Write a short essay that compares how two different traditions would approach the term

Choose THREE of our FIVE core course terms. For each term, write a short essay (approx. 400-600 words) that compares how two different traditions would approach the term. So 1200-1800 words total. See attached file for more details!!

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For your final, choose THREE of our FIVE core course terms.
• Religions on the Silk Road: Premodern Patterns of Globalization (Richard Foltz, 2010)
• The Spirit of Zoroastrianism (Prods Oktor Skjærvo, 2011)
• Tao Te Ching (Victor Mair, transl., 1990)
• Chuang Tzu (Burton Watson, transl., 1996)
• Upani?ads (Patrick Olivelle, transl., 2008)
For each term, write a short essay (approx. 400-600 words) that compares how two different
traditions would approach the term. So 1200-1800 words total. Use at least six short quotes per
short essay (minimum 3 from each tradition; at least one per tradition must be from primary
source). Please be sure to compare AT LEAST FOUR different traditions somewhere throughout
your essays.
You must submit 3 documents which are an introductory paragraph (with thesis) and outline of
your paper, also Final paper.
Use course materials only (lectures, readings & discussion forums.) No outside sources!
In-text citations are fine. For textual sources, (author, pg#), for lecture (“title of lecture”). For
documentaries (docu, title). For discussion forums, you may cite my quotes or your fellow
student quotes. Cite as “As Quinton explained . . . “ (title of discussion forum).
As we have learned, there is no singular “Buddhism” or “Gnosticism” or “Taoism,” etc..
Therefore, avoid using these broad categories (i.e. don’t try to compare “Buddhist soteriology”
to “Gnostic soteriology”. Instead, be sure to GROUND your essays in specific TEXTS (and, when
needed, secondary sources). In other words, your quotes should clearly indicate which sources
you are using for your interpretations. Three examples of how you could do this:
• “According the Vasubandhu, realizing that there is no essential ‘selfhood’ is part of
Buddhist soteriology. Vasubandhu writes, “ . . . “ Garfield helps explain this concept,
writing “ . . . “.
• “In Pahlavi literature, the cosmic dualism is found in the eschatological narrative where
the “good” creation of Ahura Mazda finally defeats the “evil” or “distorted” creation of
Ahriman (Skjaervo, pg#). It is also as strict ethical dualism. Ritual serves as a means for
Zoroastrians to declare their allegiance to Ahura Mazda and to aid him in the defeat of
• “Gnostic sources are diverse and varied, but one theme that comes up over and over is
the pursuit of gnosis, or “acquaintance” with the Invisible Spirit. As written in ApJohn
3:25 . . . ” (Brakke, pg#)
Go back and re-read our discussion forums and your own discussion post. Also, you
should reread my emails that make comments on your posts to check your
interpretation with those I highlighted each week.
You may want to start by finding quotes from the primary sources that you know you
want to use. Building a list of quotes often helps clarify what we want to say and, I am
sure, which traditions you want to compare for each term.
Relatedly, as you go back through your notes (and collect quotes), you may find it
helpful to make a list of key concepts associated with each of the primary source texts
listed below. Also, note your primary source citation in your notes to make citations
easier in your paper.
EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! I will also sort you in groups of three to peer review. Take advantage of
this opportunity to share your work and your insights to help improve your classmates’
Textual sources by tradition:
• Primary source: “Hymns about Jesus the Messiah” (link in discussion forum).
• Secondary source: Foltz, Ch. 1, 2 & 4
• Primary excerpts from Avestan & Pahlavi sources in Skjaervo (from 4th week)
• Secondary sources: Skjaervo “Intro” & Boyd, “Yasna”
• Primary: excerpts from Olivellle’s translaton of Upanisads: BU 4 (pg. 52-68), CU 8 (pg.
167-176), KaU1 (pg. 202-205) KeU 1 (pg. 226-230), IU (pg. 248-251).
• Secondary: Olivelle Introduction & Sinister Yogis chapter
• Vasubandhu’s Treatise on the Three Natures
• Secondary: Foltz, Ch. 3
• Primary: bulk excerpts found in Brakke’s chapter
• Secondary: Brakke’s commentary
• Primary: Tao-te-Ching & Chuang Tzu
• Secondary: Introductions to the above texts

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