Religious Studies | Studies in Greco-Roman Religion : Religions of Ancient Rome
R535 | 27516 | J. Harrill

Cross-listed with Jewish Studies

Note:  This course is a graduate "piggy back" to A420 (R420).
Students are required to attend the lectures for A420 and to meet as
a seminar biweekly with the instructor.

Graduate Course Goals:  (1) to master undergraduate course content
and goals; (2) To examine and critique the comparison of early
Christianity and the religions of Late Antiquity, (3) to do advanced
research on a specific ancient Mediterranean religion in the context
of the Roman Empire.

Supplemental Texts:

Jonathan Z. Smith, Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early
Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1990).

Description:  Who or what is the divine?  How should human beings
relate to it?  This course explores the variety of ways that people
answered these questions in the ancient "pagan" experience of the
Roman Empire.  This course is an upper-level seminar that examines
the diversity of religions in Roman imperial society and throughout
the Mediterranean world.   The major themes of the course include
sacrifice, "magic" and "superstition," the religious calendar,
divination, oracles, and the priesthood.   There is special
attention to the widening scope of religious choice within and
outside the "official" cults of the state, including ancient Judaism
and Christianity.

Required Textbooks:
Mary Beard, John North, and Simon Price, eds., Religions of Rome;
vol. 2: A Sourcebook (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
James B. Rives, Religion in the Roman Empire.  (Blackwell, 2007).
Dale Martin, Inventing Superstition from the Hippocratics to the
Christians.   (Harvard University Press, 2004).
Peter Schäfer, Judeophobia:  Attitudes toward the Jews in the
Ancient World (Harvard University Press, 1998).

Initiating a seminar.  Each student will initiate the biweekly
seminar by giving a brief (10-15 minutes) presentation on some
aspect of the reading.  Everyone will have multiple opportunities to
initiate a seminar.
Meets with REL-A420