Pu04a_Native American Civilizations
Pu04a_Native American Civilizations
The following is an interview that never took place. The questions I tackle are from Nicholas Kristof’s NY Times article where he aimed them at former President Jimmy Carter. That interview was conducted by email for publishing on Easter Sunday, 2017 (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/opinion/sunday/president-carter-am-i-a-christian.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share). I thought it interesting to aim those questions at myself as a mental and spiritual exercise. Here are my responses.
N.K.: How literally do you take the Bible, including miracles like the Resurrection?
Mr.V: I see two questions here. First, do I take the Bible as a literal text? I do not. I don’t believe the writing of the books of the Bible were the authors’ eye-witness accounts. Instead, I believe the Bible is a compilation of myths that were verbally passed down through the generations, ultimately written down by people who did not witness the events they witnessed (or in a few instances, recorded many years after the events the author witnessed). I also implied, and believe, that the there were multiple contributors to the Bible (Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament or New Testament).
My use of the word ‘myth’ does not imply that I believe these events were fantasy. Instead, the recorded story is important because it’s laden with cultural value added over the centuries since the story’s origin. I can’t help but believe that an event sparked the story’s birth and energized it’s longevity. That event must have been great, indeed.
The second question is Do I believe the ‘Resurrection’ occurred? I can’t subscribe to the view that the accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus occurred as written. I believe Jesus existed and was the messenger of GOD. However, I believe that his death and resurrection was an intervention by GOD that accomplished the same goal as the resurrection (conquest over physical death by a spiritual birth), but not how it occurred in the New Testament accounts.
N.K.: With Easter approaching, let me push you on the Resurrection. If you heard a report today from the Middle East of a man brought back to life after an execution, I doubt you’d believe it even if there were eyewitnesses. So why believe ancient accounts written years after the events?
Mr.V: I believe my previous response partially answers this question. However, let me expand the question to one that includes the writing of all the ancients.
Ancient societies, since the advent of writing, have had a control over the recording of data. The skill to write was reserved to elites within the society and employed by the ruling entity for their self-preservation and perpetuation. That tendency hasn’t disappeared today, but it’s easier to reveal ulterior motives today that stretch beyond the quest to record the ‘truth’. My students like to place the ‘ancients’ on a lower rung of the civilized latter because they’re ‘ancients’. I try to open their minds a bit and convince them that even the ‘ancients’ deserve the benefit of the doubt when we have nebulous alternatives. So, the Bible’s accounts should not be generally tossed onto a pile of fantastic tales without extending the courtesy that all claims SHOULD receive in an open, logical, mind.
Religion is a personal exercise in faith. I will not judge the religious experience of another and expect the same courtesy extended to me. Only when I’m asked, as you ‘sought-of’ did, will I explain the foundation of my experiences and beliefs. But, my experience should not be accepted as the experience and faith of another.
N.K.: What about someone like me whose faith is in the Sermon on the Mount, who aspires to follow Jesus’ teachings, but is skeptical that he was born of a virgin, walked on water, multiplied loaves and fishes or had a physical resurrection? Am I a Christian,…?
Mr.V: I believe strongly that the ideas we publicize as ‘religion’ is the product of humanity. I prefer to use the word ‘faith’ to represent the foundation of one’s views about the supernatural, and that, as expressed earlier is a personal experience. If a particular story is identified with a particular storyteller, there is a historical tendency to name the believers of the story’s facts by the name of the storyteller. Christianity (Jesus Christ), Buddhism (The Buddha), Confucianism (Confucius), and even Islam (for a long period referred to as Mohammadism by Western writers) reflect this tendency. In Jesus’ case, his parables were often new versions of older myths (e.g.: The Golden Rule). His rendition may sound convincing to me, but I would probably not be identified by the name of the earlier author. Also, the more time elapses from the moment when the person and story originated, the greater the likelihood that the story is ‘hijacked’ by others to push their agenda. This is the problem I have with your question. Therefore, the term ‘Christian’ is an inaccurate term to use, especially if you consider the number of sects within modern Christianity.
