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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Postgraduate Course: Ancient Mediterranean Religions (ECHS11019)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers a thematic approach to the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean including Greco-Roman religions and diverse forms of Judaism and Christianity. Themes covered will include prophecy and oracles, religious festivals, sacred texts as subjects and objects, rites of initiation, gender and sexuality, migrants and foreigners, economic and social status, and death.
Course description Academic description:
There is growing scholarly interest in the interactions between the different religious traditions of the cultural melting pot of the late Hellenistic and Roman worlds within their Ancient Mediterranean cultural context. This course will draw on texts and archaeological evidence to chart thematically the connections and divergences of different varieties of Judaism, Christianity and Greco-Roman religions in both thought and practice in a range of different areas. Academic staff from several disciplines will contribute expertise to the seminars from their different perspectives.

Outline content:
After an introductory session addressing methodology, evidence and historical context, each seminar will address one of the following themes in two or more religious traditions across several geographical areas: prophecy and oracles, religious festivals, sacred texts as subjects and objects, rites of initiation, gender and sexuality, migrants and foreigners, economic and social status, and death.

Student Learning experience information:
Each seminar will be based on a study of contrasted texts from at least two different religious traditions, usually with accompanying examples of material evidence. Students will be expected to elucidate these on the basis of prescribed secondary reading. Instruction will be by a mixture of lecture and group discussion based on close reading of evidence. Students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes through participation in seminar discussion, presentations, and coursework in the form of a research essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in written work a detailed and critical command of characteristic aspects of religion in the ancient Mediterranean and an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning ancient Mediterranean religions, including theoretical and methodological issues.
  2. Demonstrate in a written essay and seminar participation an ability to interpret and analyse critically a range of source materials of various types, both literary and material, as relevant to the study of ancient Mediterranean religions.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form (including seminar discussions and presentations) by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course.
  4. Demonstrate in seminar discussions, and presentations originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
  5. Demonstrate in seminar discussions, presentations and written work a firm grasp of the geography and chronology of the ancient Mediterranean world
Reading List
The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Mediterranean Religions, ed. B. S. Spaeth
Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, ed. E. Orlin
The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology, ed. R D. Woodard
The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World, ed W. Scheidel
Betz, H. D. et al. (1986) The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation. Including the Demotic Texts
Charlesworth, JH, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews
Justin Martyr, Apologies
Lucian of Samosata, Works
Musurillo, H, ed Acts of the Christian Martyrs
New Testament
Robinson, James M., ed, The Coptic Gnostic Library
Philo of Alexandria, Allegories of the Laws
Tabbernee, W, Montanist Oracles and Testimonia
Schurer, E. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (ed G. Vermes & F. Millar)
Bagnall, Roger S., and Bruce W. Frier, The demography of Roman Egypt
Beard, Mary, John North and Simon Price, Religions of Rome
Lane Fox, R., Pagans and Christians
Beard, Mary and John Henderson, ¿With this Body I Thee Worship: Sacred Prostitution in Antiquity¿, in M. Wyke, ed. Gender and the Body
R. Kraemer, R. Unreliable Witnesses: Religion, Gender, and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean
Clauss, Manfred, The Roman cult of Mithras, tr. Richard Gordon
Price, RSF Rituals and Power: the Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor
Lieu, SNC Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will:
critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking
apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront issues in the discipline
communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists
take responsibility for their own work
develop sensitivity to issues of diversity
Course organiserDr Sara Parvis
Tel: (0131 6)50 8907
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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