Great Books Courses (Division 382)

191. Great Books. Open to Honors freshmen only. (4). (HU).

Great Books 191 will survey the classical works of ancient Greece. Among the readings will be Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, a number of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, Herodotus' Histories, Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, and several of Plato's dialogues. The course format is two lectures and two discussion meetings a week. Six to eight short papers will be assigned; there will be midterm and final examinations. Great Books 191 is open to freshmen in the Honors Program, and to other students with the permission of the Director of the Great Books Program. (Buttrey, and others)

201. Great Books. Gt. Bks. 201 is not open to students who have taken Gt. Bks. 191 or Classical Civ. 101. (3). (HU).
Section 001.
Careful and detailed reading and discussion of great literary, historical, and philosophical works of ancient Greece and Rome. We shall become familiar with examples of epic poetry (the Iliad and the Aeneid), tragic drama (Aeschylus and Sophocles), history (Herodotus), and philosophy (Plato), works which have influenced men's minds for centuries and which thus form an important part of the foundation of our culture. The purpose of the course is not to learn about these works but to learn the works themselves, so that they become, in a sense, a part of our own experience, permanent and personal intellectual property. We will read and we will talk about what we read. Students will be evaluated on class performance, approximately three papers, a midterm, and a final examination. (Cloyd)

Section 002. Unless you care to think and talk and write about such matters as responsibility, courage, honor, friendship, loyalty, love, justice, goodness, ambiguity, time, power, death, and faith, this course is not for you. If you do care about what is true or noble or good, you may enjoy the contacts we will make, through reading excellent English translations, with the Graeco-Roman and the Judaeo-Christian roots of Western Civilization. Our texts will include Homer's Iliad and Odyssey; broad selections in the Histories of Herodotus; Aeschylus' Oresteia; a couple Sophoclean tragedies; some of Plato's philosophic dialogues, including much of the Republic; Vergil's epic of Rome, the Aeneid; selections from the Bible; and St. Augustine's Confessions. As well as attending and participating in class, students will write three short papers (total for the term of about ten pages), a midterm, and a final exam. (Wallin)

Section 003. We are, perhaps more than we suspect, shaped in our habits of thought and action, by our Western heritage. Our roots lie in Greece, Rome, and Israel, and our knowledge of who we are depends in large part on our knowledge of those forces which have helped form us. What meaning does it have for my life, for example, that I know I have to die? With this question we approach Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and the Exodus of the Hebrew Bible. Whether in Thucydides' portrayal of the struggle between Athens and Sparta or in the tragic drama of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, or in Plato's investigation of the meaning of life in the Socratic dialogues, or in Rome's struggle for eternal peace, it is always the dark mystery of human existence which fuels man's desire to know who he is. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, two or three short papers, midterm, and final exam. (Paslick)

393. Great Books in Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts. (1). (HU). May be elected for a total of 3 credits.
THUCYDIDES' HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR.
This short course will meet October 16 through November 15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 until 12 noon. Student grades will be based upon class participation, a short paper (5-7 pages), and an exam to be given in the last class meeting, Thursday, November 15th. Our text will be the Penguin edition of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, and we will read and talk about the whole book. We will attempt to understand how and why Thucydides gave meaning to the events of fifth-century B.C. Greece that he describes. Thucydides claims that his book will be "a possession for all time." His first great English translator, the British philosopher Hobbes, calls Thucydides "the most politick historiographer that ever writ." Some modern admirers see Thucydides as the father of modern scientific historiography, some detractors see him as destroying history. We will test these claims and others for ourselves and our time. (Wallin)


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