Tag Archives: math literacy\numeracy

The Five Pillars of Islam

Profession of faith * Alms giving * Daily prayers * Fast of Ramadan * Pilgrimage to Mecca

“As a young man traveling across the Islamic world and exhibiting an interest in their spiritual traditions, I was often given instances of how mankind was surrounded with the proofs of Islam, how the five fingers and the five senses could be used as a handy reminder of the five pillars of Islam, the five daily prayers and also remind one of the five prohibitions (pork, wine, gambling, adultery, and divination). But the most charming evocation of five I ever came across was a scruffy old Moroccan shepard, who plucked at flowers and even cracked open a cucumber to show how the world was ordered by five, which he explained was upheld by a verse of the Koran. I nodded politely at the time but years later came across Arberry’s translation of the Sura al-anam: ‘Look upon their fruits when they fructify and ripen? Surely in all this there are signs for people who believe.'”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Word Root Exercise: Equ/Equi

It’s 51 degrees at 5:10 this morning in The Bronx, This is the first weather approximating autumn this year. On Wednesday, it was 80 degrees here. Weird.

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word roots equ and equi. As you no doubt recognize, as, let’s hope, your student do as well, these two roots simply mean equal.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

9 Mexican Posadas

“The nine Mexican Posadas are a series of dances, candlelit processions, recitals and songs held over the nine nights before Christmas, They tell the story of the Holy Family (the pregnant Mary and Joseph) traveling out of Galilee to Judea to try to reach Bethlehem, On the last night, Joseph once again sings his desperate refrain to an empty door–‘the night is cold and dark and the wind blows hard’–before May accidentally reveals that beneath their travel-worn cloaks she is Queen of Heaven and she is welcomed into a stable by the animals. Then a dance of honour is held and a ‘pinata’ is demolished by a blindfold young lady wielding a cane to shower sweets over the celebrants.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

 

7 Destructive Sins of Islam

“Worship other gods along with Allah * Practice Sorcery * Kill the life Allah has forbidden except for a just cause * Eat up with usury * Eat up an orphan’s wealth * Treason and flight from the battlefield * False accusation against a chaste woman

This sort of list is part of collective Islamic tradition. often created as a negative notice-board in response to the Five Pillars of Islam and the Seven Deadly Sins so beloved by Christian medieval scholarship. There are many variants but all include usury (riba), murder, and the sin of shirk (associating others with Allah).”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

7 Deadly Sins of Christendom

“Gluttony * Pride * Greed * Lust * Envy * Anger * Sloth

The Seven Deadly Sins could collectively be represented by the biblical Leviathan, whose origin looks back to the Canaanite terror of the deep–the seven-headed serpent Lotan destroyed by the great god Baal. In medieval imagery, Lust was represented by an ape, though this animal could also express idolatry and, when given an apple, the expulsion from paradise. An ass playing a lyre was used by Romanesque sculptors to represent Pride. A bear could be used to represent either Gluttony, Lust, or Anger, while by reverse logic a bee could represent Sloth. The boar could also symbolize Lust.

List-making is an ancient art and scholars have traced the seven deadly sins as moral manifestations of the seven evil spirits, first codified by King Solomon in his proverbs, then reworked by Saint Paul in his rather stern letter to the Galatians. A hermit monk, one Evagrius Ponticus, turned them into eight spiritual temptations that might beset an ascetic (a bit like the demonst that tormented Saint Anthony). But it was Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century who must be credited with the edition that survives today, as well as the seven positive virtues–Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Prudence, Temperance–and the seven defenses:

Abstinence against Gluttony * Humility against Pride * Liberality against Greed * Chastity against Lust * Kindness against Envy * Patience against Anger * Diligence against Sloth”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Freud’s 3 Elements of Personality

Id * Ego * Superego

“Sigmund Freud conceived of the personality as consisting of three interrelated influences. The Id is a person’s natural instincts and desires, such as to procreate, to eat and to survive. The Ego uses reason to mediate between reality and the Id, so one might say that in today’s world I can only afford two children, or there are six people needing to eat so I can’t have the whole chicken. Lastly, there is the Superego, akin to the conscience, and thought to originate as an internal version of what parents, school, and society teach. This introduces the concept of ‘I should’–for example, share my good fortune with those less fortunate than myself.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

6 Evolutionary Stages of History

“Clan communism * Autocratic Monarchy * Feudalism * Capitalism * Socialism * Communism

This is the Communist view of history, as set out by Marx and Engels, looking out over the wreck of the various social revolutions what were destroyed in the 1840s and dreaming of inevitable victory in the future. First we have the primitive clan communism of hunter-gatherer families; then once irrigated riverine agriculture is developed, the ancient autocratic monarchies, which endure as empires until they collapse from the weight of their own military-bureaucracy into the more enduring feudalism. With the growth of cities and maritime trading nations, feudalism matures into capitalism, which through the dictates of growth, decency, and efficiency evolves into industrialized socialism, which perfects as communism.

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.