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Lecture 1

HIST 2311 Lecture 1: Cosmology & Worldview in the Ancient World Notes

Course Code
HIST 2311
David Mayes

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Cosmology and Worldview

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Question 1
Deities exist in the ancient societies, both as multiple gods and one God. The
Mesopotamians, Greeks, Indians, and Chinese worship multiple gods, who have powers to
control different aspects of nature and earth. They have the gods of war, chaos, prosperity, death,
amongst others. The Hebrews, on the other hand, believe in one Supreme Being and provide
accounts of how he created the entire universe in seven days. They also tell stories of how he
liberates humankind from sin, pain, and suffering using special servants like Moses and
Abraham (Cosmology the Biblical account (Israel, the Hebrews), n.d.). The deity is described
as a special or magnificent character who lives in the heavens. He or she is immortal, or as the
Greeks say deathless (Evelyn-White, 1914). The beings have superpowers or the ability to
perform miracles and control nature and other aspects that man cannot control, such as death,
war, and life. For this reason, the deity is attributed to having created the heavens and the earth
(King, 1902).
Question 2
Each ancient society has a cosmological perspective of how the earth came into
existence. For example, the Greeks believe that the Great Chaos amongst the gods is what made
the earth to take shape as a place where both the deities and men could co-exist. From the chaos
arose day and night, which were controlled by the respective gods, black Night and Erebus.
Erebus gave birth to sons and daughters who controlled different features, such as thunder,
oceans, light, amongst others (Evelyn-White, 1914). The Hebrews and Germanic societies assert
that the deity purposed to create the globe. He did so in a systematic manner or a way that
everything fell into place (Brodeur, 1914). He started by making the sky and parting the waters
to give rise to the land. God went ahead to create light and living creatures, such as plants,
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