Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily Beliefs Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein The writer G. K. Chesterton is supposed to have said that the most important thing you can know about anyone is that person’s beliefs.  Why?  Because everything any of us creates comes organically from what we believe to be true about the world.  This is as true of art, architecture, and music as it is of literature. Hence, this class will look at the beliefs of those cultures it examines—from what the people believed about their deities to what they believed about the roles of women and men to where they believed they would go when their lives on the earth were over. Further, written history is made up of the beliefs of those who were the winners in any sort of dispute or disagreement. If one group won out in a dispute of faith or reason over another group, it was the winners who passed their beliefs to the next generation, generally burying or obliterating the beliefs of the losers in the process. But occasionally, the beliefs of the losers come back into the spotlight, thus giving us a clearer idea of where some anomalies of art, symbol, or ideology really came from. For example, we have a much better idea today of the Jewish culture Jesus came from than we did even a couple of decades ago as a result of the fairly recent translation and publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in 1947. The principle here is a good one to remember, because there new archaeological finds are being made every day that demonstrate our knowledge of the past as at best partial; I call the new understandings of the past: “Late breaking news from the ancient world.” So always in the class and on this web site, I will present information that I currently understand to have come from the beliefs and hence the generative principles of particular cultural groups.  These may well change even as the class progresses, and if I discover they have changed, I’ll make changes to the website! I sincerely hope you enjoy perusing it!