Question #1 Using the documents, compare and contrast the

By Cindy Kennedy,2014-03-31 21:06
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Question #1 Using the documents, compare and contrast the



    Question #1: Using the documents, compare and contrast the attitudes of Christianity and Islam toward

    merchants and trade from the religions’ origins until about 1500. Are there indications of change over

    time in either case, or both? What kinds of additional documents would you need to assess the

    consequences of these attitudes on merchant activities?

1) Has acceptable thesis.

    The thesis must be explicit and based on the documents. It must deal with BOTH a comparison of the

    attitudes of Christianity and Islam and the change in the attitudes of each over time. The thesis may appear in any location, and the comparative and change over time components may be split and appear in different places. It may not only be attitudes simple rewording of the question.

2) Uses all or all but 1 of the documents.

    May misinterpret documents and still receive the point.

3) Supports thesis with appropriate evidence from documents.

Here students must address the issue Change Over Time with appropriate grouping and/or

    interpretation of the docs. Students need not cite the document, but its use must be evident. The student must use the documents implicitly or explicitly to support the arguments for change over time. The treatment of Islam and Christianity need not be equal, but the discussion of change over time must include both.

    Some examples of general groupings:

    ; Early Christianity condemns trade (Doc. 1, 3)

    ; Early Islam supports trade (Doc. 2)

    ; Both religions moderate their earlier positions over the period (Doc. 4-7)

4) Understands the basic meaning of documents cited in the essay.

    May misinterpret the content of no more than one document in a way that leads to an inaccurate grouping or a false conclusion.

5) Analyzes point of view or bias in at lease 2 documents.

    Must show point of view in at least two documents by:

    ; Explains what informs the author’s thought or perspective, for example, the author’s

    religion, occupation, or time period OR

    ; Assessing the reliability of the source OR

    ; Recognizing that different kinds of documents serve different purposes OR

    ; Analyzing tone or intent of documents

    6) Analyzes and synthesizes documents by grouping them in at least 1 way.

    Here students must make Comparisons with an appropriate grouping and/or interpretation of the docs. They must use the documents to support the arguments for comparison. Treatment of Christianity and Islam need not be even, but should be substantive.

    Some examples of comparisons are:

    ; Similarities between Christianity and Islam in attitudes toward trade

    ; Differences between Christianity and Islam in attitudes toward trade

    ; Categories of sources (e.g., merchants, scholars)

7) Identifies one type of appropriate additional document(s).

    Students may include attitudes specific type of document or additional perspective (e.g., non-Muslim,

    non-Christian). They must include sources or perspectives that go beyond those already included in

    the documents.

     Subtotal 7 Points


Expands beyond basic core of 1-7 points. A student must earn 7 points in the basic core area before

    earning points in the expanded core area. 0-2 Points


    ; Has attitudes clear, analytic and comprehensive thesis.

    ; Uses documents persuasively as evidence.

    ; Shows careful and insightful analysis of the documents.

    ; Analyzed point of view or bias consistently and effectively.

    ; Analyzes the documents in additional way---groupings, comparisons, syntheses.

    ; Brings in relevant “outside” historical content.

    ; Identifies more than one type of appropriate additional document.

Doc. 1: Sources: Christian Bible, New Testament (Matthew), about 70-80 C.E.

    The rich will have attitudes very hard time getting into heaven.

    It will probably be difficult to analyze bias or point of view for the Bible and for the Qur’an. That leaves

    five documents for them to analyze in terms of source.

Doc. 2: Source: Muslim Qu’ran, about 620-650 C.E.

    Honesty, fairness and truthfulness in all transactions lead to attitudes place in Heaven for the Muslim merchant. Emphasis is on lawful and fair behavior. The honest Muslim merchant ranks with martyrs.

    Doc. 3: Source: Reginald, monk of Durham, younger contemporary and colleague of St. Gordic, The Life of St. Gordic (attitudes twelfth-century British merchant), written before St. Gordic’s

    death in 1170.

    Godric chose to be a merchant, and was very successful, making a great profit. He later became disillusioned with his business and wealth, and decided to serve God and become a hermit. In order to follow Christianity he gave all his wealth to the poor. (cf: Doc 1 and contrast with Doc. 2) This excerpt from the life of Gordic was written by a colleague and contemporary who very much respects and admires Gordic. Reginald is likely to present Godric in the best light possible and does so.

Doc. 4: Source: Thomas Aquinas, leading Scholastic theologian, Summa Theologica? in 1273.

    As a leading Christian theologian, Aquinas seeks to bring merchant behavior and trade into line with Christian teaching. He clearly tries to talk a line between allowing the merchant to pursue his occupation and condoning profit. This document espouses, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This means that buying and selling must be based on honesty and a just price. Any other behavior is unjust, unlawful and by extension, ungodly. This is in line with Doc. 2 and Doc 3, but the introduction of the idea of the “just price” seems to moderate the idea that trade is inherently sinful and is closer to the Qur’an than to the biblical view.

Doc. 5: Source: Ibn Khaldun, leading Muslim scholar, University History (Kitab al-libar), fourteenth


    As a leading Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun might be expected to do the same as Aquinas, but Khaldun’s discussion of merchants and trade is very much harsher than Aquinas’s. His tone in describing merchant

    practices is disdainful and condemnatory. Those who are merchants or practice trade have to use deceitful practices in order to make a profit. Buyers also practice dishonesty. People are generally dishonest, and trade brings this out. Those who practice trade are inferior to those who rule society because of what they have to do to practice commerce. Thus, merchants inevitably have weaker natures. By its very nature trade is disreputable, though necessary to society. This is similar to Doc 2 in describing bad trade practices, but in contrast to Doc. 2 Ibn Khaldun sees merchant as inferior by the nature of their work; his position seems closer to the early Christian position as stated in Doc 1 and Doc 3.

Doc. 6: Source: Letters to and from Italian merchants in the fourteenth century.

    A. An order for religious paintings, but at a fair cost. Supply and demand.

    B. Don’t be excessive in the pursuit of wealth.

    C. God and profit go together.

    Letters A and C support profit as the merchant’s goal and see no conflict between trade and godliness.

    These letters seem in direct opposition to Ibn Khaldun, St. Gordic and the Christian Bible. They support the position that Christianity has come to a more positive view of merchants and trade by the fourteenth century. Letter B urges some restraint in acquiring wealth, nevertheless linking wealth and godliness. Perhaps in Letter B there is a faint echo of the Christian condemnation of being rich. Since these are letters about business one would expect frankness about business practices and feelings, and this indeed turns out to be so. But the letter from the mother is much more personal and would reflect bias on her son’s behalf.

     thDoc. 7: Source: Islamic court decision, Ankara, 17 century but representative of Turkish guild ththpractices in the 15 and 16 centuries.

    Religion and law are completely intermixed, and business practices only for profit are condemned. Tradition, custom, and sharing are supported. The preeminence of tradition and custom are more closely linked to the Qur’an (Doc 2) and Aquinas (Doc 4) than to most of the other documents. In contrast to the fourteenth century Italian merchants who revere profit, here profit as the sole motive is condemned. The goals of society are more important than profit for individuals.

    The document is like an affidavit. The court is to rule on the complaint is very much from traditional guild members. The religious court has the power to control merchant behavior.

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