Covering the period from 3500 B.C.E. to the Reformation Era, this book is part of an innovative two-volume primary source anthology that presents some of the greatest ideas and creative expressions of humanity. The anthology features an exceptionally diverse and unique variety of selections reflecting artistic, musical, literary, political, social, religious, intellectual, and scientific issues that encompass the study of Humanities. Chronological in format—with individual units focused on time periods, specific events, and historical questions, it is internally organized around five major themes—The Institution and the Individual; Social and Spiritual Values; Revolution and Transition; The Varieties of Truth; and Women in History and the Humanities. Each piece of literature, poetry or art, each diary entry, philosophical excerpt, or religious proviso is juxtaposed against the tapestry of history so that it can be viewed within the context of its time. Throughout, readers are confronted with basic questions regarding historical development, human nature, moral action, and practical necessity. Major period covered include: Civilization in the Ancient Near East: Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Israel. Ancient Greece. The World of Rome. Icon, Scimitar, and Cross: Early Medieval Civilization (500-1000). The Sword of Faith: The Medieval Synthesis of Western Civilization (1000-1400). The Age of the Renaissance. The Reformation Era. Includes excerpts from drama and literature, short stories, speeches, letters, diary accounts, poems, newspaper articles, philosophical tracts, propaganda flyers, and works of art and architecture. Includes not only the traditional primary documents essential to the study of the Humanities, but also the more unusual which are not found in similar texts. For anyone interested in the great ideas and artistic expressions of humanity.
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This innovative two-volume primary source reader offers students an opportunity to evaluate and interact - through both discussion and writing - with some of the greatest ideas and creative expressions of humanity. Chronological in format, with individual units focused on time periods, specific events, and historical questions, The Human Spirit features six major themes: The Institution and the Individual; Social and Spiritual Values; The Power Structure; Revolution and Transition; The Varieties of Truth; and Women in History and the Humanities. Throughout these volumes, students are confronted with basic questions regarding historical development, human nature, moral action, and practical necessity.
The human world is complex, full of discovery and creativity, deceit and destruction. As we each make our way through life, we learn to navigate its seemingly endless maze of contradiction. It is our human alternative to give life or take it, to appreciate the beauty of a sunset or to deprecate the mindless destruction on some lonely battlefield. It is our gift to wonder and reconcile, to fashion the buildings that house our grand ideas and to create systems of law that harness the vagaries of our human nature.
We humans wonder at our own existence, and this is the crux of it all. This is the foundation for our study of the Humanities, those disciplines of music, drama, art, dance, architecture, literature, philosophy, and history. "It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance," noted the American novelist Henry James. "And I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process." James understood that if we seek happiness and truth, beauty and meaning in life, we must look to the many expressions of human worth that are defined through the writings and arts of our culture. Yet this is not simply the history of human progress, but also the story of its negation and defeat—the contradiction of human existence. The primary way to understand the past and to appreciate the present is through a personal examination of the writings and artwork, the music and poetry of generations.
The Human Spirit offers the student an opportunity to evaluate and interact with some of the greatest ideas and creative expressions of humanity. And interaction is the key to an analysis of the Humanities. Each piece of literature, poetry or art, each diary entry, philosophical excerpt, or religious proviso has been juxtaposed against the tapestry of history so that it can be viewed within the context of its time. This two-volume book has been conceived as more than a simple compilation of primary sources. It is meant to provide the student with thoughtful and engaging material, which is focused around individual units that encompass time periods, specific events and historical questions. Students learn from the Humanities most effectively when posed with problems that have meaning for their own lives. In evaluating the material from The Human Spirit, the student will discover that issues are not nearly as simple as they may appear at first glance. Historical and visual sources often contradict each other and compete for emotional engagement and primacy. Throughout these volumes, the student is confronted with basic questions regarding historical development, human nature, moral action, and practical necessity. The text is therefore broad in its scope and incorporates a wide variety of political, social, economic, religious, intellectual, and scientific issues that encompass, define, and reward the study of the Humanities. It is internally organized around six major themes that provide direction and cohesion to the text while allowing for originality of thought in both written and oral analysis:
The overriding theme that provides a foundation and overall unity to the text is that of cultural interaction. How have the diverse cultures of the West been linked by political systems, economic contact, social and religious movements, philosophy, art, literature, and such variables as disease and war? In what ways has Western Civilization over the centuries struggled with similar challenges and themes that have contributed to cultural transition?
Structure of the Book
The main strength of the text lies in its structure and the direction given to the student through introductions to each primary source. Study Questions promote analysis and evoke critical response. Each chapter follows the same format:
Features and Integrated Format
The study of the Humanities is necessarily an integrative experience. The Human Spirit provides insight into the interrelationships between art, music, literature, poetry, and architecture during various historical periods. Students are linked to historical events, broader artistic movements and styles through five unique features included in each chapter:
Use of the Book
The Human Spirit offers the instructor a wide variety of didactic applications. The chapters fit into a more or less standard lecture format and are ordered chronologically. An entire chapter may be assigned for oral discussion, or sections from each chapter may satisfy particular interests or requirements.
The chapters also may be assigned for written analysis. One of the most important concerns of both instructor and student in an introductory class is the written assignment. The Human Spirit has been designed to provide self-contained topics that are problem-oriented, promote reflection and analysis, and encourage responsible citation of particular primary sources. The study questions for each chapter should generally produce an eight- to ten-page paper or instructors may assign particular sections for shorter, reflective papers.
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