LATIN 860 - Ancient Religion
Winter 2016, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Latin (LATIN)
Department: LSA Classical Studies
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


This course introduces students to theoretical approaches to the study of ritual in the ancient Mediterranean. We will investigate the value of ritual theory for the study of ancient history and ancient religion, and vice versa: the possible contributions of a deeper history of ritual for contemporary and broader theories of ritual. As such, we will read standard works on ritual theory from fields in the social sciences and the humanities (such as those by Catherine Bell, Clifford Geertz, Jonathan Z. Smith), as well as more recent interventions (such as those by Ronald L. Grimes, John P. Hoffman). We shall draw on approaches ranging from the anthropological and sociological, to the archaeological, and historical. We shall also focus on several topics including prayer, sacrifice, meals, purity practices, domestic rituals, and magical and mystical practices, while at the same time drawing on scholarship on ritual in ancient Roman and Jewish culture, as well as on Greek religion and early Christianity. These readings will be accompanied by some study of ancient sources such as selection from the elder Cato, Livy, and the Mishnah. We expect students from Classics, History, Judaic studies, Near Eastern Studies, and elsewhere, as well those interested in the study of religion, will find the blend of different approaches to ritual useful in both deepening and broadening their own research interests. While all ancient texts will be provided in their original language and in English, it is hoped that all members of the seminar will be able to deal with at least some texts in the original.

Course Requirements:

Regular attendance and participation, presentation, significant paper.

Intended Audience:

Graduate students with an interest in the religions of the ancient Mediterranean are the primary audience, but those with an interest in religions of other times and places are also welcome.

Class Format:

One three-hour meeting per week.


LATIN 860 - Ancient Religion
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
F 9:00AM - 12:00PM
1/6/16 - 4/18/16

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