Pre Visit Lesson Plan Background Information



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Pre Visit Lesson Plan

Background Information:

The three Abrahamic Faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam have certain elements in common. All three faiths are monotheistic; maintain a tradition of revelation; and believe their scriptural texts are divinely inspired. These three faith traditions can trace their roots to a system of belief first practiced by Abraham. Students will identify their existing knowledge about the Three Faiths, examine how Abraham’s story is depicted in the Three Faiths Exhibition and discover the shared roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


Lesson Preparation:

  • Visit the following websites

The Three Faiths - Abraham



http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/explore-themes/abraham
The Three Faiths - Judaism

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/36
The Three Faiths - Christianity

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/37
The Three Faiths - Islam

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/38
If technology is available in your classroom, bookmark the following pages, if not print the images for students before class


  • Jewish Image of Abraham and Isaac

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/88?nref=40&key=1


  • Christian Image of Abraham and Isaac

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org enter 427118 into the search box


  • Islamic Image of Ibrahim and Isma’il

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/39?nref=40&key=0
Teacher’s Note:

In the post-visit lesson students will create an illuminated letter in Hebrew, Latin or Arabic. Please be sure to obtain an example of these fonts from the Scriptorium during your visit. You can make copies for the class project back at your school site.



Materials Needed:

  • Smartboard or Overhead Projector

  • Laptop

  • Previsit Graphic organizer (see Appendix 1)

  • Three Faiths Background Information hand out (see Appendix 2)

  • Abraham Images copies (if technology is not available)


Learning Goals:

  1. Discover commonalities of the three faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam




  1. Understand the important role Abraham plays in linking the three faith traditions




  1. Compare and contrast Jewish, Christian and Islamic images using visual literacy cues


Key Vocabulary:

Revelation – information revealed to selected individuals or groups

Scripture – record of beliefs of each faith tradition

Monotheism – belief in single Divine Being

Abraham – predecessor to each religious system
Procedure:

Warm-Up Activity: Three Faiths Web

  1. Begin the pre-visit activity by brainstorming what students already know about Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Create a word web on the board to help students organize their thoughts. For example:

Three Faiths






Judaism

Islam

Christianity













  1. Ask students to share their thoughts. As they share their ideas, fill in the blank circles and add more bubbles. Based on your student population, you may have students who are more familiar with one of the faith traditions than some of the others. If students struggle with generating ideas, ask what they know about holidays, foods, and customs of the three religions.




  1. Once you have a solid number of ideas generated. Ask students:

    1. What similarities do you notice?

(Potential Responses: All three religions believe in one God, All three have sacred sites, etc.)


    1. What other religions do you know about?




    1. Why do you think these three religions are studied together, versus one of the other religions you mentioned?


Activity 1: Abraham

  1. Explain to students that today they will discover one of the ways these three religions are related. Specifically, they will learn about Abraham as a historical figure and compare and contrast how Abraham is depicted in these three faith traditions.




  1. Tell students they will begin by reading an article about Abraham and the Three Faiths. They will use the Previsit Graphic Organizer (Appendix 1) document to help them take notes and organize their information.

(Note: It may be helpful to project the Previsit Graphic Organizer (Appendix 1) for the whole class to see. Students may find it easier to copy into their notebooks than trying to fill in spaces on a hand out.)




  1. Break students into smaller groups (three-four per group) and have them collaborate while taking notes.




  1. After students have taken notes, regroup and ask the following questions to generate a discussion about Abraham and the Three Faiths:

    1. Who was Abraham?




    1. What was unique about Abraham’s religious beliefs?




    1. What can we learn about the nature of trust and faith from Abraham’s story?




    1. In what ways has Abraham’s story affected the modern world?




    1. What did you learn about The Three Faiths?




    1. How are they related?

(Note: This line of questioning is to help students understand that Abraham’s belief in one God was a revolutionary idea. Everyone else believed in multiple gods, Abraham’s shift to monotheism changed the world and the repercussions of this belief system are evident to the present day.)


Activity 2: Abrahamic Images

  1. Ask students if they know the story about Abraham and Isaac. Allow students to share what they know.

(Note: This will be a good opportunity to have students from different faith traditions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, share what they know about the story)


  1. Explain to students they will look at images of the story of Abraham and Isaac from the Jewish and Christian traditions, Ibrahim and Isma’il from the Islamic tradition.




