The following is a midterm exam that I gave to my Early Western Civilization students several years ago. How would you have performed on it?
1. What date does Susan Wise Bauer give as the approximate date for the origin of written history?
a. 300 AD
b. 300 BC
c. 3000 BC
d. 3300 BC
e. 8,000 BC
2. True or False: According to Bauer, when the Sumerian flood story was first translated, most historians assumed that the Genesis account was derived from it, but further study of the differences between the two stories suggests that they are far more likely to have arisen separately from the same source event.
3. True or False: Mesopotamia means the land “between the rivers.”
4. True or False: Mesopotamia is the cradle of western civilization.
5. True or False: Ionia is the cradle of western philosophy.
6. Which of the following was NOT an Egyptian king?
A. Scorpion King
b. Raging Catfish
7. The Rosetta Stone played a role in (select one)
a. David slaying Goliath
b. Proving the large extent of the Hittite kingdom
c. God inscribing the Ten Commandments
d. Deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs
e. Preservation of the Epic of Gilgamesh
8. Place the following empires in the correct order
b. Medes & Persians
9. Match the following with the most appropriate location of origin. Each answer will be used only once.
a. Epic of Gilgamesh
b. Code of Hammurabi
c. Homeric Poems
[possible answers: Babylon, Ionia, Sumer]
10. Match the definitions with the best choice of terms from the list below
a. The practice of a king assuming the identity of his predecessor
b. Refers to the name which God gives to himself
c. Using names familiar to contemporary readers rather than names in use during the historical past.
d. A human figure with the face of a bull and imprisoned in the Labyrinth
e. A foot soldier
f. Philosophy of the “living stuff”
[List of possible answers: 1. Positional succession, 2. Hoplite, 3. Anachronism, 4. Minotaur, 5. Hylozoism, 6. Tetragrammaton]
11. True of False: It would have been impossible for the Egyptians to have built the pyramids given their technological abilities. The only reasonable answer is that aliens came through a Stargate and used an energy coil called the “Caduceus Coil” to tap into the planetary energy grid in order to levitate the blocks into place.
12. Place the following in correct order, earliest to latest.
13. The birth story of which of the following is very similar to that of Moses’?
14. Place the following in the correct order
e. Tower of Babylon
g. Period of the Judges
i. Divided Kingdom
j. Babylonian captivity
15. True of False: The Hyksos once ruled in Persia.
16. True or False: The legend of the Minotaur is an example of one of the Greek myths which has been proven to be a very precise description of an actual event.
17. True of False: The exodus of the Hebrews shows up nowhere in the Egyptian records.
18. True or false: The Egyptians did not write.
19. True or false: The Philistines kept the Israelites in a position of military inferiority by forbidding them to manufacture any sort of iron tools.
20. True or False: There was no country called Phoenicia.
21. True or False: Jeroboam was Solomon’s son.
22. True or False: Around 721 BC Sargon II wiped the political state of Israel off the map, and removed large numbers of Israelites from their homeland all the way over to the territory of the Medes. This resulted in the despised mix of peoples that the Jews later called Samaritans.
23. Match the following leaders with the location of their rule.
e. Cyrus the Great
[Possible answers: Babylon, Medes & Persians, Judah, Egypt, Assyria]
24. Match the following gods (God) with their followers.
[Possible answers: Egypt, Babylon, Hebrews]
25. True or False: The Great Pyramid of Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are two of the Seven Wonders of the World.
26. True or False: The war between the Greeks and Persians was central to the life of the Greeks, but receives barely a mention in Persian histories.
27. True or False: The Delian League and the Peloponnesian League were manifestations of the rivalry between Athens and Sparta.
28. Which of the following are historians upon which Bauer relies for material. (Select all that apply)
29. True or false: One characteristic of Orphism is that by ritual purifications and an ascetic life they hoped to win release from the body and return to the company of the gods.