If your interpretation of Jesus’ teachings are convincing to you and adequately handles the contradictions that often arise in religious writings, then you can refer to yourself any way you wish. It’s your exercise of the tenets you extracted from the teachings that identify you, not how someone else interprets your experience. This view is not accepted by organized religions. The entire premise of having organized religion is to standardize the interpretation and experience of the devout. I don’t subscribe to that.
In closing, this push-pull between dogma and ‘personal’/ ‘intimate’ experiences was at the center of major rifts in religious history: The Protestant Reformation and Sufism are two examples from the Christian and Islamic experiences.
N.K.: How can I reconcile my admiration for the message of Jesus, all about inclusion, with a church history that is often about exclusion?
Mr.V: Here, I return to my statement on organized religion vs. personal experience. History reveals a long trail of organized religion serving the needs of a special interest over the needs of the masses.
N.K.: Do you sometimes struggle with doubts about faith?
Mr.V: My experience tends to place the blame on me, and not on the faith. I occupy such a small portion of the human timeline, that certain ‘truths’ passed along to me by the ‘ancients’ are beyond reproach. Therefore, any crisis of faith is more of a failure on my part to properly interpret and incorporate the ‘truth’ into my condition. You can see, again, my tendency to give the ‘ancients’ the benefit of the doubt regarding certain matters of the human condition. I can’t believe that the struggles I wrestle with never happened to another human. It must have plagued others in the past- multiple times. When I read about ancient Greek, Hindu, or Hebrew texts, you see that common problems of today were also common then. The ‘ancients’ dealt with many of these issues and probably addressed them long before we ever showed up. That wisdom still resides in these ‘myths’. How we extract those kernels of knowledge often involves our interpretation (and we loop back to my views of faith as being a personal experience).
N.K.: I think of you as an evangelical, but evangelicalism implies belief in inerrancy of Scripture. Do you share that, and if so, how do you account for contradictions within the Gospels?
Mr.V: I do not classify myself as an evangelical and everything I’ve written would classify me, by others, as something OTHER THAN an evangelical. I reiterate, as it concerns this question, that scripture is written by Men and as such prone to the literary obstacles that would generate. Therefore, scripture cannot be absent of error, since Men, who wrote the scriptures, are NOT exempt from error (Note: this sounded a great deal like an exchange between Capt. Kirk and NOMAD in the episode titled “The Changeling”).
The contradictions are not difficult to explain when you consider that the Bible (both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament) were not compiled into it’s final form by the same individuals who wrote the books contained within. These books (scriptures) were not included by the compilers of the Bible as you might expect an author of a book to organize the chapters of the book they just wrote. In this latter example, the author organizing the final form of his book also wrote the chapters of the book. That’s not what happened with the Bible.
N.K.: One of my problems with evangelicalism is that it normally argues that one can be saved only through a personal relationship with Jesus, which seems to consign Gandhi to hell. Do you believe that?
Mr.V: The key word is ‘personal’. Gandhi being condemned to Hell is not for me to decide or change one way or another. My measure of Gandhi as a person can only be determined by the criterial I apply to myself IN THIS LIFE. His afterlife is out of my hands and solely in his and GOD’s.
If your question is attempting to extract from me a denunciation of Gandhi because he has a different faith than I, I will not satisfy you. Everything I’ve written thus far extends to Gandhi as it does to me. GOD is an limitless entity and beyond my ability to package into an easily conceivable form. My experience with the divine is colored, shaped, or influenced by my condition/ context; as it is for all. If Gandhi experiences GOD in a form different than I do, his experience is NOT any less/ more valid than mine.
N.K.: Do you pray daily, and if so, do you believe in the efficacy of prayer in a miracle kind of way, or in a psychologically-this-helps-me-deal-with-the-world kind of way?
