Reaction Paper 1
In the “Birth and Youth” readings, I found similarities in the birth of Alexander the great and the birth of Augustus. They both had miraculous birth and their parents received revelations from the gods before they were conceived. The birth of these great men was described in the readings to have been discovered through meteorological signs. For example, the gods reveal to Alexander’s parents in their dreams that they would have a child. Alexander’s mother, Olympias dreamt that her womb was struck by lightning which was a sign by the gods. While Alexander’s father, Philip dreamt that he places a seal which was a picture of a lion on Olympias womb. Philip saw a divine serpent laying close to his wife and he believed that was a sign by the gods telling him not to have any sexual encounters with Olympias. Then, Olympias had a mysterious pregnancy and gave birth to Alexander the great. Both Olympias and Philip believed that the birth of Alexander was divine because of the signs and symbols that was revealed to them in their dreams before he was conceived.
Similarly, Augustus birth was first revealed in a prophesy that was given in public that nature was going to deliver the birth of a king to the Romans. Though Augustus’ mother also dreamt and saw a vision about her womb been carried up to the stars. In the dream, she saw a symbol of a snake being placed on her body. The dream serves as a sign to Augustus’ mother at that she is going to have a miraculous birth. When Augustus’ father, Octavius learned about these signs, he consulted a priest to confirm the arrival of Augustus. A sign was also revealed to Octavius. Alexander the great and Augustus both had mysterious births and their parents received signs and symbols in the form of dream before they were conceived.
In the “Miracle” article, the similarities that I found is the miracle of Vespasian and the miracle of Chanina Ben Dosa. The miracles from these great men were explained to be from God, the two men were also filled with power to heal people and to communicate with God about their concerns. They both believe in prayers and in the word of God. Vespasian and Chanina Ben Dosa had faith in God and in asking God for mercies and favors. These great men of God were both divine and considered by their followers to be incredible men. As such, Vespasian had the gift of healing, while Chanina Ben Dosa had favor from God. In Bart Ehrman textbook, these miraculous men were identified as religious figures. The book explained that miraculous signs accompanied their birth, and they demonstrated divine powers in their own miracles and inspired teachings. They were also glorified after they had died because it was recorded that they soared to heaven.
I found similarities in the “teachings” of Epictetus and Aristotle. The two philosophers were the originator of Western science. Their philosophies were focused on the issues of “moral good”. Epictetus was a Greek Stoic scholar and his theory was grounded in “Enchiridion” that is, one must accept what happen and take responsibilities and act accordingly. Epictetus explains that although some things are beyond our control but we should not be depressed by our challenges. Epictetus describes this point of view as ‘Ataraxy peaceful’ perspective and that people should discover joy in ordinary things. Epictetus also explains that deriving satisfaction in ordinary things will prompt eudaimonia which will ultimately allow people to be happy. He further describes a more extensive perspective of the things individuals must do that would lead to more fulfilling and flourishing life.
Aristotle argues that there is no single aspect of goodness. The teaching focuses on the significance of ethical reasoning and that every individual should have control over their lives. Aristotle explains that individuals should not only emphasis on pleasures throughout their everyday life but think critically about other aspects of their lives. This philosophical point of view is more adapted towards assisting people to live in ways that would encourage them to be the best they can be in order to achieve their maximum potentials. The teaching also embraces the principle of governing ones’ life by not allowing others to have undesirable influence over them. Aristotle explains that by thinking critically individuals will learn about their own reality.
With reference to these ancient bibliographies discussed above, the early followers of Jesus would have expected to find his birth to be mysterious; that is, Jesus was born to a Virgin mother. They would also have expected that his teachings would help people to live fulfilling and moral lives. Also, his followers would have expected Jesus to perform miracles.