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Relevance to today?

 
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Denize
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:38 pm    Post subject: Relevance to today? Reply with quote

I'm not sure I'm wording this properly but I'll give it a shot. I have an interview with Swansea university tomorrow. My tutor, for some reason, thinks they'll ask me something like this:

What revelance does (the study of) Ancient Egypt have to today?

(or, to put it simply, why should we study Ancient Egypt?)

Asked this, I would probably answer 'It doesn't. The further back you go, the less relevant it is to today and that's one of the reasons it appeals to me' (and, then, of course... I'd say why something that has little to do with today interests me Laughing ) but I'm not convinced that's an appropriate answer. Of course it's relevant to today; I just can't seem to think how.

I've thought long and hard about this and I can't seem to think of anything that makes even the tiniest bit of sense. So... what would you say?

Like I said, I'm not sure how exactly I should have worded that but I hope you get the idea Smile

thanks so much everyone~
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Denize
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh gosh, please excuse the typos. I'm not that stupid (I promise!), just very, very tired. Embarassed
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BobManske
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love your gut response - just smart off and take a completely different tack from you guess your interlocutor wants for a response.

Apparently you perceive the intent of the question will be to attack you. In that case, I guess my response would be something like this:
a) Name something that you feel isn't relevant (and I'll show you how wrong you are!)
b) The study of AE shows me how the people of another culture view and interpret each other and the world around them. It shows me another facet of the human experience. (Here I, too, couldn't resist smarting off - if you perceive that the questioner is attacking you, so take it with caution): If the study of different ways of being human isn't relevant, then the fact that you are human makes you and your question irrelevant.

If the intent of the question is merely to gain information about you then I would use that part of b) only which is before the parentheses. Then I would be prepared to answer more specific questions. Something in you must be tickled whenever you encounter AE. That's the part in you that's relevant. That's the part that makes your experience in the modern world all the richer.

Anyway, that's what I would say and since you asked...

Bob
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say the study of ancient Egypt is more relevant than you might know, Denize--although like BobManske, I like the track you're thinking of taking. Razz

The ancient cultures of the Near East were tied together in many ways and in the earliest stages few of them were as influential as ancient Egypt, the world's first real superpower. Think of how influential the Egyptian religion was to the earliest Hebrews, for example, and how many parallels we find between Egyptian religion and wisdom texts and numerous Hebraic Old Testament passages. Christianity came from Judaism and Islam from both of those, and so some very old influences from Egypt are inseparably tied in to three of the world's largest religions today.

That's just one example. The more research you do, the more instances you'll find, I'm sure.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The study of ancient egypt is important the same way that studying any area in the humanities is important. It develops critical thinking skills, it teaches us about the development of human beings, we can learn about how people dealt with adversity, and so much more.

I like this general list of reasons to study the humanities by Dr Vandermast: link to list

I think that attacking certain disciplines because "they are not relevant to today" rather royally misses the point of what an education means.

I think vocational studies is more appropriate if you want "all applications, all the time". (I think both academic studies and vocational studies have an important role in todays world.)

I think the study of ancient egypt allows for an amazing number of interesting specialties. One could specialize in the linguistics, or in architecture, or in the mythology and religion, or in the daily life of the ancients, etc.
There are even people who have looked at possible illnesses present in mummies, thereby tying in their studies to medicine.

I think I would answer along these lines .... Smile
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well worded, anneke. And thanks for sharing Dr Vandermast's list, which pretty well sums it up beyond dispute. Wink
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Sesen
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love what you guys have written here - people often question what on earth I'm doing with this enduring fascination with Egypt and what I hope to gain from some of the 'surprising' (ie crazy) choices I've made in my life. Seeing what you've shared and reading the list has given me more food for thought.

I loved this no10:
Quote:
To be inspired by some of the greatest minds and thoughts of the ages.

Being inspired is not the problem but I wish a little of their brain power would rub off on me!
Great list
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Being inspired is not the problem but I wish a little of their brain power would rub off on me!


Laughing Don't we all!

Hey, you know what the solution is? We need to study even more about ancient Egypt. I think I'll go on a year-long "sabbatical" and do nothing but study and research.

Yeah, right, like that would ever happen for me.
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