CLCIV 467 - The Psyche: A History of Its Life and Afterlife in the Ancient Greek World
Section: 001
Term: FA 2008
Subject: Classical Civilization (CLCIV)
Department: LSA Classical Studies
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
CLCIV 101.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course examines Greek concepts of the soul from the archaic period to the time of Justinian. Our interest will be in the religious, ritual, philosophical constructs of the soul and the afterlife in the ancient and late antique worlds, as well as the meaning that this material has for our own understanding of self, person, mind, or soul.

Although concepts of the soul as they developed in Greek religious and philosophical have directly shaped pre-modern as well as contemporary notions of self, person, mind, and soul, there presently is no course devoted to this topic. Because Greek philosophers were read by Christian, Islamic, and in some cases, Jewish thinkers, the Greek conception of soul has also influenced notions of the afterlife, of the relationship between creator and created, and of the limits of knowledge, as they appear in late antique and medieval thinkers such as Origen, Augustine and many others. Moreover, there is a rich tradition of psychology already developed by Classical and Hellenistic philosophers, especially in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and the early Stoics. Again, no course presently works on the psychological writings of ancient Greece, though we do have several courses that survey for example the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Finally, there has been a lot of work recently on the reception of Greek psychology and models of the mind and self, particularly by Jonathan Lear, Richard Sorabji, and Geoffrey Lloyd. Yet it is difficult to find ways to study this tradition of reception within the rubric of existing courses. The Classical Civilization concentration requires students to take courses with an emphasis in literature, philosophy and religion. This course would fit the religion requirement for our students.

Intended audience: Classics Concentrators.

Course Requirements: 3 short papers and a Wikipedia site developed by class. I imagine about 18 total pages, with papers about 6 pages long. i like to have students do frequent assignments, work together in groups, and develop a larger project. The early, midterm, and final essays help students study the material, while the Wikipedia makes them express it and utilize it. Thus the short papers are as follows: 1) Classical psychology and its relationship to Presocratic thought; 2) Aristotelian hylomorphism in the Christian world; and 3) Freud and Plato. These papers are designed to take into account at least two of the units studied, to build on knowledge, to be complex and require problem solving. They are also designed to demand a fair bit of outside reading.

Class Format: 3 hours class weekly in seminar format.

CLCIV 467 - The Psyche: A History of Its Life and Afterlife in the Ancient Greek World
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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