Mr.V: Yes, I pray/ speak with GOD daily. I ask for certain things and sometimes never receive it. However, I don’t see prayer as solely a hotline for my desires. I often speak with GOD just to offer thanks for some of the daily occurrences I don’t want to take for granted. I want GOD to know me more for the “Thank you for…” than the “Can I have…”. This helps me psychologically handle daily challenges, but it acknowledges that I cannot forget my impending afterlife- ‘Thank you’ may earn me mercy in the afterlife as it earns me appreciation in this life.
N.K.: Skeptics have noted that when prayers are “answered,” there is usually an alternative explanation. But an amputee can pray for a new leg, and a new leg never grows back. Isn’t that a reason to believe that prayer helps internally, but doesn’t access miracles?
Mr.V: I don’t expect miracles, but I’m thankful when they happen. I have no control over it and thus don’t want to place the burden on prayer to spawn them. I don’t believe that GOD “is a watchmaker in the sky tinkering” with humanity. His involvement is beyond my control and contradictory to my understanding of ‘Free Will’ if he did intervene routinely.
Cover Slide: “SPQR”. Represents republican Rome’s creed. As an acronym, it stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” => The Senate and People of Rome. Such a phrase/ acronym would be affixed at the end of official documents and facade of public monuments.
Slide #2 – 4: Maps depicting the region of interest.
Slide #5 – 7: Much about Rome’s founding is lost. The ravages of time and human activities have left us little about this period. Myths and the occasional artifact is what we have to depend on for information dating to the 8th C. BCE. Rome was founded in 753 BCE (traditionally accepted date).
Slide #8 – 12: An early myth of Rome’s founding is known by many today. It involved the nurturing of abandoned twins by a ‘she wolf’. Myths serve the purpose of answering questions that a pre-scientific society could not otherwise answer. Myths do not fall within the category of undeniable fact, but they are still valuable in revealing social values. I provide here student contributions to a discussion on what the Romulus – Remus myth revealed.
Slide #13: This is a semantic map of what we can extract from the myth of Rome’s founding.
Slide #14: The City of Rome, like many ancient cities, started as a walled town. It’s early stages of development never revealing what it will eventually become. The town had four ‘Gates’ or entrance ways into the town. The paths from each gate met in the center to form the *Forum*. The Forum was the focal point of civic activity. The city would grow and that often entailed extending the walls further outward.
The red band drawn along the perimeter of the town (slide 14) represents the *Pomerium*. It’s a bit challenging to explain the significance of this area, which surrounds all Roman towns beginning with Rome. In an effort to keep this within the realm of high school History class, I will say this much; the Pomerium’s sacred nature as a barrier (or border if you like) dates to Rome’s founding era. Originally a practical solution to dealing with limited space within the town, the Pomerium may also have been a way to avoid the pestilence that accompanied inadequate means of interring the dead. The area outside the town walls become a communal cemetery and acquires a sacredness from that early use. Of course, as Rome comes to expand and conquer areas near and far, space is no longer a consideration of high magnitude. The Pomerium transforms from a place to bury the dead, to a sacred barrier/ border marking the integrity of the town/ city it encloses. This barrier will play a significant role in the evolution of one of Rome’s most sacred of traditions (involving the authority represented by the Fasces). That story will be told at another time.
Slide #15: Rome, by the mid-1st C. BCE, has grown far beyond it’s modest beginning. At it’s height, the city will hold as many as 1,000,000 people.
AN02b_New Directions in Government and Society: Roman Origins
Timeline: 10th – 6th C. BCE
FS: Geography, Mythology, & a belief in “Destiny” Shape Rome’s Development and World View.
Like many of the civilized societies before and since, ancient Roman civilization was impacted by ‘context’. Interaction with other cultures and the environment helped shape what was to become the classical model for Western civilization. Therefore, if we can acquire an appreciation of the temporal and physical circumstances of Rome’s founding and development then we may understand why it is a “Mother” civilization for ‘Western’ cultures.
