Author Archives: vradams

Lesson 5: New Testament and the Koran

1. How do Islamic perceptions of Heaven and Hell differ from those of Christianity and Judaism?

I must start by saying I enjoyed this lesson a lot.   I knew very little about the Islamic religion and even what some of the big differences were between Christianity and Judaism.   This has shed some light.   The Islamic view of Heaven is that it takes good acts to get there, and even then one may not get in.   Allah will compare your good deeds against your bad deeds, and if your good outweigh your bad then you can enter.   If not, you are sent to hell.   Christianity and Judaism are more alike, when you die you either go to Heaven or Hell and you stay there.   However for Judaism, they believe Heaven is the Garden of Eden.

2. Although Jesus was a Jew, the religious institutions created in his name proved difficult for Jews to embrace but attractive to Greeks. What elements in the Nativity and the Passion narratives seems particularly and culturally familiar to a pagan audience?

What does Christmas mean to people?   What about the Passion?   I would say that nonbelievers, Christmas is a time for exchanging presents, being with family and loved ones, baking, and all those fun things that Im sure all of us enjoy.   Even nonbelievers though are familiar with what Christmas is traditionally.   The birth of Jesus, the three wise men giving their gifts of gold, frankincense, and mer.   Many are aware that this is what it is, however it is now a cultural norm that it’s all about the presents.   Additionaly, for a pagan audience, the Passion is familiar to many as well.   Good Friday, and Palm Sunday… these many people know of.   When Jesus was crucified and rose again.   However, we today correlate this with the easter bunny and candy.



3.  Jesus claims the redeemed sinner is more precious to God than the righteous person who never sinned. This implies a conception of God unlike that found in the Old Testament or in The Iliad. How does this emphasis on human repentance and divine mercy change human relations to God? What different aspects of the divine/human relationships were emphasized in Gilgamesh, or The Iliad?                                                          

First of all, all men are sinners.   According to the Bible.   Therefore, I would think that every man who accepts God gift of eternal life, forgiveness, and unconditional love would be a great victory for God.   What isn’t precious about the acceptance of this gift according to God?   I think that makes our relationships with God all the more special.   You are accepting Him, and acknowledging that he is the I AM.   This type of relationship is the opposite of those present in the Iliad or Gilgamesh.   There I think everyone is focused on obtaining what is best for themselves, and the gods use the humans and vise versa for their own personal gain/enjoyment.   They are all consumed up in vanity and pathetic arguments that the gods, after awhile, do not seem like god like figures at all compared to Jesus or even Allah.

Medea and Job

1. Madea is a woman, but Euripides has presented her as a figure previously thought of as exclusively male–a hero. Analyze her character in the play with that of Achilles, and conclude with a judgement on whether or not you think Medea is a hero and why.

While reading Medea, I was quite appalled by her character.  Many people I have seen face misfortunes, heart break, diseases, and none of which have reacted nearly as harsh.  Granted this is a mythical story, however, portraying a character that is so selfish, prideful, and full of hate makes the story very deep and moving.  Achilles was very prideful as well, however, his consideration and love for his friends overcame him and he was able to return to his senses.  Medea on the other hand is blinded by her rage and kills her children.  A hero is one who is somewhat idolized by others, achieves a greater good, has outstanding qualities, and makes one want to sympathize with them.  Medea is none of these. None of her quantities make me want to idolize her or revere her in anyway, and along with murdering her children, I don’t think that she was a heroic figure at all.

2. Job (in chapter 31) makes the claim that his life has been virtuous and devoted to the worship of God, and so he does not deserve the calamities that have fallen on him. He asks God for an answer, but the voice from the whirlwind does not deal with his question at all. Why does Job accept God’s assertion of divine power (42) and not press for an answer to his question? Why is he satisfied with what he is given? Do you find the end of the dialogue satisfactory?

   First of all, why not Job?  What makes anyone above such calamities?  Years ago during Hurricane Katrina, I remember hearing an interview of an elderly woman on the radio.  The reporter was asking her how she felt about it and why her, she responded by saying “Why not me?”.  I thought that that response was so wise and brought up such good point.  2 Corinthians 1:9  says “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God,  who raises the dead.”  Interestingly enough, a quote from Medea made me think of Job as well, lines 128-29 “God indeed, when in anger, brings Greater ruin to great men’s houses.”

I believe that Job was in acceptance of his circumstances and new that God was in charge and had the attitude that the elderly woman had during Hurricane Katrina, why not me?  I was satisfied, although I felt incredibly bad for the hardships and misfortunes he endured, but I think that he became more of a heroic figure  and set a great example with his faith in God.

The Iliad

1.    I found the Iliad to be somewhat of an amusing read, not due to the war scenes that depict images of violence and destruction, but because of all the characters and how Homer portrays them.   It almost seems like a soap opera between all the gods.   All the gods spend so much time with petty arguments between themselves and manipulating the humans to their liking, it definitely ads drama and length to The Iliad.

