The first written laws of the Ancient Indian Empire were said to have come down through the ages from the world’s first man, Manu. Some elements of Manu’s life story strongly resemble a combination of Adam, Noah, and Moses in the Judeo-Christian tradition and those similarities are sometimes reflected in the world-view described in the Laws of Manu. However, the Laws of Manu also firmly established castes, male domination, and other major tenants of Indian social structure that proved to be problematic to Indian society over time. During this lesson, students circulate around classroom stations to examine excerpts from eleven chapters of the Laws of Manu.
Guiding questions lead students to identify major features of Ancient Indian culture and to articulate similarities between the Hindu and Judeo-Christian belief systems.
This lesson is an ideal addition to any world history curriculum that examines ancient legal codes like the Twelve Tables of Rome or the Code of Hammurabi. It can also be a valuable tool to help students understand the history of Hinduism and why the religion encompasses such diverse practices today.
INCLUDED IN THIS LESSON:
• Instructor Notes
• 11 Plaques with Excerpts from the Laws of Manu
• Student Assignment
• Answer Key
• Common Core Alignment
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