Learn geography online through human geography’s study of great epics. Human Geography is about place and the links that bind us and conflicts that divide us from that place. It is about how humans shape the environment and how they intern are shaped by the environment. Human geographers often divide the world’s cultures up into eastern and western civilization. Western civilization meaning the western part of the Eurasian continent including north Africa. A great deal of western civilization comes from the fusion of ancient Greece and ancient Israel. And these cultures especially fused in ancient and medieval Rome with the Romans adopting the Greek Pantheon, architecture and later the Roman Catholic church adopting the Bible. And spreading Roman language and culture all the way around the Mediterranean and into all of Europe. The two great epics of these ancient cultures were the the Iliad (Trojan war) and the Exodus.
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The ancient Greeks were polytheistic and believed in many gods. These gods represented the diversity of the unconscious because they represented the many different kinds of archetypes that the unconscious is made up of. The Hebrews believed in only one God, Yahweh, who is the supreme God and represents the deepest of the subconscious archetypes “I AM”. We know this from the passage when God said to Moses after Moses asked who shall he tell his people who has sent him. God said “I Am that I Am… I Am has sent Me unto you.”(Exodus 3:14). This is unlike the ancient Greek point of view because Yahweh has no image and is both male and female. “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them”(Genesis:1:27). (In Hebrew as well as English there is no gender-less singular pronoun. And “it” in English is for inanimate objects. Hence referring to God in the masculine in western culture.) Yahweh rules fate, while fate controls the Greek Gods and the universe created them. No one created Yahweh.
When Moses came to Horeb the mountain of God he saw a burning bush. Although it was burning it was not consumed. The angel of the Lord appeared a midst the bush. Moses couldn’t understand why the bush was not consumed and turned aside to see why. As he did the Lord called out to him out of the bush and told him not to come near and put off his shoes from his feet. Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. The significance of this burning bush is that the Lord appeared behind him and since Yahweh has no form He had to use the burning bush to come to Moses. Modern psychologists say what Moses saw is called numinous. Which is seen in visual form. Great epics like Exodus, is the Hebrew flight out of Egypt. In the Exodus God calls Himself in front of Moses “I am”. This is a change in the divine name from the way God presented Himself to Abraham, Issac and Jacob as God Almighty (Genesis:17:1) or El Shaddai in Hebrew. God says he did not make himself know to them as He did Moses and his people(Exodus:6:3). The Exodus principal is a belief that Yahweh helps the weak, poor, sick and oppressed.
The Greeks such as Achilles or Agamemnon (from the Iliad) in the deepest part of their conscience would believe in the Exodus principal. Achilles really knew that going to war and killing people was wrong but Odysseus convinced him to ignore his mother’s advice and go to the Greek camp. Odysseus convinced him so easily because that is what Achilles wanted to do anyway. Agamemnon knew that sacrificing his daughter to Artemis was wrong because to him it was hardly bearable thus recognizing the Exodus principle. However his reputation with the army was at stake and conquering Troy, he cared more for than righteousness and did the deed.
The Exodus connected with the covenant is the deed God did for the Israelites to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians. The covenant is an exchange of promises that occurred between God and Israel after the Exodus. “Do all that I say, then I will be an enemy of your enemies and an adversary of your adversaries” (Exodus 23:22). Keeping the covenant with Yahweh is the obedience that is required. This obedience was following the Ten Commandments and the laws concerning violence and restitution. As well as building an ark of testimony, an altar unto Yahweh and acting justly. Some scholars say the Exodus was an actual historical event which happened in the thirteenth century B.C. along with it’s basis and characters. Such events as the Nile turning to blood or the waters of the Red Sea being parted seem very far fetched to non believers. Skeptics say these were added to the basic factual story to make it more interesting to tell and remember because they give the reader a sense of faith. Stories such as these are still happening because God did not just speak to people long ago but rather, as believers say, God has spoken to them about their situation and the problems of their time.
The Israelites believed in a single God. Many other religions of other civilizations before Israel had very little sense of justice and fair play concerning their gods. The Hebrew God Yahweh is the same God most people believe in today(Christians). We also like to believe in the Exodus principal that there is an ultimate sense of justice in the end and the idea of the covenant, that if one follows God’s law one will be protected and rewarded. This is the moral compass of western civilization.
The Iliad along with many other stories in Greek mythology, We are introduced to many gods (Or a Romanized version of them) that the planets of our solar system are named after. Also the days of the week. The constellations in the heavens including western horoscopes are named after characters in Greek mythology,as well as many expressions in the English language such as Pandora’s Box Achilles Heal, Oedipus Complex and Trojan Horse.Even the Cyrillic alphabet was a Slavic version of the Greek alphabet spread to eastern Europe by the Christian missionary work of St Cyril. Through great epics human geographers can learn much about the cultural mosaic of ancient civilizations and their progeny.