  1. Project one image at a time. Allow students one minute to look closely at the image.

    1. Image 1 – Jewish Image of Abraham and Isaac

      1. What do you see in this image?

      2. Can you tell me more about what you see?

      3. What more can we find in this image?




    1. Image 2 - Christian Image of Abraham and Isaac

      1. How is this image similar to the first?

      2. How is it different?

      3. What do you notice about the people in this image?




    1. Image 3 – Islamic Image of Ibrahim and Isma’il

      1. How is this image similar to the first two?

      2. How is it different from the other two we’ve looked at?

      3. How can you tell it’s similar to the story about Abraham and Isaac?




  1. While looking at the images, also highlight the artistry of the script and the decorative borders. Let students know they will have an opportunity to see more examples of manuscripts in the exhibition. Some of the texts they will see are over a thousand years old!


Wrap Up Activity: Abrahamic Images

  1. Return to the Previsit Graphic Organizer (Appendix 1) and have students fill in the “Questions I have” boxes.




  1. Reflection questions. These can be used as potential writing prompts or as a journal activity:

    1. Why is Abraham important to these three religions?




    1. How are the Three Faiths alike?




    1. How are the Three Faiths different?




    1. What artistry did you notice in the images?




  1. Wrap up and answer any remaining student questions.

Additional Resources:
For additional resources about the Three Faiths visit:

Three Faiths Timeline



http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/resources/timeline
Family and Educator Guide

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/resources/family-and-educator-guide
Classroom Resource Packet

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/94
Suggested Reading

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/resources/suggested-reading
For more information about Abraham visit:

BBC Religions - Abraham



http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/history/abraham_1.shtml#findoutmore
For general information about world religions visit:

BBC Religions



http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/

P


Connection to Abraham…


Connection to Abraham…

re Visit Graphic Organizer



(Appendix 1)









Abraham



Islam

Christianity

Judaism

What I know…

Questions I have…


Questions I have…


What I know…

Connection to Abraham…


What I know…


Questions I have…

THE THREE FAITHS

BACKGROUND INFORMATION1

(Appendix 2)
ABRAHAM

Abraham lived about 3,700 years ago in the Middle East. He was a shepherd who traveled from place to place caring for his flock of animals. How is it possible that a shepherd who lived 3,000 years ago changed the world? He did it with an idea. One that was unusual for the period. Abraham placed his faith in a single God at a time when people all over the world believed in many different gods. The story of Abraham’s faith and obedience explains why he is honored by three major world religions today. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all able to trace their roots back to Abraham. For Jews, Abraham is the first of the Patriarchs, a direct ancestor of the “Children of Israel” in the Hebrew Bible and of the Jewish People to the present day. Christians trace the family tree of Jesus back to Abraham through both Mary and Joseph, while Muslims trace the ancestry of the Prophet Muhammad through Abraham’s (Ibrahim in Arabic) eldest son, Ishmael (Isma’il in Arabic).


JUDAISM

Judaism, the oldest of the three Abrahamic faiths, traces its birth to ca. 2000-1500 BCE (Before the Common Era), when Abraham made a covenant with God. Abraham introduced the belief in one true God (monotheism) and serves as the predecessor for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For Jews, Abraham is the first of the Patriarchs, a direct ancestor of the Jewish People to the present day. Moses, who is believed to have lived in the 13th–12th centuries BCE and is considered the great lawgiver, received the Torah — the collection of divine commandments and regulations — from God on Mount Sinai. The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) is the sacred text in Judaism. One of the most outstanding examples of the Hebrew Bible in Three Faiths is the Library’s monumental two-volume calligraphic Tanakh known as the Xanten Bible (1294 CE), which appears in both the "Highlights" and "The Scriptures" sections of the exhibition.


CHRISTIANITY

Christianity dates from the first century CE (Common Era), when the faith was formed after the death of Jesus (ca. 33 CE). Christians believe this Jewish preacher from Nazareth was the Messiah. The New Testament accounts of his miraculous birth, the numerous miracles he performed, and his crucifixion by the Romans and subsequent resurrection further demonstrated to his followers Jesus' divine status as the Son of God. The sacred text in Christianity is the Christian Bible, both the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament. The oldest Christian Bible on view in Three Faiths is the Harkness Gospels (before 917); it is the earliest Western manuscript housed in The New York Public Library. Other interesting Christian texts include Martin Luther's translation of the New Testament into German (1522) and Up-Biblum God (Eliot Indian Bible), in Massachusett, the language of the native peoples who lived near the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1663), not to mention the Library’s famed Gutenberg Bible (1455), the first to come to the United States, in 1847.