Two main characters, Hector and Achilles, have many similarities and differences.   Both men and there presence gives hope and courage to men on the battle field.   When Patroclus disguised himself in Achilles’s armor, the Greeks moral and passion to win the battle instantly returned, merely at the sight of “Achilles’.   He is a figure that men look up to and revere.   Hector, being the prince, and brother of Paris, has a likewise affect on his men too.   He is usually at the front, leading his men into battle.   Both at times let pride blind their decision making.   Hector and Achilles miss a lot of the battle (Achilles more, he doesn’t enter until the end of the Iliad).   Hector, however, misses parts of the battle due to his cowardliness.   He tucks his tail and runs when the Trojans are being pushed back.   Even though he was manipulated quite a bit by the gods, his absence was due to his lack of courage.   Achilles on the other hand, was incredibly proud.   He sat it his tent licking his wounds while all his comrades were in the thick of battle.   He was slighted by Agamemnon, and to get back at him, sits in his tent pitying himself and therefore great casualties are incurred to his fellow countrymen.

Hector to me seems to have a better sense of loyalty to his fellow Trojans.   Despite the few times he retreats (his men follow), he has a better sense of the familial code towards his countrymen.   Achilles however, does not.   His pride overthrows his connection to his countrymen.   After he is insulted by Agamemnon,   he curses them all and prays to Zeus for their destruction.   The only thing that over throws that and reconnects him to his fellow warriors his the death of his good friend Patroclus.

2.   Priam travels to Achilles tent, and begs for Hectors body back.   He urges Achilles to think of the love he has for his father and friend.   I believe that this action brings to Achilles attention the disrespectfulness of his actions, and for once, he thinks of someone else’s feelings.   He is no loner self-absorbed and prideful.   He thinks of how his own father will soon be like Priam as soon as his destiny is fulfilled.   The end of The Iliad leaves Achilles with a softened heart and a change of character.

3.   You need the warrior code to defend the familial code otherwise the latter will be manipulated by malignant forces. You need the familial code to keep the warrior code in check, the two are interrelated.   Each code would not be the same or even exist without the other.


1.    The story of Gilgamesh, I believe, does contain some of the stages of a Hero’s Journey.  At first I was assuming that Gilgamesh would be the hero in this story, for he does crave adventure, has a turning point/life lesson.  However, Enkidu is made from nothing (hero’s typically come from lower class?).  Furthermore, Enkidu first meets Gilgamesh when he stops him from entering a young brides chamber.  He has a true hero’s personality and calling to do good.  Also, after Gilgamesh and Enkidu become friends, they go on adventures together to cut down the sacred trees, and in doing so have to defeat the monster Humbaba,  Enraging the gods, one must be punished and Enkidu is choses.  His sacrifice seems to me a heroic thing to do.

2.  The  functions of mythology are present, I would say that the sociological part is clearer to me.  It is an extremely old myth that still exists today and tells of a cultures lessons by using fables and even sometimes parables.  I feel like mythes could be very complex to write because you are trying to get a point across by writing in fables and what not and either consciously or subconsciously incorporating the different functions of mythology.


3.    I see Gilgamesh’s journey as a success, for he transformed out of a young man whose sense of adventure was satisfied by inflicting others, and he was transformed into an adult who had a sense of what life was really about.  As odd as I found this story to be, I think that it achieved some well developed stages of a Hero’s Journey and relayed some important lessons.

A Hero’s Journey

While reading over other students posts, I realized that many movies are the same.  Granted that they all have different characters, a different setting, and perhaps different lessons; they more or less are very similar.   (I would love to hear who agrees and disagrees with me.)  As I noted on Jacques post about the Lion King, aren’t most movies, granted maybe horror/comedy, about a hero who goes on a journey of some kind to achieve a goal or greater good?  And upon completion is a better person who has learned a valuable lesson?

Many movies already mentioned; the Hunger Games, Eragon, and many Disney movies follow the guidelines of a heroes journey.  A movie that came to mind for me was Captain America.  Captain America started off as a “nobody”, he was too short, too week, too poor, etc.  He wasn’t even allowed to enlist in the Army.  He is then selected for an experiment (which makes him totally huge and powerful) and starts his “Hero’s Journey” to stop the bad guy and attain world peace.  After his departure, he has his initiation.  I would say that most of the movie he is faced with obstacles and trials which are all a part of his initiation.  For Captain America’s return, the first movie was definitely a “Return from Without”.  At the end of the movie, the only way to save everyone is if he crashes into the ocean.  He is frozen for years and brought back by explorers who find him buried in ice.  Unknown

Many movies today seem to be more and more alike.  I would say that many of them touch on the basic characters of a Hero’s Journey but not all go into great detail.  However today’s movies can achieve to meet human needs stated, some of these are  “childhood to adulthood”, “a picture of our society in which each person belongs”, etc.  Movies meet these needs because  these are basic plot lines that we are comfortable with and know.

My introduction

Hi everyone,

My name is Victoria Adams, and I am a sophomore here at UAF.  I have lived in Anchorage most of my life, my family moved to Anchorage from Portland, Oregon when I was 4 for my dads job.  I am the second to youngest of 5 kids.  You could say growing up was always busy and full of excitement.

I decided to go to UAF because it was affordable and they have an excellent swim team.  One of my older sisters is a senior here and swims as well.  Her experience and improvement helped convince me that this place would be a good fit.  I am now extremely thankful and happy that I decided to come here, it has been a wonderful time so far and I have made some wonderful friends.

I am majoring in Business Administration, focusing in Accounting with a Minor in Marketing.  This class is part of my required classes and I enjoy reading so I thought “what the heck”.  Last year I didn’t read anything besides my text books, which is a shame.  My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.  She is such a good author.  Anyway!  I look forward to this class and our discussions.

Looking forward to this semester!


Hiking Little O'Malley in Anchorage

“Hiking Little O’Malley in Anchorage”