This course examines the most ancient origins of our Western way of life. It attempts to answer fundamental questions about the earliest development of civic, social, economic and religious communities. What does it mean to live a good life? How much personal freedom is worth trading for communal protection? What is the right relationship of an individual to the family? To the community? To the state? To God?
Human conceptions of ritual, duty, faith, wisdom and hope were first formulated in the mythology of the Ancient Near East. Creation myths, flood myths, the myth of the hero and the mysteries of death and the afterlife all demonstrate clear relationships to later Greek and Roman mythology and to the Old and New Testaments.
The course includes a history component sufficient to provide a context for the study of ancient religion, mythology and literature. All texts will be studied in English translation. No prerequisite. Three hours of lecture per week. (6 Cr)
Now cross listed with Religious Studies.
Professor: Ursula Stange
Office: H124 x 4309
Texts: Dunstan, William, The Ancient Near East
James B., (ed), The Ancient Near East:
Jackson, Danny, The Epic of Gilgamesh (a verse rendition)
The Old Testament (preferably the King James version)
Additional reading on the Internet will also be required from time to
time. Please make sure that you have an account and are able to find
your way around the Internet. If this is going to be difficult
for you, you better get started with familiarizing yourself. If this
is going to be an insurmountable problem for you, please come and see me.
|Outline of Lectures
1. Introduction to Classics 3305 -- The Uses
of Mythology Sept 10
13. Comparative Mythology: Types of Myth