● Choose one prompt ● Respond with long paragraph (250 words) or short essay (500 words) ● Essay must contain introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion ● Explain your thesis with a close reading of the text ● Make reference to relevant passages from Ramayana or Genesis
I. If you opened the book of Genesis looking for wisdom, and read the story of Abraham and Sarah, what would you find? Explain.
II. If you opened the epic of Ramayana looking for wisdom, and read the story of Rama and Sita, what would you find? Explain.
III. What does the story of Abraham tell us about ancient Hebrew culture, or attitudes toward god, society, and what it means to be a good human being?
IV. What does the story of Rama tell us about ancient Hindu culture, or attitudes toward god, society, and what it means to fulfill one’s dharma?
V. According to your reading of the patriarchal tales (Ch 12-50), what does the god of Genesis want from (or for) us? What, specifically, does god promise to Abraham, why does he promise it, and how does this covenant transform the way the inheritors of the covenant are supposed to live?
VI. Why does the god Vishnu incarnate himself as Rama? Why is it necessary for the gods to remind Rama of his divinity, and what does this tell us about the relationship between the human and the divine? What difference does it make whether we see Rama as human or as divine? VII. Why and how does God test Abraham? How does this change the way you read the story?
VIII. Why isn’t the Ramayana just a simple matter of good guy versus bad guy, or god versus demon? What are the added complications? How does this change the way you read the