30. The logic of which philosopher was the starting-point for both Platonic dialectic and Aristotelian logic.
e. Tyrannosaurus Rex
31. The Logos is most often associated with which of the following philosophers?
e. Latissimus Dorsi
32. Complete the sentences by filling in the blank spaces with the correct answer from the list provided below.
a. __________ influenced Plato more than any other philosopher. Important elements passed into Plato’s thought from his predecessors which through him have influenced the later development of European philosophy.
b. From the __________ Plato derives much of his conception of the matter of the physical universe.
c. From the __________ comes the essence of Plato’s doctrine of the nature and destiny of the soul, his insistence on eternal form and order as the supremely important reality and proper object of the intellect, and the emphasis in his though on mathematics and astronomy.
d. From __________ he gits his vision of the transitorinesss of all sensible things and the flux of the material world.
e. __________ and the Eleatics leave him a clear though inadequate vision of eternal being, the beginnings of logical reasoning, and a logical problem to solve.
[Possible answers: 1. Heraclitus, 2. Parmenides, 3. Pythagoreans, 4. Milesians, 5. Socrates]
33. Match the following statements about “pleasure” with the school it most accurately depicts.
a. “As a humanist agnostic I enjoy pleasure when it is practical as part of a successful civilized human life.”
b. “I can’t really know if pleasure is good or bad, but I have an opinion about it.
c. “I enjoy my pleasure in public and could care less what you think about it.”
d. “It is our feelings of pain and pleasure which are the test by which we determine what is bad and good for us.”
e. “Pleasure? I am utterly indifferent to all external things. I am free from all passion, emotion, and affections.”
[Possible answers: 1. Stoicism, 2. Cynicism, 3. Sophism, 4. Skepticism, 5. Hedonism]
34. True or False: Socrates believed that the first and foremost business of man was care of the soul.
35. True or False: Plato was not very systematic and it is often difficult to find out his solution to the problem he raises.
36. True or False: Plato founded the Lyceum.
37. True or False: Aristotle believed that there exists a world of eternal realities, “Forms” or “Ideas” that are entirely separate from the world our senses perceive, and knowable only by pure intellect.
38. True or False: Plato did not believe in the soul’s pre-existence, but did believe that it could not be extinguished.
39. Place the following in chronological order;
a. John the Baptist
c. David, son of Jesse
e. Alexander the Great
40. True or False: Aristotle rejected Plato’s Theory of Forms.
41. True or False: Aristotle denied the existence of universals.
42. True or False: Socrates wrote no philosophic treatise himself.
44. Which of the following had a more family-friendly political philosophy.
by Bertolt Brecht
Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.
Young Alexander conquered India.
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Greek triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?
Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?
So many particulars.
So many questions.
- All history is His story.
- We must work to differentiate between civilization and Christianity.
- The past is a “foreign country.” – hermeneutics emic vs. etic
- Persecution of Christian during the reign of Domitian (81-96 A.D) came to forefront in Asia Minor where the imperial cult was centered.
- Persecution resulted in two significant literary productions: apologetics and martyrdom.
- Heresy promoted doctrinal systematization.
- Irenaeus important for representing orthodox reaction to heresy (Against Heresies).
- Tertullian’s writings tell us much about alternative understandings of Christianity.
- Origen produced the first systematic theology.
- Claims against Christians included obstinacy, disloyalty, atheism, cannibalism, incest.
- Philosophers such as Celsus, Galen, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius argued that Christians were “weaklings”, irrational, gullible, and fanatics.
- Persecution was sporadic but “always present as a possibility.”
- The early church fathers gave us a rich theological inheritance, but were not immune to error.
- Irenaeus – Trinitarian, fought Gnosticism, but also apostolic succession, emphasis upon tradition, priority of Roman bishop
- Perhaps the most influential second century apologist was Justin Martyr. Others included Tatian, Athenagorus, Thophilus and Minucius Felix.
- The Logos was prominent in apologetic literature (a) The Logos as the reason or wisdom of God, (b) the Logos as God’s spoken word, (c) the Logos as immanent in the world, (d) the Logos as the revealed word of God in the prophets, (e) the incarnate Jesus.
- Martyrdom literature took three forms, letters, passions, and acts.
- “Beginning with Constantine, the church entered imperial history in such a way that one cannot deal with the secular history of the fourth century without discussing the church and cannot deal with the religious history without considering the state.”
