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JEFFREY SCOTT LAMP
I. Lamp sees ST as mimetic of the cultural / religious environment of America in the 1960's (p. 195).
A. Read carefully the sentence on page 195 beginning, "The primary task, then, is to depict..." What is the thesis of the essay?
B. Note that Lamp is a biblical scholar who will utilize that expertise to explicate Star Trek.
II. THE WORLD VIEW OF THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE:
A. "Secular and materialistic"--(p. 196): note the interesting comment made about transporter technology.
B. "optimistic"--(p. 197): to know something of Hegel's philosophy is important according to Lamp who believes that the dates 2079 and 2061 are essential for understanding the concept of the dialectic. For Hegel, click here. Note that Lamp believes the future setting of ST is "overlaid onto current history." (p. 197). What does he conclude?
C. The ST universe "...understands deity to be a matter of relative superiority."--(p. 198): Certainly any episode involving Q suggests this hypothesis. The much discussed Who Watches the Watchers (TNG) is a good example as are the "wormhole" aliens of DS-9.
D. The "supernatural as natural"--(p. 198): The Voyager episode, Sacred Ground, tests Janeway's 'faith' in scientific progress. What does she conclude?
E. Religion fulfills "...a functional social role."--(p. 198): We know that Sisko is both a SF officer and Emissary of the prophets. How does he feel about the dual role?
F. "Religiously pluralistic"--(p. 199): What is the relationship Lamp sees between the Prime Directive and religion?
[Instructor note: The Prime Directive has been one of the most
III. BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION IN THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE. Lamp sees a paradox that the ST universe must face regarding religious pluralism . What is it?
IV. THE QUEST FOR THE 'DEMYTHOLOGIZED' KAHLESS:
A. Carefully review Lamp's analysis of Jesus in and out of historical time.
B. Who is Kahless?
C. The episode analyzed is Rightful Heir, in which Worf's faith in Klingon traditions is apparently sustained he 'meets' Kahless, only to discover...?
D. In what is the connotative meaning of demythologized? Does the true identity of Kahless matter? Look at the quote on page 204 from Kahless to Worf. Can the same intent by applied to Jesus?
IV. IT'S A KLINGON THING:
A. In Birthright, where is Worf, and what does he say (on pp. 207-206) regarding belief? There are strong parallels here to protocols oral cultures employ to preserve what is sacred. Click here for an example.
B. A biblical concept important in the Judeo-Christian tradition is MIDRASH. Discover what the term means, and apply the definition to what Worf wants to do in Birthright. TNG's Darmok is an excellent dramatization of the Midrash concept.
V. DOOMSDAY COMETH DOESN'T IT?
A. Lamp explicates the DS-9's Destiny in the context of the millennium. What is the central conflict of the episode? Note carefully Major Kira's discussions with Commander Sisko. Instructor note: Read the essay entitled Milton's Beliefs. The issues he faced in the Seventeenth century regarding the nature of truth are not unlike the conflict experienced in this episode. What did Milton conclude?
A. Explain the following concepts which Lamp studied in this chapter:
B. Using these techniques allowed Star Trek writers to do what regarding the relationship between religious values and the cultural in which they function?
C. Instructor note: What did John Locke believe about God? Newton? How did the philosophical movement they helped to shape, the Enlightenment, reorient Christianity's perspective to one the Star Trek universe could sanction? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a reorientation?
Review the selections referenced in the outline:
Hegel's dialectical materialism
The similarities between Homeric culture, Anglo-Saxon society and the Klingon sociology are astounding. What parallels emerge in terms of:
For example, what happened to Worf when he faced "discommendation"? (Sins of the Father) Compare Unferth in Beowulf