HON 101: Humanities I - The Ancient and Medieval World

 Profs. Donald Arentz, Michael Kagan

M.  Kagan:  Office Hours in RH-436   (445-4489)

 D. Arentz: Office Hours in the Honors House 

MWF 1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m., & by appointment.

 MW 1:00 p.m. - 2:20 p.m., & by appointment

Email: kagan@lemoyne.edu

 Email: arentzdw@lemoyne.edu,  arentzdw@aol.com

From the course description (taken from http://www.lemoyne.edu/class_availability/course-04-SP-int.htm#HON):  "This is a team-taught, interdisciplinary sequence of courses open to members of the Integral Honors Program.  Major trends and developments in Western and non-Western civilizations are studied from the perspectives of literature, history, philosophy and religion."

We hope to increase our understanding of some aspects of the ancient and medieval periods, with a particular concern for(what might be called Confucian) questions about the relationships between learners and the people they teach and learn from, and how these are informed by the contexts in which they are found.    

Requirements and grading


1.        20% of the grade is based on participation, in-class writings, and optional writing assignments that may develop as a result of our class discussions.

2.        40% of the grade is based on two student essays. (Each essay counts 20%.)

3.        40%  of the grade is based on two take home essay exams. (Each exam counts 20%.)

Grades are based on a 10 point scale as follows:
90-100 - 'A' range (97-100 = A+; 94-96=A; 90-93=A-).
80-89  - 'B' range (87-89 = B+; 84-86=B; 80-83=B-).
70-79  - 'C' range (77-79 = C+; 74-76=C; 70-73=C-).
60-69  - 'D' range (67-69 = D+; 64-66=D; 60-63=D-).
Below 60 - 'F'.

Failure to complete any of (1)-(3) can result in a failing grade. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade.

Required Reading List:

A Bible (including Jewish and Christian scriptures)
Arendt, excerpts from "Some Questions of Moral Philosophy (from Responsibility and Judgment)
Aristotle,  Selections (trans. Irwin)
Augustine, Teacher
Confucius, Analects
Dante, Purgatorio
Dewitt, Last Samurai
Homer, Iliad
Lau Tzu, Tao te Ching
Maimonides, selections from the Guide of the Perplexed
Plato, Republic, Meno, Apology and other selections from The Trials of SocratesEuthydemus (many of Plato's works are available at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu)
Sophocles, Antigone
Steiner, Lessons of the Masters
Strauss, "Persecution and the Art of Writing"
Virgil, Aeneid

In coordination with the
Academic Support Center (ASC), reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified students with disabilities. Please register with the ASC Office for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations. After receiving your accommodation form from the ASC, you will need to make an appointment with each of us to review the form and discuss your needs. Please make every attempt to meet with us within the first week of class so your accommodations can be provided in a timely manner. You can either stop by the ASC, Library, 1st floor, or call (445-4118-voice or 445-4104-TDD) to make an appointment.


No classes on the following dates: Mon., Jan. 19 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), Mar. 1-6 (Spring Break), ), Apr. 8-12 (Easter Break).
First Essay due Fri., Feb. 20 (end of week #6) .   First take home exam due Fri., Feb 27 (end of week 7).  Second essay due Fri., Mar. 2  (end of week #11).  Second take home (final) exam due at the scheduled time of the final (
Friday, May 7, 2004, 9:00 - 11:30 A.M.)  LAST DAY OF CLASS - May 3.


Continue reading Arendt, DeWitt, Steiner.  Read throughout, to be finished by week 12. 

1.  Homer on the best, mastery as being the best, honor and vengeance   Finish reading the Iliad by the end of week 2.

2.  Gisli saga - equality - justice feud; family, honor and vengeance     Also read Genesis, chs. 27 - 34 (from the time Jacob disguises himself to get Esau's blessing through his sons' response to the violation of their sister, Dina). Read by end of week 2.

3.  Gita - Lordship, royal duties, karmic duties, family vs. caste obligation and the teaching of teaching of the gods  Read by week  3.  Read Genesis 18 (God's promise to Abraham about children; Abraham's response to God's plan to destroy
Sodom and Gomorrah); ch. 19 ( Lot and his family's response to an angelic visit) and ch. 22, Abraham and Isaac's response to the command to sacrifice Isaac).   Read by week  3.

4.  Antigone  and Euthyphro - Responding to questions about justice and the divine.   Read by week 5.  First essay due by end of week 6.  Finish reading Arendt.

6.  Take home due end of week 7.

5.  Masters in conflict: Socrates of Euthydemus, Euthyphro, Apology, Meno & the philosopher of the Republic (Book 5, Line and the Cave),  Read by week 7.

6.  Aristotle as rebellious student (which here, at least, means the best student . . . ); on going activity [Nicomachean Ethics Read by week 9; Poetics and Topics read by week 10.

7 .  Lau Tzu, Confucius,   Read by week 11.

7b.  Virgil and Dante, more questions about justice and the divine.  Read by week 12.

8. Augustine and the medieval project. Augustine  (constructive conflict between the teacher and the student).   Read Genesis, chs. 1-3; John chs. 1-3.    Read Augustine's Teacher. Read by week 13.

10. Maimonides and Strauss on identifying the student (or showing one corner but not the other three).   Some paradoxes involved in teaching secretly through books.  Read selections from Maimonides' Guide and Strauss, "Persecution and the Art of Writing" by week 14.

Arendt, DeWitt, Steiner.  Read throughout, to be finished by week 12.  Second essay due Fri., Mar. 2  (end of week #11).

10.  Selected presentations of student essays.

Take home final due at regularly scheduled time of final. (
Friday, May 7, 2004, 9:00 - 11:30 A.M.)

Some of this page's links:

  1. Honors 101:  Ancient/Medieval, Spring 2004 syllabus 
  2. Other materials for HON 101
  3. Kagan's homepage at Le Moyne
  4.  Perseus digital library at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/
  5.  Academic Support Center: http://www.lemoyne.edu/academic_support_center/spneed.htm

This syllabus revised Jan. 6, 2004.   Some links added 1/23/2004.