- Arius believed that, “Thee was when Christ was not” — that Jesus was the first and highest of God’s creations – a god.
- Arianism was addressed at the Council of Nicea, called by Constantine in 325.
- The council adopted the word homoousious to describe Christ’s relationship with the Father.
- The first four ecumenical councils were Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451).
- The fourth century dealt with the Trinitarian conflict. The fifth century with the Christological controversy.
- Apollonarianism = the belief that the divine Logos replaced the human soul/spirit of Jesus.
- Nestorianism = Christ exists as two natures, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as a unified person.
- Eutychianism = Monophysitism – only one nature of Christ, the human nature overcome by the divine nature.
- Ebionites – Denied the full deity of Christ (As the Christ, he functioned as God on earth)
- Docetism – Appeared to be a man
- Eutychianism – Human nature became absorbed into the God nature such that
- Monarchianism/Seballianism – Modalism
- Adoptionism – man in the beginning but adopted as the Son of God and became deity
- Kenoticsm – God became less God to become man, he set aside part of his deity
- We must watch out for language games – equivocation
- Constantine moves capital in 330
- The Eastern Empire becomes seat of power and wealth
- Roman bishop left as single most powerful person in the West
- By the end of the 4th century barbarians serious problem in the west (Visgoths, Huns, etc)
- After the sacking of Rome in 410, Christian views of society and history were put forth, including the most prominent which was Augustine’s City of God.
- Compare Augustine’s Two Cities with Genesis 4-5.
- Other important works of Augustine which we will discuss include his Confessions, and On the Trinity,
- Augustine – bridge between ancient world and Middle Ages
- Roman bishop won primacy over other bishops
- When imperial throne falls into the hands of the barbarians in 476 people look to the Roman bishop for political leadership as well as spiritual leadership
- Western civilization was created in medieval Europe (institutions, mentalities, struggles, books, etc.) No more Roman Lake.
- Spontaneous mission work in 4th & 5th centuries
- “Medieval history, from one point of view, is the story of the movement of the centre of gravity of civilization from one side of the Alps to the other.”
- “The movement of the centres of civilization from south to north and from east to west during the medieval centuries involved a change from the empires of Rome, Byzantium, and the Arabs, empires of vast geographical extent and great military power but which were relatively loosely controlled.” Creation of new societies.
- Christians among the Britons by the end of the second century.
- When Roman missionaries came England in 6th century they found three distinct expressions of Christianity (1)Romano-British Christians in the South, (2) Irish Christians, and (3) Celtic Christianity.
- Boniface evangelizes Teutonic tribes occupying modern Germany
- In the East, political stability achieved through reducing taxes and trimming expenses. (common vision)
- Syriac speaking Christians took gospel to Persian where there was interest in medicine, philosophy, advanced education.
- Persians make peace treaty with Justinian in 532
- Justinian had eyes on Africa and Italy
- 539 Khosru declares War on “Rome”
- Bubonic plague, Slavs, Goths keep Eastern empire from “glory” – Justinian’s reign relentless, austere quality
- Persia becomes stronger than at any time since Darius I
- Time of weak leadership makes susceptible to be conquered.
- In the sixth century many Arabs had converted to Christianity, but most continued to worship tribal deities.
- Mohammad lived 570-632.
- Ten years = 65 raids or campaigns
- Eventually becomes powerful enough to take Mecca, destroys idols, establishes Islam
- Islam means “submission.”
- Muslim means “one who submits.”
- The century of Muslim expansion is traditionally dated as 632-732.
- By 650 his Muslims had overrun the Persian empire, taken Syria, Egypt, and Palestine
- Western empire makes gains in the North through evangelism.
- Missionary task included making sure converts would be loyal to the pope.
- Emperors in Constantinople thought the church should be subordinate to the ruler of the state.
