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This discussion will be focused on the final paper.  In that paper, you will define the humanities and explain their relevance to our lives. The humanities are fields of study such as mythology, philosophy, literature, art, music, history, and religious studies (there are more). Your definition should extend beyond merely listing them. Define them like Socrates would attempt to define them. Try to define their essence. What is it that makes a humanity a humanity. 

For this discussion, I would like you to watch/listen to the video below. In the video, a most excellent philosopher (Martha Nussbaum) explains the value of the humanities to our lives. After you watch the video, I want you to work through the parts of your final paper. Try to learn from and help each other. Here are the things you are asked to do in the final paper. Please try to work through as many of these as you can. 

VIDEO URL: https://youtu.be/zS_gFRbb5zU

  • Define the humanities
  • Explain their relevance to our lives
  • Find a passage from one of the ancient or Medieval texts we have read in this course that connects to the importance of the humanities to our lives. 
  • Explain which form of humanities framework you will use to show the importance to our lives. For example, if you use a philosophical framework, you might examine an argument and explain why it connects or fails to support the humanities’ relevance to our lives. If you choose mythological studies, you would interpret a myth through the lens of its connection to perhaps current religious or cultural beliefs. If you are interested in a religious studies framework, you might connect the passage from Homer to current religious beliefs. 
  • Finally, you will then connect your interpretation back to the definition of the humanities you created. For example, if you claim that the humanities are a representation of the spirit of humanity, something that escapes the grasp of the scientific method, then you would want to show how your analysis of the text links back to that definition.

FINISH STRONG! GO MAD (Make A Difference)!!! 


Required Resources


Capellanus, A. (1184-1186). De amore (Links to an external site.) (L.D. Benson, Trans.). Retrieved from http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/special/authors/andreas/de_amore.html

  • A treatise on courtly love that expresses (somewhat satirically) the new understanding of love developed by the Troubadours in the 12th Century.
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Heloise (n.d.). “Letter to Abelard” (Links to an external site.) in P. Halsall (Ed.) The InternetMedieval Sourcebook. Retrieved from https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/heloise1.asp

  • In this letter Heloise articulates a new way of thinking about erotic relationships that constitutes an early stage in the development of our modern conception of romantic love. Of particular interest is the way Heloise seems to elevate earthly love above religious devotion.
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Malory, T. (n.d.). Le Morte d’Arthur (Links to an external site.). http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/46853

  • Read Chapter I through Chapter XXIV in Book VIII.
  • The relationship between Tristram and Isoud illustrates the new understanding of love developed by the Troubadours in the 12th Century.
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May, S. (2011). Love: A History. New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved from the ebrary database.

Recommended Resources


Schwartz, D. (n.d.). Backgrounds to romance: “Courtly love” (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from http://cola.calpoly.edu/~dschwart/engl513/courtly/courtly.htm

  • A very good academic introduction to the idea of courtly love.


Binkley, T. (2008). Arnaut Daniel – Lo ferm voler qu’el cor m’intra (Links to an external site.) [Video file] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArrbdR_l4eo

  • This is a modern reconstruction of Arnaut Daniel’s music by musicologist Thomas Binkley. This gives you an idea of what the troubadours’ music might have sounded like. An English translation of the song lyrics can be found here (Links to an external site.).

Getty Museum. (2014). Chivalry in the Middle Ages (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7j0V1AHvBU

  • A brief video introduction to the basic idea of medieval chivalry.


Troubadours (Links to an external site.). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.trobar.org/troubadours/

  • A collection of troubadour poetry. Of particular interest here is Arnaut Daniel, the songwriter Ezra Pound considered the greatest of the troubadours and whom Dante called “the best craftsman”.

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