History: World Civilizations I

Paper Augustine’s Confessions and Confucius’s Analects remain classics of Western and Eastern literature. These texts have been a source of moral guidance to readers for well over a millennium. But do they teach the same lessons and value the same type of moral actions? In a four-page paper that deals with both texts equally, address the following question: In what ways are the teachings of Saint Augustine and Confucius similar or different with regard to the treatment of one’s family, the pursuit of truth (i.e., God or the Way), and one’s involvement in society? You may only use the Confessions and the Analects for writing this essay. Do not use any other sources or reference materials. This is not a research paper. Instead, it is an in-depth reading of these two books. To write a strong essay, you must lead with a thesis statement and support your observations by directly quoting or citing your sources. This does not mean including large blocks of text, but rather including direct quotations from the books when the actual statement is important for proving your point. For example, if you claim to know the attitudes or ideas of an author, support these points through direct quotations. For example the following would be fine: Despite Confucius’s popularity, he remained humble. At the age of fifty, he still desired study so that he might “be free from major errors (Analects, VII.17).” He also took the lower place in festivals (X.2), he refused to take the lead while singing with others (III.5), and despised ostentatious clothes (I.20). Note the structure of the paragraph above. First, I proved my point through a direct quotation, and then I referenced other texts that support my observation. In this way you are able to thoroughly support your claim. Strong papers will reference multiple anecdotes when proving an important observation. That is to say, draw your arguments from the entire material of the assigned sections. Your papers should make defendable observations about the texts in a comprehensive manner. Consider the following thesis statements for guidance: BAD: X and P have been a source of moral guidance to readers for well over a millennium. There are many similarities and differences between X and P. GOOD: While X and P have been a source of moral guidance to readers for well over a millennium, their similarities end there. X valued A, B, and C while P taught Q, R, and S. These differences in values logically lead to different moral choices. Followers of X would tend to do Z while those of P would do T. OR While there are significant similarities between X and P, there are also notable differences. Both thinkers valued A but differed over B and C. As a result, the followers of X would tend to do Z while those of P would do T.

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