In Chapter 3, Kessler discusses what he calls “Sacred Power.” In your first essa
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In Chapter 3, Kessler discusses what he calls “Sacred Power.” In your first essay, you should imagine you are an archaeologist, who analyzes artifacts to study human history, and you want to find artifacts that represent “sacred power” as described in the Daoist and Hindu traditions. Narrow your focus on Hinduism to the worship of Ganesha, as described in Chapter 3. Imagine you are discussing your exploration with a friend who argues that the Dao and Ganesha are not legitimate forms of sacred power, because the only “real” sacred power is the one true God as described in the Judeo-Christian Bible. Your essay should respond to your friend’s argument: Begin by explaining how you think an archaeologist would define the term “sacred power.” Remember that an archaeologist’s definition would try to be unbiased. Then summarize the Dao and Ganesha, focusing on whether either or both of those traditions include an image that qualifies as a sacred power, using your archaeologist’s definition of that term. Before you attempt to write your essay, be sure to read Kessler’s Chapter 3 and my PowerPoint lesson on that chapter.
For each essay, you will compare a single aspect of several religions from an “outsider” perspective such as a philosopher, sociologist, or anthropologist. The assignment will include two religions to compare. You must use the assigned religions for your essay; you cannot substitute other religions. The essays should have two main sections; you may even be able to answer the question in only two paragraphs, though I would expect them to be long paragraphs. For the first section, you should pretend you are the scholar I have assigned (for the first essay, that’s an archaeologist) and then identify how you would define the general term for the assignment and explain why you would define it that way. Remember that you want to remain objective and unbiased, and you want to see things in their historical and geographical context. For the first essay, the general term “sacred power” needs to be defined, from the perspective of an archaeologist. The second part of the essay should summarize the beliefs and/or doctrines held by each of the assigned religions (for the first essay, it’s Daoism and Ganesha) and should