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Level 6

6AACHI35 Pagans, Christians and Jews in the Roman Empire

Credit value: 30
Module convenor 2017/18: Dr James Corke-Webster
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour lecture (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3-hour exam (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Assessment pattern for Graduate Diploma students

Assessments: 3 x 3,000-word essay (100%, essays worth 1/3 each)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

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.

The Roman empire contained a vast number of different peoples who worshiped and cultivated a range of gods, sometimes multiply, sometimes singly. The history of the interaction of these different religious groups from the second century BC to the fifth century AD comprises both persecution and toleration.

This module will allow students to explore in depth the history of religious relations between pagans, a large and amorphous body, and the more identifiable and exclusive groups of Jews and Christians. It will investigate the ways in which members of these religious groups defined themselves and others; the practices and beliefs which one group identified as tolerable or intolerable in others; and the use of political, military and legal mechanisms by members of one group to convert, suppress or control the religions of others. It will necessarily involve the investigation of a wide range of primary evidence, both literary and material, to identify the influence of social, political and cultural factors in persecution and toleration.

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • C. Ando, ed., Roman Religion (2003)
  • P. Athanassiadi and M. Frede, Pagan Monotheism (1999)
  • M. Beard, J. North and S. Price (eds.), Religions of Rome (1998, 2 vols)
  • P. Brown, P. The Making of Late Antiquity (1993)
  • K. Hopkins, World full of gods (1999)
  • L. H. Feldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World (1993)
  • M. Goodman, Jews in a Greco-Roman World (1998)
  • R. Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians (1988)
  • J. Lieu, J. North and T. Rajak (eds), The Jews among the pagans and Christians (1992)
  • S. Mitchell and P. Van Nuffelen, Monotheism between Pagans and Christians (2010)
  • T. Rajak, The Jewish Dialogue with Greece and Rome. Studies in Cultural and social Interaction
  • L. Rutgers, The Jews in late ancient Rome: evidence of cultural interaction in the Roman diaspora (1995)
  • M. Williams, The Jews among the Greeks and Romans: A Diaspora Sourcebook (1998)
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