AT LEAST FIVE PARAGRAPHS
50% of Final Examination Grade
Essay Question #1 – Chinese Religion: You are the Emperor in ancient China. A group of dedicated political/religious activists have barricaded themselves, along with a number of hostages, in a house in the capital. The group claims that you, the Emperor, have failed to fulfill the Mandate of Heaven (tian ming) and, therefore, demands that you resign. Failure to comply with this demand, the group states, might result in harm to the hostages and destruction of the entire neighborhood. They demand a response in 24 hours.
You call a crisis meeting of your chief ministers. Among these advisors are Confucius, and Han Fei. (For the purpose of this essay assume they are all living in the latter Zhou dynasty) You describe the situation, and instruct each advisor to give you advice by addressing the following questions: a) Who constitutes the Good Ruler and how does this view of Good Ruler relate to the role and nature of humans in the universe? b) What are the criteria or standard the Good Ruler should use when making difficult decisions? c) Finally, how should this standard be used to make a decision in this crisis?
You will listen in turn to each minister’s answers, and then decide which course of action to pursue.
Write a coherent essay which integrates your knowledge of the primary documents, the historical context to religion in China, and the nature of religion in China. In your essay indicate what answers to these questions each of the two advisors would give to the Emperor, and which position you, the Emperor, would adopt after hearing the advice, and why. (You may write this in either the First or Third Person.)
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