HISTORY 358 - Religion, Magic, and Mystery After Alexander
Winter 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


How did the conquests of Alexander the Great and then the rise of the Roman empire change the religious landscape of the ancient Mediterranean and the Middle East? In a world of new empires and increasing connectivity, what changes came about in ideas and practices that related humans to gods, demons, spirits, and other beings? Could inherited traditions continue unchanged? What new ideas and practices developed? This course takes a broad comparative perspective on religious change and continuity in the centuries from Alexander the Great to the later Roman empire (the ca. 300 BCE to ca. 500 CE). Topics to be examined include cross-cultural interaction and religious syncretism, new sites and social contexts of religion, political theologies, mystery initiations, magical practices, and new understandings of the cosmos and the human condition. Examples will be drawn from contemporary historical evidence for a range of ancient traditions in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East, including (but not limited to) the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civic and temple-based religions and their alternatives, Christianity, Judaism, Mithraism, Graeco-Egyptian religion, astrology, magic, Hermetism, Gnosticism, and Manichaeism.

Intended Audience:

This course is open to all students.

Class Format:

Evaluation will be based on participation, short quizzes, two tests (midterm and final), and two short papers. Quizzes and tests will be asynchronous and submitted via Canvas during a designated time frame.


HISTORY 358 - Religion, Magic, and Mystery After Alexander
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
002 (DIS)
Th 1:00PM - 2:00PM
003 (DIS)
Th 2:00PM - 3:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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