ISLAM

Islam, the youngest of the three Abrahamic faiths, was established in the 6th century CE by Muhammad. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad received God's message through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad is revered as the Messenger of God and as the final Prophet. Islam's sacred text is the Qur'an ("Recitation" in Arabic), which contains the messages revealed to Muhammad over a 22-year period. Two of the oldest examples of the Qur'an in Three Faiths, from the 9th century and written on vellum (parchment made from calfskin), are also among the most beautiful, featuring colorful and intricate decoration. The ancient scribal practice of writing sacred texts by hand flourished far longer in Islam than it did in Judaism or Christianity, both of which embraced the advent of printing in the West in the mid-15th century. The printed Qur'an became popular only in the early 20th century.


SCRIPTURES

Jews, Christians, and Muslims all possess a book they regard as the Word of God. That Word — and the way it has been written, copied, and illustrated over the centuries — is the basis of Three Faiths exhibition. These sacred Scriptures are the most widely spread and influential texts ever recorded. The manuscripts, books and scrolls on display in the Three Faiths exhibition, demonstrate how Abraham’s decision to place his faith in a single God, thousands of years ago, impacts the world today.


Post Visit Lesson Plan
Background Information:

The three Abrahamic Faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all utilize scriptures, or written texts as part of their faith traditions. These scriptures are believed to be divinely communicated to human authors. Each sacred document began as an oral tradition that was later recorded in writing. The manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh), the Christian Bible, and the Qur’an displayed in the exhibition are not only sacred scriptures but also beautiful examples of artistry. Students will explore ideas about the importance of literacy, the beauty of the sacred texts and create their own artistic representation of an illuminated manuscript.


Lesson Preparation:

  • Visit the following websites

The Three Faiths – The Scriptures (background information)



http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/explore-themes/scriptures
The Three Faiths Scriptorium – Pens, Paint-making, and Illumination (video)

http://www.nypl.org/audiovideo/2-pens-paintmaking-illumination
The Three Faiths Scriptorium – Writing (video)

http://www.nypl.org/audiovideo/3-writing
If technology is available in your classroom, bookmark the following pages, if not print the images for students before class


  • Hebrew Bible (The Tanakh)

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/19?nref=36&key=0
More Jewish illuminated manuscript images available

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchresult.cfm?parent_id=243662


  • Christian Renaissance Manuscript

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/74?nref=37&key=8
More Christian illuminated manuscript images available

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchresult.cfm?parent_id=185732



  • Written Portrait” of the Prophet Muhamad

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchresult.cfm?keyword=koran
More Islamic illuminated manuscript images available

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/explore-themes/muhammad

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/38

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org enter 1693024 into the search box

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org enter 1693025 into the search box

Materials Needed:

  • Smartboard or Overhead Projector

  • Laptop

  • Illuminated Manuscript Image copies (if technology is not available)

  • 7x7 Square paper (4x6 index cards or 8.5x11 copy paper)

  • Scriptorium Calligraphy copies

  • Black felt tip markers

  • Craypas or Crayons – including metallic colors for illumination

  • Pencils and Erasers


Learning Goals:

  1. Synthesize learning from the trip to the Three Faiths Exhibition




  1. Identify changing attitudes toward literacy across time, and the importance of literacy today




  1. Compare and contrast Jewish, Christian and Islamic images using visual literacy cues




  1. Reflect on personal connection to literacy and faith


Key Vocabulary:

Literate – able to read and write

Scripture – record of beliefs of each faith tradition

Scribe – a professional copier of manuscripts (noun)

Scribe – to work as a professional writer (verb)

Illuminate – to fill with light

Illumination – a technique used to decorate manuscripts, the illuminator applied gold leaf to a letter or a border, and the metal reflected light. This made the word or letter appear to glow.
Procedure:

Warm-Up Activity: Revisit the Exhibition

  1. Refresh students’ memories of their visit. In small groups (three-four students) have students share with each other:

    1. One thing they learned from the visit




    1. One object that stood out to them




  1. As a whole group, ask for each group to share their ideas about the visit and any objects they remember.

  2. Explain to students that today they will work on an activity to show what they learned from their visit to the Three Faiths exhibition.


Activity 1: The Written Word

  1. Begin the post-visit activity by dividing students into pairs and ask them to discuss the following questions:

    1. Describe what you remember about learning how to write.




    1. Do you prefer to type or handwrite your papers? Explain your preference.




  1. Regroup the class and ask for a few volunteers to share the ideas they discussed during their partner talk. Identify any similarities you notice in their responses.




  1. Share the following information with your students:

The conversation you just had with your classmates would have very different answers if this were two hundred years ago. The idea that everyone should be able to read and write is a modern idea. For hundreds of years, the teaching of reading and writing was considered a privilege, reserved for upper-class men and religious leaders.”