- Pope seeks ally
- Frankish rulers
- Rulers of new empire were Teutons rather than Romans
- Franks had accepted the Roman culture
- Clovis (466-510) had unified the Franks and conquered most of what would be modern France
- Franks accepted Christianity in 496 and became bulwark of papal power in Western Europe
- Eastern Empire barely hold its own against Muslims
- 718 Eastern empire under Leo the Isaurian stops Muslim advance
- Charles Martel stopped the advance of Islam in Spain in 732.
- Muslims, influenced by Greek culture, set out to build a splendid Arabic civilization centered in Bagdad
- Eastern Influence Diminishes (North African church disappears, Egypt and Holy Land lost to Muslims, Roman bishop has been growing stronger and stronger)
- The Franks “snatched western Europe from decline and brought a brief cultural revival” when Charlemagne crowned as true successor to the Roman empire.
- Charlemagne had Augustine’s City of God read to him every night and it was his inspiration for a Frankish-Roman empire.
- Charlemagne saw “missions” as part of a military strategy.
- By the time of the new millennium (1000) almost all of Europe was “officially” Christian.
- Charlemagne was crowned by Pope Leo III on Christmas day of 800, but intentionally avoided having the Pope present when control was passed to his son (816).
- “The Constitution romana (824) spelled out relations of emperor and pope. The emperor had supreme jurisdiction, while the pope as a local ruler was to exercise ordinary judiciary and administrative power in his territories. The pope was to be chosen by the Roman people without constraint. The emperor was to confirm his election, and before his consecration he was to take an oath of loyalty to the emperor. The pope had the right to crown and anoint the emperor.
- Henry III, German emperor, was the last emperor able to dominate the papacy. Deposed three rival popes and installed his own.
- Excommunication of Henry IV by Gregory VII in 1076.
- Pope Boniface VII: Unam Sanctum (1302)For when the Apostles say: ‘Behold, here are two swords’ [Lk 22:38] that is to say, in the Church, since the Apostles were speaking, the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not listened well to the word of the Lord commanding: ‘Put up thy sword into thy scabbard’ [Mt 26:52]. Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered _for_ the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.
- Erastians –
- Calvin –
- Luther –
- Anabaptists –
- What Does the Bible Say? Deut 17:8ff
- 1 Samuel 13
- 2 Chronicles 26:16-21
- Luke 20:22ff
- First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
- Aristocracy = weakness, meritocracy = strength
- Six things that lead to cultural change: war, politics, religion, migration, economics, education.
What was your reading experience like? Did you enjoy it, or suffer through it? To whom could you recommend this book?
What factors might result in this text being difficult for some people to comprehend or enjoy?
Through where is Dante traveling? Does he ever explain why he is there?
Dante’s circles of hell seem to represent degrees of punishment for sin? What does the Bible say about degrees of eternal reward and punishment?
Is it spiritually beneficial to think of what Hell might be like?
The three beasts in Canto I have been traditionally interpreted as fraud, pride, and greed. How might Jeremiah 5:6 provide insight on the matter? (1.31-51)
Who is his guide? Why this person? (1.73-75)
How are Virgil and Beatrice related to Dante? Why do they appear in this work?
How might this work be considered as a “love story”?
Do you think this work might be considered as both literal (heaven and hell) and as an allegorical reflection of the world in which Dante lives – as a commentary on is own culture and times?
Do you think that it is common for people to systematically evaluate their own life and values when they have lost loved ones?
Why do you think Dante mixes so much classic mythology with Roman Catholic theology in this text?
Were there places in the text that you thought were inconsistent with what the Bible teaches?
How well do you think the average Christian understands the doctrines of sin, salvation, and hell?
One of the most famous lines in all of the western canon is found in Canto 3.9, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” Why do you think that quote has had such lasting influence?
In Canto III it talks about those who commit to neither God nor Satan. Is this possible?
In the first circle of hell (Canto IV) Dante gets invited into a group of poets of immense stature to engage in conversation. This is similar to the modern question, “Who from history would you invite to a dinner party?” So, who would you?
Dante places Aristotle, Socrates and Plato and other admirable people in the first level of hell because they were not baptized. What kind of theology lays behind this?
Who is in Dante’s 2nd circle (Canto V)? It might be said of many from this section that they were “led astray by love.” Do you think this a problem for very many people?