A. Tiber River, Western coast of Italian peninsula.
B. 8th C. BCE – 5th C. CE
C. Impact on ‘Western World’
A. Myth of Romulus & Remus (1)
B. Roman town layout & Roman fasces (Refer to Pr02b)
II. Location, Location, Location
A. Centrally located in Mediterranean
B. Centrally located or Peninsula
C. Near to Sea
D. On the bank of Tiber River
E. Western Italy = rolling hills, fertile soil, wooded
III. Cultural Development & Diffusion (2)
For a long period the Romans were culturally influenced and even ruled by the Etruscans, their neighbors across the Tiber River. Before and after that period, however, the people of Rome were interacting and ‘diffusing’ with other local peoples (e.g. Latins) as well as foreign colonizers (e.g. Greeks). Until the late 300’s BCE, Rome was largely an agricultural state with little semblance of what it would become.
A. Latins (After 1000 BCE): Settlements on the banks of the Tiber River and the area around the Palatine Hill.
B. Etruscans (1200 – 800 BCE): Civilized society with lasting cultural (religious) impact on the yet to develop Roman republican society.
C. Greeks (750 – 600 BCE): ‘Magna Graecia’, Hellenization of Latins and Etruscans via Greek colonization of Mediterranean basin and commercial contact.
The Romulus and Remus Myth
1. Many years ago in a small city, there was a kind and gentle king named King Numitor. He was good to his people and wanted peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, King Numitor had a wicked younger brother called Amulius.
2. Amulius wanted to be king. He hated his older brother and was very jealous of him. Amulius trained an army of men to work for him. One day he attacked King Numitor’s home. He killed the king’s son and kidnapped the king’s daughter. The princess, Rhea Sylvia, was put in prison. He was afraid to kill King Numitor because he was so popular so he exiled his brother to a farm several miles away. Amulius immediately proclaimed himself king.
3. A few years went by and the people heard a wonderful rumor. They heard that Princess Rhea Silvia had escaped from prison with the help of a great warrior. No one knew where she was taken or what happened to her. A year passed and one day two shepherds came to the king with two tiny babies in a basket. They told the king this story.
4. “Yesterday we were letting our sheep drink from a little stream near the great Tiber River. We saw a woman standing high up on the bank over the swirling waters. We walked closer and saw that she was the Princess Rhea Sylvia. When she saw us, she turned and fell into the rushing water of the Tiber. We cannot swim and by the time we got to the bank she had disappeared. However, in the grass we found these two tiny babies in this basket. You can see that this is the Princess’ royal cloak that covers the babies.”
5. The king was very angry. He said, “Why didn’t you throw the babies into the river? I command you to take the babies back to the Tiber and drown them.”
6. The shepherds were very sad. They did not want to carry out the king’s order. One of them said, “I cannot kill another human being. I agree, especially not an innocent baby,” said the other. “I have an idea, let’s put the babies inside this water trough. At least it will float and who knows, someone may find them in another country.” That is exactly what the shepherds did. The babies were put into the water trough and gently pushed it onto the Tiber River. Even though they hoped for the best, the shepherds were sure that the babies would drown or be eaten by some wild animal.
7. The trough floated down the river until the river’s current pushed it along the shore. It just so happened that a mother wolf had just lost her two baby cubs. She heard the babies crying and thought they were her cubs. She dragged them out of the trough by the cloak and into her wolf den. Then she was able to feed them as she had fed her own baby cubs.
