College of LS&A

Winter Academic Term 2004 Graduate Course Guide

Note: You must establish a session for Winter Academic Term 2004 on wolverineaccess.umich.edu in order to use the link "Check Times, Location, and Availability". Once your session is established, the links will function.

Courses in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies


This page was created at 6:16 PM on Wed, Jan 21, 2004.

Winter Academic Term 2004 (January 6 - April 30)


ACABS 414 / RELIGION 442. Mythology and Literature of Ancient Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamian and Hittite Studies: Culture Course

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Piotr A Michalowski (piotrm@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~piotrm/ACABS414.html

The first known literature in the world was created almost five thousand years ago in southern Mesopotamia, in the area occupied by the modern state of Iraq. These myths, hymns, epics, proverbs, omens, spells as well as many other kinds of texts were written on clay tablets using the cuneiform script. The poems were composed in various languages, primarily in Sumerian and Akkadian (Babylonian), but we will be reading these texts in modern English translations and no knowledge of the ancient languages is required.

Cuneiform was invented around 3200 BC and was used widely until the first centuries of the modern era. Archaeologists and plunderers have unearthed hundreds of thousands of inscribed clay tablets providing us with a fairly complete picture of this long-lived literature of ancient Sumer, Assyria, and Babylonia. We will be reading the most important of these texts and using them as a means of understanding the worldview of a long lost ancient society. The pleasure of reading will therefore also serve as a pretext for a meditation on cross-cultural communication across time and space, as we try to respect difference but at the same time seek common ground with different people from different civilizations.

Requirements: Attendance at lectures, reading of assignments, midterm and final examinations. Grading: Midterm 40%, Final examination 60%.

Readings: The two required books: Benjamin R. Foster, From Distant Days: Myths, Tales and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia (Bethesda: CDL Press, 1995) and Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian (Penguin, 2000) will be available at Shaman Drum Bookstore on State Street. Other materials will be made available during the course through CourseTools.

The following books will be on reserve at the Reserve Desk of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library:

  • Foster, From Distant Days, Before the Muses;
  • George, The Epic of Gilgamesh;
  • A.L. Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia;
  • Oppenheim, Letters from Mesopotamia;
  • Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia; and
  • Michael Roaf, Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 484. Aramaic, II.

Ancient Israel/Hebrew Bible: Language Courses

Section 001 — The Syriac Dialect.

Instructor(s): Robert Christopher Hawley (rchawley@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 483. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Syriac is the dialect of Aramaic used in the northern Levantine city of Edessa in classical antiquity. It became (and remains to this day) the liturgical language of Eastern Christianity in its various manifestations. However, the size and diversity of the Syriac literary corpus gives it an importance not only for the study of early Christianity, but also for the late Roman Empire and Byzantine periods, for the Arab conquests and early Islam, for the study of the transmission of classical Greek texts to the Islamic world and to the West, and for those interested in the study and transmission of the Bible (early Syriac translations of the Bible, traditionally called the Peshitto, hold a priviledged place in textual criticism).

This course prepares students to read and analyze Syriac texts. Since Syriac is an Aramaic dialect, it represents a natural sequel to ACABS 483, An Introduction to Aramaic Language and Literature. Linguistically, however, classical Syriac is better understood than earlier dialects of Aramaic. Thus, Syriac can provide a convenient starting point for those interested in Aramaic more generally, or even those learning their first Semitic language.

The classic introduction of T. Robinson is now in its 5th edition (Robinson's Paradigms and Exercises in Syriac Grammar, 5th ed. rev. by J. Coakley, Oxford: 2003). It provides a pedagogically sound initiation to the language. Texts read in class will include examples of each of the major genres of Syriac literature. Evaluation is based on attendance, participation in class, and performance on occasional quizzes and the final exam. Prior knowledge of other dialects of Aramaic, of Hebrew, or other Semitic languages can be helpful, but is not required. Feel free to send questions to rchawley@umich.edu.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 1 Waitlist Code: 2

ACABS 491. Topics in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies.

Occasional Course

Section 001 — Ancient Sites, Scripts, and Archives as Backgrounds to the Bible. Meets with JUDAIC 591.002 and HISTORY 449.001.

