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Assignment Questions

Christianity and Paganism


REQUIREMENTS: Read the text and write an analytical essay of 5 double-spaced typed pages on ONE (1) of the topics below:

A. What were the varieties of “persecution” brought to bear against paganism by Christians at different social levels? How effective were these actions?

B. What role did gender-based social differences play in the competition between paganism and Christianity?

C. Within both communities – Christian and Pagan – there are apparent tensions and conflicts between “learned” and “popular” religious beliefs and practices. Explain these conflicts and how Christianity was able to assimilate some of these practices to its own advantage.

D. What role did “Magic” – control of the natural elements through invocation of special powers – play in the duel between Christianity and paganism. What did these perceptions tell us about how early medieval people viewed the world in which they lived?

E. What sources does the author use to reconstruct religious life at the dawn of the Middle Ages, and what are some of the problems he encounters in their use?

E. Realizing the Christian biases of our sources, how can these stories help us to reconstruct the politics, religious beliefs, and social organizations of pre-Christian society?


PREPARATION: Essay must be not less than five double-spaced typewritten pages. The paper must be typed or composed on a word?processor.
REFERENCES. Essay must use at least five sources. Christianity and Paganism counts as one. Other sources may include books, journal articles, and/or one Internet source. You may NOT use such High School Sources as World Book, World Almanac, dictionaries, or generic encyclopedias (Britannica, Americana, ENCARTA, etc.). All papers MUST use quotations (including some direct quotes), following the examples used in Rampolla, You MUST reference those quotes correctly, and MUST have a correct Bibliography page.
When you quote directly from a source and the quotation is longer than four lines, you must set the quotation off by single-spacing and by indenting approximately five spaces from both left and right margins. Do not use quotation marks. For quotes of three lines or less, leave the citation in the body of your narrative. Either way, all quotes must be correctly cited by footnote or endnote. Do not use Parenthetical citations!!!

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