8. Later that week, a visitor to the area named Faustulus was hunting in the woods. He heard the babies crying from the wolf’s den. He crawled into the den and was amazed when he found the two babies. Since the wolf was out hunting for her dinner, he made a big decision. He decided to take the babies away from the den and back to his wife and uncle. Faustulus picked up the babies and bundled them in the cloak he found on the floor of the den. When he arrived home, his wife and his uncle were very surprised. Since the couple had no children, Faustulus’ wife was delighted by the sight of the two babies. But his uncle said, “Look at this cloak. This belonged to the Princess Rhea Silvia who was held prisoner by the wicked King Amulius. Do you remember hearing the she and her babies had drowned in the Tiber River? These two boys must have been hers.” “What shall we do? The King will kill us and them if he finds out,” the couple said. The Uncle thought for a while, and then said, “If you want to keep the babies, we must tell people that they are your own. No one here knows you and they will certainly believe me.” Faustulus agreed. They named the boys Romulus and Remus.
9. Romulus and Remus grew to be strong young men and great hunters. Like their father, they were also shepherds. One day Remus decided to let his flock of sheep graze on the rich green pastures of old Numitor’s farm (the same farm that the old king had been banished to by his brother). Remus often did things before he spent time thinking about the consequences. The guards caught Remus dozing under a tree with his sheep happily munching the tender young wheat plants and took him before the old king.
10. “This boy dared to let a hundred sheep graze in your wheat fields, your majesty. They ate all the young wheat growing there and spoiled the crop. In addition, this is not the first time he has done this. What shall we do with him?” King Numitor was now a very old man. The loss of his family had made him hard and uncaring. “We must make him an example for others who would harm my property this way. Take him away and kill him,” said the old king.
11. Suddenly Romulus burst into the room and said, “Good sir, my brother is not very bright. Sometimes he does things without thinking, but does not mean to harm others. Please, spare his life, but divide the punishment between us so that I can share the burden of his punishment.” This caused the old king to think. He was not a bad man and always admired courage and self-sacrifice. “If I were my wicked brother Amulius, I would say that each of you would lose half of your heart.”
12. Then Faustulus burst into the room. He bowed low before the king and said, “Good King Numitor, you must have mercy on these boys because they are your own grandsons.” The king looked surprised and then was angry.
13. “Fool, all of my children and my grandchildren are dead. How dare you say such a thing.” “Look at this cloak, your majesty. This is the cloak of Princess Rhea Silvia. I found it with these two boys when they were tiny babies.” Faustulus told him the entire story of finding the babies in the wolf’s den. The king rejoiced to have suddenly gotten two new grandchildren. However Romulus and Remus were very angry and so were the people when they heard what King Amulius had done to the babies. The entire countryside, led by Romulus and Remus rebelled against King Amulius. The people put King Numitor back on the throne.
14. For many years, the city was at peace. But Romulus realized that the only way for the town to grow was to build a new settlement on the banks of the Tiber River where they could ship their goods up the river to other towns, and down the river and out to the ocean to far away places. He selected a spot between seven hills along the Tiber River. Soon people were building new houses as Romulus and his men built the roads. Remus was helping also, but true to his character, he got in the way more than he worked. One unhappy day, as Romulus swung a heavy ax to break up boulders for the road, Remus came by to bring Romulus his lunch. Remus hid behind the pile of stone, and as he leaped up to scare his brother, Romulus accidentally hit him with his ax and Remus died instantly.
15. Poor Romulus. He was sad for many years and never forgave himself for accidentally killing his brother. He became a workaholic and spent long days building a beautiful city that he and Remus had named Rome.
1. What questions does the myth answer? (Consider: Rome’s History, proper behavior, personal character, destiny, etc.)
2. Is there a portion of this text that would express the value of hard work?
3. Is there a portion of this text that would express the value of being ‘serious’ about anything you attempt to do?
4. Is there a portion of this text that indicates/ implies a significant destiny?
5. Is there a portion of this text that describes an event that is extremely uncommon, unique, or supernatural?
6. Are there any familiar elements within this myth? Are there other myths/ legends that may share a common element?
AN01a3_ Ch01: Humans Try to Understand Nature
Timeline: ~10000 BP – 5500 BP (Neolithic Age)
FQ: How does culture answer the tough questions using Myths?