Dante writes “There is no greater sorrow, than to think backwards to a happy time.” (Canto V) Do you think this is true?
Dante’s 3rd circle (Canto VI) includes those who were gluttonous. Is gluttony really that bad? Do we really understand what is entailed by gluttony, or have we turned it into nothing more than “overeating”?
Clergymen are prominent among the greedy (avarice) in Dante’s 4th circle (Canto VII)? What historical reality might have led Dante to put them here?
Can Canto 7.64-66 be seen as commentary the level of satisfaction that the greedy achieve in this world as well as a picture of their eternal condition?
What do the angry in the fourth circle have in common with the greedy? Do you agree with this portrayal? (7.28-30, 112-115)
Dante gets a little payback on Filippo Argenti (Canto VIII). Many other authors have done the same. Do you have someone that you would want to put into a work like this? What might be a better way of dealing with your feelings?
In Canto VIII we see a connection between arrogance and wrath. Do you think this to accurately reflect human proclivities?
Many of you mentioned “fear” in the text as something worth consideration. What was it about “fear” that caught your attention/imagination?
These are the textbooks I am using this Spring in classes I am teaching in The College at Southwestern.
HIS 1213 : Western Civilization II
The Penguin Atlas of World History: Volume 2: From the French Revolution to the Present, by Hermann Kinder and Werner Hilgemann — ISBN. 0141012625
Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context, by John Woodbridge and Frank James — ISBN. 0310257433
Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology, by Laura Otis — ISBN. 019955465X
HIS 2203: Renaissance and Reformation History
Renaissance and Reformation, by William Estep — ISBN. 0802800505
The Protestant Reformation, by Hans Hillerbrand — ISBN. 0061148474
The Portable Renaissance Reader, by James Ross — ISBN. 0140150617
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: Select Narratives, by John Foxe — ISBN. 0199236844
IDE 2203: Renaissance and Reformation Seminar
The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri — ISBN. 0199535647
Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin — ISBN. 0801025249
Three Treatises, by Martin Luther — ISBN. 0800616391
Praise of Folly, by Erasmus –ISBN. 0140446087
On Divine Foreknowledge: Part IV of the Concordia, by Luis De Molina — ISBN. 0801489350
Utopia, by Thomas More — ISBN. 0140449108
The Prince, by Machiavelli — ISBN. 0199535698
The Scientific Revolution: A Brief History with Documents, by Margaret C. Jacob — ISBN. 0312653492
Hamlet, by William Shakespeare — ISBN. 0140714545
Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare — ISBN. 0199536120
Over the last few days I have repeatedly heard a common refrain from people in regard to very different circumstances.
From a prominent philosopher and a well-meaning theologian we hear that the scriptural claims of the dead rising and walking after the crucifixion of Jesus must be the inclusion of a legend not to be taken literally because it is otherwise unbelievable. (Matthew 27)
From several television journalists we hear that the actions predicated of a person in a very public case are so improbable as to be inconceivable, unbelievable.
These incidents and others reminded me of an essay by Ambrose Bierce in which he defended his art form from novelists who were criticizing the validity of short story composition. In the process of doing so he addressed the issues of probability and believability. Here is an excerpt:
“Among the laws which Cato Howells has given his little senate, and which his little senators would impose upon the rest of us, in an inhibitory statute against a breach of this “probability”– and to them nothing is probable outside the narrow domain of the commonplace man’s most commonplace experience. It is not known to them that all men and women sometimes, many men and women frequently, and some men and women habitually, act from impenetrable motives and in a way that is consonant with nothing in their lives, characters, and conditions. It is known to them that “truth is stranger than fiction,” but not that this has any practical meaning or value in letters. It is to him of widest knowledge, of deepest feeling, of sharpest observation and insight, that life is most crowded with figures of heroic stature, with spirits of dream, with demons of the pit, with graves that yawn in pathways leading to the light, with existences not of earth, both malign and benign–ministers of grace and ministers of doom. The truest eye is that which discerns the shadow and the portent, the dead hands reaching, the light that is the heart of darkness, the sky “with dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms.” The truest ear is that which hears
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to the other’s, note
not “their great Creator,” but not a negro melody, either; no nor the latest favorite of the drawing-room. In short, he to whom life is not picturesque, enchanting, astonishing, terrible, is denied the gift and faculty divine, and being no poet can write no prose. He can tell nothing because he knows nothing. He has not a speaking acquaintance with Nature (by which he means, in a vague general way, the vegetable kingdom) and no more find
Her secret meaning in her deeds
than he can discern and expound the immutable law underlying coincidence.
