Near Eastern Studies


260. Ancient Egypt and its World. (3). (HU).

The course is an undergraduate survey of the culture of ancient Egypt, focusing on Egyptian religion (the gods and their cults, life after death, mummification, etc.), ways of thinking (practical wisdom and elevated philosophy), basic institutions (the kingship, the priesthood, etc.), literature and science. The student will be taught the elements of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, how it was deciphered and the derivation of our own alphabet from it. Throughout, special attention will be given to a comparison of Egyptian ideas, values and religious thought to our own with open-ended class discussion. There is a midterm (40% of grade) and final exam (60% of grade) and an optional 10-page paper at semester's end. Three textbooks, all paperbacks, are compulsory. (Krahmalkov)


121/Rel. 121. Introduction to the New Testament. (3). (HU).

In the 1940's, an Egyptian peasant made a startling discovery near Nag Hammadi: 13 lost religious books containing literature from the first centuries of Christianity. Today, this discovery is known as the Nag Hammadi Library. This collection of texts contains many documents written by the Gnostics themselves. These Gnostics represented an influential and diverse Christian movement in the second and third centuries. In this course, attention will be given to the ideologies of the Gnostics and the competition that resulted between the Christian Gnostic churches and the more "orthodox" Christians. We will read large parts of the Nag Hammadi Library, as well as secondary literature such as Elaine Pagels infamous book, The Gnostic Gospels. Evaluation will be based on several short papers, a book review, and a research project. (De Conick)

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