You should expect to spend about the same amount of time on this
exam that you would spend on a closed-book exam. That is, assuming you're
in good shape in the course, about 1.5 Days reading/thinking, and about
half a day writing/obsessing. The total quantity of written work
submitted should probably be in the 2000-2500 word range, i.e., Only a bit
more than what you would write in a classroom exam.
Feel free to ask questions while working on this: questions of general interest will be answered to the group as a whole.
Answer four of the following questions. READ QUESTION 5 before you begin work.
1. Identify some point of interpretation on which the course lectures disagreed with, departed from, went beyond, or just plain didn't jibe with the assigned readings. Offer brief comment. (This is a relatively short-answer question:
2. On the principle that a person's affirmations tell you about his fears (Indiana University propaganda telling you what they're *afraid* you would think of them), look at Gibbon's *General Observations* and tell me what he's afraid of. In other words, what does his study of the Roman empire mean to him? If he's right about the fall of the Roman empire, what does it prove? Ifi he's wrong about the triumph of barbarism and religion, what alternate interpretation (that he doesn't like) does he fear? BE SPECIFIC.
If *you* want to look at some more of his text, the first three chapters (general view of the Roman empire before it fell) and chapters 15-16 (Christianity and its progress) are good places to look; but this is meant as a genuinely friendly suggestion, if you want more material to draw on, and is not a requirement at all. (WARNING: in abridged editions, chapter numbers are often different and misleading: I'm pointing to the unabridged edition.)
3. Select one chapter of Peter Brown's *Body and Society* (but *not* the epilogue): outline its argument, sketch briefly where its argument falls in the structure of the book as a whole, and then conclude by specifying which, if any, aspects of the doctrine and practice in the chapter you have chosen are reflected in modern American beliefs and behavior.
4. Answer one of these two questions:
a. Compare/contrast Augustine's *Confessions* with the gospel of Mark and Paul's letter to the Romans. What 'Christianity' do they have in common? What of Augustine's Christianity has no basis in Mark or Paul?
b. Augustine's *Confessions* and Boethius's *Consolation* are famous works of self-analysis with a religious, or at least a therapeutic, overtone. How do they differ? (Suggestion: using the principle suggested above, start by saying what A. and B. are *afraid* of.)
5. Don't like one of those four questions? Think you can write a better one? Write your own question and answer it. (N.B., this differs from the midterm: it's not what question did you think I would ask, but what question do you think would be a good question for this course.)