Culture is a trait peculiar to humans. The archaeological record shows that pre-humans lived an existence where instinct, rather than culture, may have dominated daily routines. However, Homo Neanderthalensis exhibited traces of a developing cultural awareness in their burial sites that may reflect the early stages of cultural development in Homo Sapiens.
Initially, natural phenomena, like death, were inexplicable in a pre-scientific society. Over time, many other experiences, formerly unexplainable, came to be explained via the development of myths. The myths, along with rituals developed in tandem. Today, these human traits are the foundations of core beliefs.
I. Vocabulary (Refer to Crossword Puzzle)
II. Development of Culture: Myths
Myths are often accepted as the records of religious events that are too ancient to provide some of the literary proof we’ve come to expect in modern writing. Think of a newspaper article, textbook chapter, etc., these modern examples of writing provide data that can be further researched to establish, with a degree of certainty, that the events highlighted occurred at a certain time much as they were described. Myths, lacking some of these modern attributes of nonfiction writing, still serve an important role for the researcher.
Since myths were already ancient by the times civilizations developed, they carried great cultural importance. That importance earmarked myths as prime candidates for recording when writing became feasible. In written form, myths acquired immortality and represent some of the oldest and most sacred of religious texts.
For the anthropologist, myths are a ‘window’ into the values of early societies. Often, myths from different lands and time periods appear to be similar. If a society shared many of the same values, it’s logical to think they would have similar myths.
To pre-scientific societies, myths helped explain natural phenomena and answer questions about human origin, earthly purpose, and mortality. Creation myths offer an explanation for the historical and/ or present condition of a people. Often, these questions could not be answered to anyone’s satisfaction in any other manner. In essence, myths develop over time to address a gap in a culture’s history.
1. Show the wonders of the universe/ nature.
2. Relate the universe to our lives.
3. Validates a social order. (Who should be leaders, followers, honored, revered, etc.)
4. Teaches us how to live under a variety of circumstances.
5. Explain the human condition/ nature as products of divine intervention. ‘History,’ therefore, is predominantly a result of divine forces and not the will of Man.
B. Myths reveal that…
1. gods intervene.
2. gods are anthropomorphic
3. there is a Human – Divine Connection
4. ‘Floods’ serve to cleanse the earth and punish.
5. Kings are divine or divinely chosen.
6. ’Heroes’ live long lives but often the lives are very difficult.
7. Questions are posed and addressed that focus on Immortality, divine knowledge, morality, etc.
The Human psyche is the same all over the world. Archetypes are the common ideas of myths.- Joseph Campbell (1)
– What Makes a Hero? A TED Ed lesson at http://blog.ed.ted.com/2014/08/07/what-makes-a-hero-3-ted-ed-lessons-about-fictions-finest-figures/
– World History: Patterns of Interaction
(1) Joseph Campbell was a world-renowned expert on human myths. His famous TV series of discussions with PBS’s Bill Moyer in the 1980’s (and the accompanying text) is the source I tapped for portions of this lesson.
AN01a3b_Ch01: Civilization and the Development of Writing- The Historic Period.
Timeline: ~10000 BP – 2200 BP (Neolithic Age to Iron Age)
FS: How does writing reflect the needs and diversity of Humanity?
The Neolithic Age witnessed a transformation of Human communal living. Small, wandering bands began to take advantage of the knowledge and climate that encouraged a sedentary life over a nomadic one. As more and more decided to cast their fortunes into a common cause for survival, their agricultural output made village life possible. As the fledgling village communities grew, the resulting complexity of living together presented challenges. Among these was the need to record information for posterity as well for the use of others that were somewhere else.
I. Vocabulary (Refer to Crossword Puzzle)
II. Attributes of a Civilized Society
These sectors are generally identified as:
A. Presence of a Government (Institutions, Bureaucracies, etc.)
A system has to be devised to efficiently organize the community to successfully meet challenges to the common good.
