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Tutor profile: Zak P.

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Zak P.
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Questions

Subject: Religious Studies

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Question:

What are some of the basic concepts of the Christology of St. John's gospel?

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Zak P.
Answer:

The theme of Christology in John is a main theme. John’s Gospel proclaims all over it, the Christology of Christ. John’s Gospel doesn’t contain the Messianic secret, in John there is clear cut evidence showing himself equal to God. This is the main preoccupation of the Evangelist. Is one to understand John’s Gospel Christologically or Theologically? Nils Dahl speaks of “God” as a neglected thing in the Gospels, God never appears but only some words which he speaks are given to us. In John 12:18 “I have glorified him and glorify him again” hence God is characterised by what he says, does and most importantly, what Jesus says about him. People are complex. There are many attitudes we can take toward anyone who has ever lived- except Jesus. There are only two possible attitudes. John shows them emerging more and more clearly as the story unfold. Either he is God, as He claimed to be, and must be worshiped, adored, loved believed, and obeyed; or else he is the most dangerous liar or lunatic. John makes the reader chose between these attitudes because Jesus himself did exactly that. By his teachings, some were enthralled and some were scandalised. One such occasion comes in chapter 6, the moment when he taught about his body and blood. There were those who said “this is a hard thing to say” and those who said “you alone have the words of eternal life.” In spite of the Gospels emphasis of the unity between Jesus and God, these two characters remain separate. The term “Father” is referred to 118 times and therefore the theme of God requires independent consideration. The father testifies to Jesus, The father loves the son, the father has set his seal on the son of man (6:27, the father gives the true bread from Heaven (6:32), the father consecrated the son (10:36), the father honours those who serve Jesus (12:26), the father will come and make his home with believers, the father will send the Holy spirit (14:26), the father loves the disciples (16:27), the father sanctifies the believers in the truth (17:17), God’s activity with relationship to the son, comes to expression in statements regarding God’s life giving powers. Jesus is always the son ύιος and the believers are called childen τεκνα. He is described in the prologue as the fathers only son. John only uses the term salvation twice, he replaces it with eternal life. When John the Baptist is said to be sent by God, in this text, the term “the father” is missing, the only other figure sent by the father is the paraclete. The entrance of John announces the main theme. The language of sending the son is seen as an agent who carries out a task or commission. His theology is one of sending. It is the father who sends the son, the coming of the son is reflected in his obedience. We do not encounter the term obedience, but rather we read “doing the will of the one//father who sent me.” So we see that Jesus is sent to complete a task, and upon the cross, his final words are “it is finished.” The whole story begins in heaven with Jesus’ pre-existence. “In principio erat verbum et verbum erat apud deum.” We see the whole Gospel as a circle. He pre-exists is sent down and then returns. For John, the cross is his exultation and glorification. Death, resurrection, ascension and giving of the spirit is one single event. The crucifix as portrayed by artists to show John’s account shows a Christ who is already pierced by the spear thus already dead but with eyes wide open showing the life eternal of Christ.

Subject: Philosophy

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Question:

How complete according to the Phaedrus is the domination of emotion by reason?

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Zak P.
Answer:

We are able to realise from the very beginning of the dialogue, that human emotions, most especially emotions in relation to love, will be given much attention. After Socrates encounters Phaedrus, who has just returned from Epicrates’ home (a wealthy and prominent Greek citizen who assumed a prominent role in politics after the Peloponnesian war), he instantly realises that Phaedrus is only just returning from having been somewhere having indulged in great intrigue. Sure enough Phaedrus admits that he has just been listening to Lysias, son of Cephalus, deliver a speech on love. Phaedrus’ mention of love is the first hint of “emotion” we come across in the dialogue, which is immediately followed by Socrates’ statement that he is sick of hearing speeches, but nonetheless walks into the countryside with Phaedrus. It is possible to interpret at this point, a plan which seems to be fermenting in Socrates’ mind, wherein which he hopes to be able to convince Phaedrus to recount the speech of Lysias, with this, we come across the first example of the use of reason. Love is indeed subject to passions which the Phaedrus states, is sometimes measured by the things one will do in order to please a lover, but often neglect others. Phaedrus states that this is proof enough that one might then prefer a new lover over a present one, if the passions cease. Is love, therefore, really love? Bearing this in mind, if a man is inflicted thus, can he trust himself if after all the person who is under compulsion so admits he is unable to control himself? When and if the person returns to their right mind, would he say that the desires he had when in the wrong mind were good? An interesting point made in the Phaedrus is the allegorical and metaphorical way in which Plato goes on to describe the soul as chariot. It is controlled by a charioteer who symbolizes reason, and powered by two horses: a noble white horse which symbolizes spirit and an ignoble dark one which symbolizes desire. They must rise beyond the heavens in order for the soul to fulfil itself in reason and become almost godlike. In order to achieve this, the Charioteer must control both horses, and when all three work together, the person has reached the state of perfection, however, this state is not fixed, which means that the person may ascend again. Although I feel that the Phaedrus myth leaves a lot of room for individual interpretation, in fact probably too much in order for it to be something complete, it tackles some of the innermost hidden aspects and characteristics of man. The depth of Plato in this myth, although incomplete in many ways, and the fact that this work was written so long ago, before the breakthroughs in modern psychology, proves that the Ancients managed to come to an understanding of many things through Philosophical thought.

Subject: European History

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Question:

What where the causes of which led to the outbreak of a evolution in France in 1789 which is commonly known as "The French Revolution"

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Zak P.
Answer:

What where the causes which led to the outbreak of a revolution in France in 1789 which is commonly referred to as "The French Revolution"? The most conventional answers would be 1) Poor living and working conditions of the peasants, 2) High taxation, 3) Financing of the American war of independence and 4) Spending rates of the French Royal court. Whilst all of these answers are in part correct (although one must look deeper into each one to see just how much it contributed) they are not the only reasons why the Bourgeoisie (professional/middle class) and the peasants took to violent revolts which eventually led to some of the most gruesome massacres in European history, this was after all a revolution, changing the established order which was in place for centuries and well ingrained in the European way of life. There are many other factors, some of which are often ignored or not even mentioned such as the involvement of Masonic lodges of which several or the “periti” of the revolution were members and the wish for political power by the rising Bourgeoisie.

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