Instructor(s): Robert Christopher Hawley (rchawley@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: (3). May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 6 credits.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This is a general survey course intended for advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in gaining a fuller appreciation of the ancient societies of the Levant, the world of the Bible, not only by placing these cultures within their wider geographical, chronological, and historical contexts, but also — and especially — by viewing them through the lens of contemporary epigraphic sources.

By "Levant" is meant the region that corresponds to the modern states of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, an area that has had a disproportionate impact on subsequent cultural histories within the Near East and beyond. Attention also will be paid to those surrounding regions which shaped, often in a heavy-handed way, native Levantine cultural history: Anatolia to the north, Mesopotamia to the east, Egypt to the south, and the Aegean world to the west.

Chronologically, our scope is the whole of antiquity, from the first appearance of written sources in the Early Bronze Age; through the Iron Age with the invention and diffusion of the alphabet; through the periods of foreign imperial domination and the concommitant shaping of local textual traditions that would become ancient Israel's sacred scriptures; and eventually culminating in the turbulent, but profoundly influential, Roman period — the era that witnessed the local development of Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity.

Against this broad and cumbersome chronological background, our particular focus will be on the actual contemporary documents available to modern historians of Levantine cultures; in other words, the nature and amount of the available epigraphic evidence, the archeological sites from which these archives and isolated inscriptions come, and the scripts and languages in which they were written. Texts are favored here, not because they are somehow "truer" than material evidence, but rather because they convey unique ancient perceptions of reality and society, expressed in native, culturally meaningful linguistic terms.

Students are expected to finish the course with a sound grasp of the written sources for the ancient Levant, and a knowledge not only of how these sources fit within a broader chronological and geographical framework, but also of how epigraphic evidence informs and tempers historical reconstructions. Classes include lectures and discussion. Students will sit midterm and final examinations, and will submit a 10 page synthesis on a specialized topic of their choice.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 2 Waitlist Code: 2

ACABS 543 / HJCS 543. The Bible in Jewish Tradition.

Ancient Israel/Hebrew Bible: Culture Courses

Section 001 — Philo of Alexandria. An advanced knowledge of Greek is required.

Instructor(s): Gabriele Boccaccini (gbocca@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Philo of Alexandria is the greatest Jewish interpreter of the Bible in the Roman Hellenistic period. His commentary of the Torah stands as one of the major accomplishments of Jewish culture. Nonetheless Philo has been long neglected. The two major interests of his work (the philosophical and the religious) have been often artificially separated and opposed: Philo would be too "Jewish" to be a Greek philosopher and at the same time one of the most important voices of Hellenistic philosophical thought and a unique witness of Jewish religious diversity in the Second Temple period. The aim of the seminar is to restore the unity of synthesis of Philo's work — an aim that can be achieved only through an interdisciplinary reading of his treatises by both students of Hellenistic philosophy and Jewish religions. An advanced knowledge of Greek is required.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 1 Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of instructor

ACABS 570 / HJCS 570 / JUDAIC 570. Reading the Rabbis.

Jewish Literature and Culture in Hebrew

Section 001 — Meets with JUDAIC 270.001/HJCS 270.001 and HJCS 470/ACABS 470.

Instructor(s): Yaron Eliav (yzeliav@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Second year proficiency in Hebrew (HJCS 202). (4). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in HJCS 270/JUDAIC 270 or HJCS 470/ACABS 470.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

See HJCS 570.001.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 4 Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 587. Seminar in Ancient Egyptian History and Culture: Selected Topics.

Ancient Egypt: Culture Courses

Section 001 — The Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period.

Instructor(s): Janet E Richards (jerichar@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 281 or 382. (3). May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 6 credits.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The first pyramid era and source of several 'classics' of ancient Egyptian art, the Egyptian Old Kingdom (ca. 2649-2150 B.C.E.) has been discussed as a period of political, social, and religious absolutism. The First Intermediate Period which follows it (ca. 2649-2040 B.C.E.), in contrast, is often viewed as politically anarchic, socially unstable, ritually democratizing, and artistically impoverished. In this seminar we will explore the degree to which either of these characterizations are valid, through a critical synthesis of the textual, iconographic, and archaeological data upon which the social history of these periods is based. We will also consider long term processes in the construction and negotiation of Egyptian political power and social ideology over time. Grades will be based on midterm exam, oral presentation, and research paper.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 2 Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Instructor

ACABS 592. Seminar in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies.

