Why Study Ancient Cultures?

Matt Smith
Mrs. Bodak

Afri-Asian 9 Seminar Pd. 2


Why Study Ancient Cultures

  Studying ancient cultures is an expected part of a tradition of intellectual development, according to Bill Hemminger, but the real question is why it is important to study these cultures. Almost everyone has thoughts and opinions on this question but Bill Hemminger went beyond that in his essay of Why Study Ancient Cultures. Although it is not crystal clear, with inference and context based assumptions you can understand Hemminger’s viewpoint quite well. In his essay he expresses that it’s important to study ancient cultures because we as students need to recognize the similar aspects of every culture. In turn, he also states that it is important to study ancient cultures so we can understand the differences in cultures and why they do these things differently. Lastly, Hemminger implies that it’s important so we don’t make the mistake of misjudging other cultures for the sole reason that we don’t know enough about them. As you can see, Hemminger feels strongly about the importance of studying ancient cultures.

  In his essay, Bill Hemminger uses Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita and Oskar Schindler from the Holocaust to show how there are distinct similarities in very different cultures. Arjuna coming from the Hindu culture/religion and Schindler from the Jewish culture/religion may seem very different, but when the pressure is on both have the same instinct to save the lives of their people. They did this in different ways but overall accomplished the same goal in saving members of their culture. Hemminger also shows the importance of not assuming others do, or even should think as we do, as this requires us to keep an open mind throughout the process of learning about ancient cultures.

  Of course all cultures are not the same, and Hemminger expresses this fact by implying that it is important to study ancient cultures so we can understand the differences in...