6AACHI17 Greek Religion
Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Dr Rebecca Van Hove (Semester 1) and Dr Irene Polinskaya (Semester 2)
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour lecture (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 2 x 3,000 word essays (higher marked essay is weighted at 60%, while the lower is weighted at 40%)
Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.
Assessment patterns pre-2019/20
Undergraduate: 2 x 3,000 word essays (20% each); 1 x 3-hour exam (60%)
Graduate Diploma: 3 x 3,000 word essays (worth a third each)
The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand, there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.
This is not a module that explores mythology. The subject of Greek Religion encompasses issues of belief and practice, ritual norms and practitioners, religious settings and festivals. We learn about religion from inscriptions, archaeology, art, and literary texts from a range of historical periods that span nearly a millennium, from ca. 800 BCE to AD 200.
Over the course of two terms, we trace continuity and change in religious observance among numerous Greek-speaking communities of the Mediterranean, studying both common traits and local differences, We address views on the nature of gods and heroes, on the role of such rituals as sacrifice and prayer, on the role of diviners, seers, magicians, as well as regular community members. Questions of temple construction, appointment of ritual personnel, financing of cults, functioning of oracles, initiation rites, mystery cults, and religious poetry are some of the subjects for weekly seminars. The exact list of topics may vary from year to year.
Suggested introductory reading
This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.
- Parker, R. (2013) On Greek Religion. Oxford
- Versnel, H. (2013) Coping with the Gods. Wayward Readings in Greek Theology.
- Mikalson, J. (2010) Ancient Greek Religion, 2nd ed. Malden, Mass.
- Burkert, W. (1985) Greek Religion. Cambridge, Mass.
- Buxton, R. (2000) Oxford Readings in Greek Religion. Oxford
- Humphreys, S. C. (2004) The Strangeness of Gods: Historical Perspectives on the Interpretation of the Athenian Religion. Oxford