  1. Generate a discussion:

    1. What do you think of this information?




    1. Why is it important for people to be able to read and write?




    1. How would your life be different if you did not know how to read or write?


Activity 2: Sacred Texts and Artistry

  1. Possible Transition: “We just talked about the importance of reading and writing. We are now going to look at some examples of decorated manuscripts from the exhibition.”




  1. Project the following bookmarked pages:

    1. Illumination - http://www.nypl.org/audiovideo/2-pens-paintmaking-illumination

    2. Writing - http://www.nypl.org/audiovideo/3-writing

    3. These videos provide visual cues about Calligraphy and Illumination. Refer back to these in the following discussion.




  1. Project the following images for the whole class to see

    1. Image 1 – Hebrew Bible

      1. What do you notice about the script in this image?

      2. What do you think would happen if the scribe made a mistake?

      3. Teacher’s Note: These texts were sacred documents, so in case of errors, the scribes followed ritual practices specific to each faith tradition to deal with the discarded pages, such as burying them, since they could not be destroyed.



    1. Image 2 – Christian Bible

      1. What do you notice about the initial letter in this image?

      2. How is this letter different from the other letters on the page?

      3. Teacher’s Note: Illumination is a technique popular in Medieval Manuscripts. Illuminated texts generally have decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations.




    1. Image 3 – “Written” Portrait of the Prophet Mohammed

(Note: You can also use Image 3 from the Teacher Resource Packet, located online at http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/94)

      1. What do you see in this image?

      2. Can you tell me more about what you see?

      3. How can a portrait be “written”?




  1. Students will now have an opportunity to create their own “written” portraits.


Activity 3: Self Portrait and Class Quilt

  1. Provide students with square pieces of paper, 7x7 inches, large index cards 4x6 or 5x8 (regular 8.5x11 paper can also be used for this activity).




  1. Break the class into thirds, one third will use the Hebrew Alphabet, another third will use the Arabic Alphabet, and the last third will use the Latin (or Greek, based on the instructor’s preference) Alphabet. Ensure all three are equally represented.

(Teacher’s Note: These scripts are available in the Three Faiths Scriptorium exhibit.)


  1. Whichever size paper you use, be sure there is at least a ½ inch or 1 inch border. Students will use the central space to illuminate the first initial of their name and then decorate the border similar to the manuscripts displayed in the exhibit.




  1. Provide students time to sketch their letter and their decorative motifs onto the paper. Once they are satisfied they can trace the borders with a felt tip marker. Afterward they can “illuminate” their letter with crayons, craypas, or other material available in the classroom.

  2. Whichever size paper you use, be sure there is at least a ½ inch or 1 inch border. Students will use the central space to illuminate the first initial of their name and then decorate the border similar to the manuscripts displayed in the exhibit.




  1. Provide students time to sketch their letter and their decorative motifs onto the paper. Once they are satisfied they can trace the borders with a felt tip marker. Afterward they can “illuminate” their letter with crayons, craypas, or other material available in the classroom.




  1. Written Reflection: Students may write a reflective response on the back of their illuminated letter. This can take several forms, some possible suggestions:

    1. An acrostic poem of the words Faith, Sacred, Belief

    2. A response to the question – What does faith mean to me?

    3. A response to the question – What do the Three Faiths have in common?




  1. Create a Three Faiths Class Portrait: On a large piece of butcher paper, a large section of wall space or on a bulletin board, place students’ written self portraits next to each other, alternating the three alphabets in order to create a quilt-like effect.


Wrap Up Activity: Revisit Graphic Organizer


  1. Ask students to revisit their Graphic Organizers from the Pre-Visit lesson.

    1. What questions were answered?




    1. What questions remain unanswered?




    1. How did your ideas about the Three Faiths change after visiting the exhibition?


Extension Activities: Interdisciplinary Connections
Language Arts or Social Studies: Students can use their unanswered questions as launching points for a research project.
Math: Geometric symbols were used as decorative motifs in the margins of many manuscripts in the Three Faiths exhibition. Students can create multiple shapes with overlapping circles.
Science: Many traditional inks are still used by scribes today. Students can create their own natural ink. Paper-making is another potential activity, students can learn about the chemical processes involved in traditional paper-making techniques.
Additional Resources:
For additional resources about the Three Faiths visit:

Three Faiths Timeline



http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/resources/timeline
Family and Educator Guide

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/resources/family-and-educator-guide
Classroom Resource Packet

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/node/94
Suggested Reading

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths/resources/suggested-reading


1 Adapted from the text about Abraham, Judaism, Christianity and Islam on the Three Faiths website:

http://exhibitions.nypl.org/threefaiths



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