Occasional Course

Section 001 — Syria in the Second Millennium BCE.

Instructor(s): Gary M Beckman (sidd@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

An intensive survey of the history and culture of Syria during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages. Each student will choose one of the major archives providing evidence for the second millennium in this region (those of Mari, Alalakh, Ugarit, Emar, Hattusa, Ekalte, Dur-Katlimmu, or Amarna) as the focus of an oral presentation and research paper.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 602. Advanced Readings in Classical Hebrew.

Ancient Israel/Hebrew Bible: Language Courses

Section 001 — Meets with ACABS 202.001.

Instructor(s): Brian B Schmidt (bschmidt@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 601. Graduate Standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

As a continuation of ACABS 601, the students will be introduced to additional elements of Biblical Hebrew syntax and other aspects of advanced grammar. Further selected Biblical texts will be read, and their historical and literary backgrounds analyzed and discussed. A major written research project will provide the graduate student the opportunity to apply the skills acquired in the class.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

ACABS 612. Akkadian Readings.

Mesopotamian and Hittite Studies: Language Courses

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Norman Yoffee (nyoffee@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 412. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In this course, students will analyze Old Babylonian texts and economic records.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 615. Sumerian Readings.

Mesopotamian and Hittite Studies: Language Courses

Section 001 — Topic?

Instructor(s): Piotr A Michalowski (piotrm@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 512. Graduate Standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

No Description Provided. Contact the Department.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 618. Hittite Readings.

Mesopotamian and Hittite Studies: Language Courses

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Gary M Beckman (sidd@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 415 and graduate standing. (3). May be elected up to six times for credit. ACABS 415 or basic knowledge of Hittite and cuneiform script.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will be open to students who have completed ACABS 415, Introduction to Hittite, or its equivalent. Primarily intended for graduate students concentrating in cuneiform studies, it will feature a different genre of Hittite text each academic term: historical texts, mythological texts, rituals, letters, etc. Stress will be placed on imparting the skills necessary for a cuneiform scholar, such as the preparation of a scientific edition of a text, the reconciliation of variant manuscripts, paleography, etc. Qualified undergraduate students will be welcome; the undergraduate language requirement could be satisfied by completion of three semester of ACABS 618 in addition to ACABS 415.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 682. Middle Egyptian Readings I.

Ancient Egypt: Language Courses

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Terry G Wilfong (twilfong@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 585. Graduate Standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Advanced readings in Middle Egyptian texts.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 722. Ancient Israel/Hebrew Bible Seminar: Topics in History and Historiography.

Ancient Israel/Hebrew Bible: Culture Course

Section 001 — Ancient Levantine Ritual Traditions.

Instructor(s): Brian B Schmidt (bschmidt@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 202. Graduate Standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In this course, students will explore various aspects of ritual and ritualizing in the ancient Levantine world through an investigation of primary textual sources written in Northwest Semitic languages. Advanced proficiency in Ugaritic, Aramaic, Phoenician, and (early epigraphic) Hebrew is required.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 723. Ancient Israel/Hebrew Bible Seminar: Topics in Religion and Culture.

Ancient Israel/Hebrew Bible: Culture Course

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Brian Schmidt (bschmidt@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: ACABS 202. Graduate Standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

No Description Provided. Contact the Department.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ACABS 798. Directed Graduate Readings.

Occasional Course

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (1-3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (1-3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Designed for individual students who have an interest in a specific topic (usually that has stemmed from a previous course). An individual instructor must agree to direct such a reading, and the requirements are specified when approval is granted.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of instructor/department

ACABS 990. Dissertation Research Precandidate.

Occasional Course

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Election for dissertation work by doctoral candidate not yet admitted as a Candidate. Graduate Standing. (1-8). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit. This course has a grading basis of "S" or "U."

Credits: (1-8; 1-4 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Election for dissertation work by doctoral student not yet admitted as a Candidate.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department

ACABS 995. Dissertation/Candidate.

Occasional Course

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate School authorization for admission as a doctoral Candidate (Prerequisites enforced at registration). (8). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit. This course has a grading basis of "S" or "U."

Credits: (8; 4 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Graduate School authorization for admission as a doctoral Candidate. N.B. The defense of the dissertation (the final oral examination) must be held under a full term Candidacy enrollment period.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department


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