RELIGIONS OF CLASSICAL WORLD

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Code
65356
ACADEMIC YEAR
2020/2021
CREDITS
6 credits during the 2nd year of 9023 ANCIENT STUDIES: ARCHAEOLOGY, PHILOLOGY AND LITERATURES, HISTORY (LM-15) GENOVA
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
M-STO/06
LANGUAGE
Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (ANCIENT STUDIES: ARCHAEOLOGY, PHILOLOGY AND LITERATURES, HISTORY)
semester
1° Semester
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

This course provides students with an overview on pivotal features of ancient religions from a diachronic and synchronic point of view. The focus will be twofold: on the appearance of ancient religion as a science in the European academic debate, and on the specific study of religious aspects in the Greek and Roman historical context. The lectures will be organised according to different themes: sources, theories, crucial relation between the sacred and the exercise of power. Particular attention will be devoted to the institutional and religious forms of ancient oath.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Being able to interpret religious phenomena of Ancient Age by analyzing specific issues on a
theological, ritual, mythic and cultural level, according to modern hermeneutics

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

The course is intended:

  1. to offer students an advanced knowledge of the long-date debate around the history of religions in the frame of the modern social sciences.
  2. To instruct students in critical analysis of current research on the ancient religions.
  3. To provide the principal theoretical approaches and the essential specific disciplinary language.
  4. To encourage a strong comparative approach to the subject by encompassing the related fields, like ancient history, Greek and Latin philology, archaeology, sociology, psychology of history.
  5. To present and discuss the key issues of Greek and Roman religion, though a careful reading of both ancient and modern sources.
  6. To engage students with the autonomous understanding of some emblematic cases of study (e.g. the relation between religion and power and the historical and social meaning of private and public oath).

 

 

On successful completion of this course a student should:

• Have an overview of the historical, philosophical, and academic debate which led to the study of religion as an autonomous subject.

• Be familiar with the key interpretative frameworks for the study of ancient religions.

• Understand the patterns, the rituals and the identifying features of ancient Greek and Roman religions.

• Use a specific language.

• be able to compare patterns and understand the historical, political, and cultural meaning of the single religious events under analysis.

• Have a detailed historical knowledge of the institution of the oath in the Greek and Roman world, read as a speech act, a juridical form, a religious custom, and a political guarantee.

 

 

PREREQUISITES

 A particularly good knowledge of Greek and Roman history, literature and language is required, as well as an acquired mastery of reading, understanding, and translating Greek and Latin different samples of documents.

 

TEACHING METHODS

The course is taught through daily seminars of two hours (40 hours in the first semester). During lectures, ancient and modern texts will be fully presented and discussed by the teacher. Seminars may have weekly essential readings, which students will be expected to have done, following guidance, in order to be able fully to follow and to contribute actively to discussions.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

First general part:

  1. Introduction to key issues of the subject.
  2. Religion, religions, between disciplinary boundaries and academic fights.
  3. The methods and the instruments of the research.
  4. The pivotal features of Greek religion and the Roman mirror.
  5. The characters of ancient polytheism
  6. Polis and civitas as frameworks of classical religions.
  7. The sacred space for the ancients.
  8. Religions without theologies.
  9. The ritual and the festivals in Greece.
  10. Sanctuaries and power.
  11. Religious and social values of sacrifice.
  12. The words of religion. Comparisons between Greek and Latin tradition.

Monographic part:

  1. Sacred and political space in the eyes of ancient historians: analysis of some crucial passages by Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, Livy.
  2. The ancient oath as “speech act”: the consequences of a definition.
  3. The Greek oath in the literary and historical tradition.
  4. The Roman tradition: the oath between law and literary mirror.

 

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

- Ph. BORGEAUD, F. PRESCENDI, Religioni antiche: un'introduzione comparata, edizione italiana a cura di D. Bonanno e Gabriella Pironti, Carocci, Roma 2011.

-M. BETTINI, Dei e uomini nella città. Antropologia, religione e cultura nella Roma antica, Carocci, Roma 2015.

- A. SOMMERSTEIN, J. FLETCHER, Horkos. The Oath in Greek Society, Bristol-Phoenix 2007, pp. 1-90.

G. AGAMBEN, il sacramento del linguaggio. Archeologia del giuramento, Laterza, Bari-Roma 2008.

-P. SCHIRRIPA, Il tempio, il rituale, il giuramento. Spazi del sacro in Tucidide, Carocci, Roma 2015.

- Notes and assigned individual or groups readings.

 

Non-attendings students will read also:

- P. Schirripa, Religione e società nella Grecia antica, Carocci, Roma, 2010.

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Exam Board

PAOLA SCHIRRIPA (President)

FRANCESCA GAZZANO

LESSONS

TEACHING METHODS

The course is taught through daily seminars of two hours (40 hours in the first semester). During lectures, ancient and modern texts will be fully presented and discussed by the teacher. Seminars may have weekly essential readings, which students will be expected to have done, following guidance, in order to be able fully to follow and to contribute actively to discussions.

EXAMS

EXAM DESCRIPTION

The exam consists of an oral test on the contents of the general and of the monographic course. Students will also be asked to read and translate one or more passages from the texts in the programme or even to analyse an unknown passage (taken indifferently from first or second bibliography), previously presented and contextualised from the examiner: the extra-text could be proposed to assess students’ autonomous reading and critical skills.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

The exam is meant to assess student’s full knowledge of the contents of the course, as well as his/her interpretative and comparative skills in reading ancient religious events and in understanding their social and historical value. 

Marks will be attributes as follows:

  • Effective, self-confident speaking: 7/30
  • Overall knowledge of the specific contents of the course: 7/30
  • Critical sense, interpretative skills and use of analytical language: 7/30
  • ability to read and analyse a document/source in Greek and Latin: 9/30

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

Attendance is strongly recommended.