporia and the Roots of Market Mercantilism in the Early Middle Ages

Lee Morrison

Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)

 

Lee1

Quentovic and surrounding trade routes (Wiki)

Throughout the early Middle Ages, the decline of the Roman world was in full motion as various tribes assumed local power in the former provinces.  Many aspects of classical life changed, including trade, which shifted from a large-scale global system to a compartmentalized, regional economy.  The Roman system of high imports and sea trade gave way to the manorial economy, a regional system of agriculture and manufacture.  However, the development of a North Sea Economic Zone and the rise and fall of the emporia created a global trade market in Northern Europe.  This market flourished from the Merovingian period into the Viking age as demand for luxury and commodity goods resulted in development of more emporia, as well as smaller subsidiary locations and local trade fairs.  These trade cities began as instruments of a ruler’s political reach, but soon evolved into more independent areas of commerce that defined the economic zone around them.  By the end of the ninth century the emporia were well into their decline, but modern archaeological research has brought about a valuable change in perspective on these strange trade cities.  Gridded streets and permanent housing for craftsmen allowed emporia to combine elements of long-distance trade, monopolistic regional production, and urbanization.  In the early Middle Ages, the roots of capitalist production took shape in the planning, production, and function of the emporia.

Continue reading