New Spring 2021 Courses

December 7, 2020

New Courses

Medicine, Magic and Science in the Ancient Near East (RELST 2599)

Online; MW 9:40 - 10:55 am

J. Mokhtarian

This course explores the history of medicine and other sciences in the ancient Near East, broadly defined. In addition to medicine, the other scientific disciplines covered in this course include mathematics, astrology, astronomy, alchemy, zoology, among others. Geographically, the course traces the transmission of scientific knowledge in ancient Babylonia, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and beyond. As such, the course offers students a tour of different ancient civilizations and corpora. Students read selections from cuneiform Akkadian tablets, Egyptian Christian Coptic spellbooks, rabbinic sources such as the Talmud, among many other works. At the same time, students will be required to critically engage recent scholarship in the history of science and medicine as a way to help frame their analyses of the ancient materials. The course interrogates how ancient civilizations transmitted and received scientific knowledge, as well as the relationship between what we today tend to call science, medicine, magic, and religion. This course is intended not only for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences, but also for those majoring in science or medicine.

Religion, Emotion, Imagination (RELST 4656)

Online; R 12:25 - 2:20 pm

G. Frank

We tend to think of emotions as private, unlearned, and biological. Though in much of antiquity, the emotions were primarily seen as public, performative, and cognitive. The cultivation and control of emotions were key concerns in ancient education, moral formation, gender roles, and ritual life in Mediterranean antiquity. This seminar focuses on Greco-Roman and Christian efforts to describe, direct, mix, and control the emotions in late antique moral philosophy and religious instruction. Following an introduction to ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish writings on the emotions, we shall turn our attention to ancient Christian efforts to foster, adapt, and redescribe emotions. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Fabrication of Biblical Israel (RELST 4659)

Online; M 11:20 - 1:15 pm

L. Monroe

This course examines the raw materials and discursive processes by which Biblical scribes fabricated a history of ancient Israel that featured static and defensible geographic and genealogical boundaries. We will bring the tools of biblical criticism (philological, archaeological, literary historical) to bear on biblical narrative traditions that in different ways were essential in the process of inventing biblical Israel. We will focus on the modes and materials of textual production and on how modern historians engage biblical narrative in fabricating their own narrative histories of ancient Israel. We will also consider how ancient and modern historical writing on ancient Israel has been put into the service of contemporary political discourse on boundaries and borders in Israel-Palestine. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

All spring 2021 course offerings

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