Let us suppose that I have written a novel–which God forbid that I should do. In the last chapter my assistant hero learns that the hero-in-chief has supplanted him in the affections of the shero. He roams aimless about the streets of the sleeping city and follows his toes into a silent public square. There after appropriate mental agonies he resolves in the nobility of his soul to remove himself forever from a world where his presence can not fail to be disagreeable to the lady’s conscience. He flings up his hands in mad disquietude and rushes down to the bay, where there is water enough to drown all such as he. Does he throw himself in? Not he–no, indeed. He finds a tug lying there with steam up and, going aboard, descends to the fire-hold. Opening one of the iron doors of the furnace, which discloses an aperture just wide enough to admit him, he wriggles in upon the glowing coals and there, with never a cry, dies a cherry-red death of unquestionable ingenuity. With that the story ends and the critics begin.
It is easy to imagine what they say: “This is too much”; “it insults the reader’s intelligence”; “it is hardly more shocking for its atrocity than disgusting for its cold-blooded and unnatural defiance of probability”; “art should have some traceable relation to the facts of human experience.”
Well, that is exactly what occurred once in the stoke-hold of a tug lying at a wharf in San Francisco. Only the man had not been disappointed in love, nor disappointed at all. He was a cheerful sort of person, indubitably sane, ceremoniously civil and considerate enough (evidence of a good heart) to spare whom it might concern any written explanation defining his deed as a “rash act.”
Probability? Nothing is so improbable as what is true. It is the unexpected that occurs; but that is not saying enough; it is also the unlikely–one might almost say the impossible. John, for example, meets and marries Jane. John was born in Bombay of poor but detestable parents; Jane, the daughter of a gorgeous hidalgo, on a ship bound from Vladivostok to Buenos Ayres. Will some gentleman who has written a realistic novel in which something so nearly out of the common as a wedding was permitted to occur have the goodness to figure out what, at their birth, were the chances that John would meet and marry Jane? Not one in a thousand–not one in a million–not one in a million million! Considered from a viewpoint a little anterior in time, it was almost infinitely unlikely that any event which has occurred would occur–any event worth telling in a story.
(Excerpt taken from Tales of Soldiers and Civilians and Other Stories by Ambrose Bierce)
I thought it was difficult to live with the noise created by my six kids, but after reading the following excerpt from Seneca written around AD 50 I now realize my housing situation isn’t that bad.
“I live over a bath. Imagine the variety of voices, enough noise to make you sick. When the stronger fellows are working out with heavy weights, when they are working hard or pretending to work hard, I hear their grunts; and whenever they exhale, I hear their hissing and panting. Or when some lazy type is getting a cheap rubdown, I hear the slap of the hand pounding his shoulders. . . . If a serious ballplayer comes along and starts keeping score out loud, that’s the end for me . . . . And there’s the guy who always likes to hear his own voice when washing, or those people who jump into the swimming pool with a tremendous splash. . . . The hair plucker keeps up a constant chatter to attract customers, except when he is plucking armpits and making his customer scream instead of screaming himself, and the fellow hawking cakes, and all the food vendors yelling out what they have to sell, each with own special intonation.” (source: Sources of Western Society, volume 1)
The first national Proclamation of Thanksgiving was initiated by the Continental Congress on November 1, 1777:
FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:
It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.
And it is further recommended, That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times innocent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion.
- Thanksgiving – select quotes
- Insufficiently Thankful
- Abraham Lincoln’s Declaration of Thanksgiving
- A Thanksgiving Pop Quiz
- An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
- A Thanksgiving Poem