image of Jesus Christ

Week 4: Evangelium.

Background | Background Quiz | Starting Assumptions | Resources | Extras
Vocabulary | Etymology | Grammar | Perseus Dictionary | Perseus Tool

Reading Overview | Reading Quiz: English
| Reading Quiz: Latin
Discussion Questions | Latin Composition | Weekly Checklist

Discussion Board

Please choose 3 of the following questions to answer and send your response in an email to the instructor ( Each answer should be a solid paragraph (150-250 words for each English discussion question, 500-750 words for the overall assignment).

You should then post your answers to the class Discussion Board. You need to have sent the email and posted your answers by Friday midnight. At some point you will also be posting at least two replies to comments posted by the other students; you may do that at any time during the week, until Monday midnight.

1. Parables and allegories. The narratives we read last week and the week before were stories for their sakes - the story of Moses, the story of Samson. This week you read several stories and similes which are told because they are symbols of something else, conveying a concealed or encoded message: the story of the sower, the simile of the mustard seed, the simile of the yeast, the story of the Samaritan. Which of these stories/similes do you think is the most effective at conveyed a spiritual message? Do you think this is an effective way of teaching? Why do you think Jesus chose to preach with these symbolic stories instead of just stating his message in a more direct and straightforward way?

2. Kingdom of Heaven similes. There is not an interpretation provided of the two "kingdom of heaven" similes that you read this week: the simile of the mustard seed, and the simile of the yeast. How would you interpret these two similes?

aliam parabolam proposuit eis dicens simile est regnum caelorum grano sinapis quod accipiens homo seminavit in agro suo quod minimum quidem est omnibus seminibus cum autem creverit maius est omnibus holeribus et fit arbor ita ut volucres caeli veniant et habitent in ramis eius aliam parabolam locutus est eis simile est regnum caelorum fermento quod acceptum mulier abscondit in farinae satis tribus donec fermentatum est totum haec omnia locutus est Iesus in parabolis ad turbas et sine parabolis non loquebatur eis.

What picture do you get of the regnum caelorum on the basis of these two similes? What does the simile of the mustard seed reveal to you about the regnum caelorum? What does the simile of the yeast reveal? Can you think of any particular reason that these two similes would be used one after the other? Do they duplicate each other? Complement each other? Or do you not see any specific connection between them?

3. Crucifixion in the Gospel of John. When the writer of this gospel narrates the story of the crucifixion, he is narrating an event that he believed to be of a "cosmic" nature, affecting all the world and changing it forever. Yet it is also a story, and it is told in a quite simple, even understated, fashion. What are the details that the writer emphasizes here? Are there any adjectives or adverbs that are used to enhance or heighten the effects of the story? Are there details you noticed reading this story that you did not remember from before? When you look at the many illustrations of this scene, what details do you see being emphasized in these visual depictions?

4. Pre-King James Translation. Here is an excerpt from a very early English translation (the Tyndale translation) of the story of the Samaritan, which dates to the year 1525.

A certayne ma descended fro Hierusalem into Hierico / & fell in to the hondes of theves / which robbed him of his raymet & wounded him / & departed levynge him halfe deed. And by chaunce ther came a certayne preste that same waye / & when he sawe him / he passed by. And lykewyse a Levite / when he was come nye to the place / wet & loked on him / and passed by. Then a certayne Samaritane / as he iornyed / came nye vnto him / & when he sawe him / had compassion on him / & went to and bounde vp his woundes / and poured in oyle and wyne / and put him on his awne beaste / & brought him to a comen ynne / and made provision for him. And on the morowe when he departed / he toke out two pece & gave them to the host / & sayde vnto him. Take cure of him / & whatsoever thou spedest moare / when I come agayne / I will recompence the.

homo quidam descendebat ab Hierusalem in Hiericho et incidit in latrones qui etiam despoliaverunt eum et plagis inpositis abierunt semivivo relicto accidit autem ut sacerdos quidam descenderet eadem via et viso illo praeterivit similiter et Levita cum esset secus locum et videret eum pertransiit Samaritanus autem quidam iter faciens venit secus eum et videns eum misericordia motus est et adpropians alligavit vulnera eius infundens oleum et vinum et inponens illum in iumentum suum duxit in stabulum et curam eius egit et altera die protulit duos denarios et dedit stabulario et ait curam illius habe et quodcumque supererogaveris ego cum rediero reddam tibi

What do you think about this translation? What strikes you most about the differences between this English of 400 years ago and the kind of English you are used to today? Are there any specific words and phrases in the translation that leap out at you? Are there details that you notice reading this English version that you did not notice when you were working on the Latin version?

5. Favorite image for the week. Was there one of the images for this week which made a big impression on you? Provide a link to the webpage where that image is found, and give a detailed description of the image. What attracted your attention to this image? What are the details that stick in your mind? Do you think that image fits in well with the words of the text? What makes this image stand out from the other images that we looked at this week?

6. Reflecting on the week. Take a look back at what you wrote as your "starting assumptions" for this week, and look at the starting assumptions of the other students in the class. Did anything you read or studied this week make a big change in your starting assumptions? Did the assignment turn out to be pretty much what you expected? More interesting? Less interesting? What surprised you the most? If you were going to continue with this topic, what kind of research and reading would you want to do? What questions are still left unanswered?

7. Grammar revelations. Did you have a Latin grammar crisis this week? Did you get through it? What did you learn? Is there something you grasped this week that was never really clear to you before? A grammar epiphany? Is there something you are still really struggling with? What do you do when you are having trouble understanding a passage in Latin? Where do you look for help? In general, was the reading this week easier or harder than expected? What are you going to concentrate on in your Latin work in the coming week?

8. Website critique. Pick one of the websites that you visited this week as part of your work for this class (it could be a website about this week's topic, or a website for learning Latin). Provide a link to the site, and a brief desription of its contents. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this website? Who would find this website useful? What did you use this website for? What did you find there? Do you think you will visit this website again?

Modern Languages 4970 / MRS 4903: Medieval Latin. Spring 2003 Online Course at the University of Oklahoma. Visit for more info.
Laura Gibbs, University of Oklahoma - Information Technology © 2003. Last updated: December 29, 2002 7:12 PM