Categories would include, among others, … (1)
The growth of the community (soon to be a ‘society’) is expected to accelerate as learners to meet and overcome challenges. The growth will come from increasing births and migration. Once the community exceeds the norms of a village, it enters into the category of Town/ City.
1. Presence of Cities/ Towns
2. Increasing Population Density (Rising # of people per unit of land)
C. Presence of Communication System
What constitutes a ‘communication system’ can be quite diverse. It would be safe to say that any civilization would offer examples that reflect the diversity.
Examples would include…
1. Road Network (Travel, Transport)
2. Oral Data Transmission (Oral Tradition)
3. Literary Data Recording (Literary Tradition)
4. River Network (Travel, Transport)
D. Commercial Activity
Commercial activity is one of those actions that Humans must have participated in from the very beginning. In it’s simplest form, commercial activity permits Humans to acquire the things they need, from others, that they could not acquire on their own.
1. Presence of Markets
2. Gathering Resources
3. Create/ develop a Medium Of Exchange
4. Build and Maintain Ports (transport, distribution)
E. Social Striation (hierarchies based on specialization)
In Plato’s Republic, the philosopher describes the various developmental stages a community of people pass through before a polis is reached. One of those stages is when a community of people forms to meet common challenges.
1. Evidence of Social Striation
2. Specialization of community roles.
3. Diversification of jobs
4. Hierarchies: Classes, Castes, Groups, etc.
III. Writing and Civilized Society
Increasing complexity makes the success of any developing community problematical. ‘Writing’ expanded the depth and breadth of the planning that’s necessary for civilization-building.
Every segment of a fully developed civilization has writing as a essential data collection and transmission tool. We would find it strange indeed if we participate in our daily activities and NOT encounter written language.
IV. Developmental Trends in Writing
Table 2: Suggestion for the evolution of phonetic letters. Another variation is explained in the BBC video “The story of how we got our alphabets.” (2)
Written language attempts to parallel oral language. This could be phonetically based where the written form attempts to reproduce the ‘sound’ of the spoken language. On the other hand, it could be ideographically based where the written form attempts to reproduce the ‘thought, idea or sentiment’ of the spoken language.
A. Case Study: Chinese as an Ideographic Language
Given the difficulty of accurately isolating an ‘idea’ or ‘thought’ in a character, the interpretation and pronunciation of the character can vary somewhat.
B. Case Study: Ancient Egyptian as a Phonetic Language
Table 3: This is a clearer example of the ancient Egyptian phonetic alphabet. (3)
A less-attractive example is offered by NOVA’s Pyramid website. (cited below)
Among the earliest orally transmitted data are Myths. Since myths were already ancient by the times civilizations developed, they carried great cultural importance. That importance earmarked myths as prime candidates for recording when writing became feasible. In written form, myths acquired immortality and represent some of the oldest and most sacred of religious texts.
The last table, Table 4, provides a peak into the media and writing tools that written languages require to meet the challenges of developing civilizations.
– Chinese Gov’t efforts to change language (2 May 09) http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/02/chinese-language-ever-evolving/?th&emc=th
– Update: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/nyregion/22chinese.html
– Why are these 32 symbols found in ancient caves all over Europe? http://www.ted.com/talks/genevieve_von_petzinger_why_are_these_32_symbols_found_in_ancient_caves_all_over_europe
– Pyramids. PBS’ NOVA. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/hieroglyph/hieroglyph4.html (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/hieroglyph/hieroglyph4.html) Accessed 13 August 2016.
-Talking Leaves and Lightning Paper. Lexicon Valley podcastEpisode #22. Development of the Cherokee written language. http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/lexicon_valley/2012/12/lexicon_valley_on_sequoyah_a_native_american_who_invented_an_alphabet_for.html