Courses of Interest

Spring 2019

Antioch through the Ages - Archaeology and History
ART 418 / HLS 418 / CLA 418 / PAW 418

Antioch was unique among the great cities of the classical world for its position at the crossroads between the Mediterranean Sea and the Asian continent and for being a new foundation of the Hellenistic age that shrunk almost to insignificance in the modern era. Students in this course will get exclusive access to the archives and artifacts of the Princeton Antioch excavations of the 1930s. In the 2019 course, the focus will be on the Bath F Complex, the site of the greatest concentration of materials datable to the transition from the classical and late antique periods to the Islamic era.
Alan M. Stahl

Seminar in Medieval Art - 'Influence' and Innovation
ART 537 / MED 500

The course explores the vexed concept of "influence" in medieval art through case studies involving exchange between Eastern/Western Christian, Jewish, Pagan, and Islamic traditions. The seminar proceeds as a research workshop: each unit requires students to prepare a research agenda, present initial findings, and contribute to the course bibliography. In lieu of a single paper, students may compile a portfolio of short critical essays with a general introduction/conclusion. Readings balance historical and contemporary approaches to exceptionally complex monuments, along with theoretical texts drawn both from art history and other fields.
Beatrice E. Kitzinger

Problems in Post-Classical and Byzantine Literature - Beyond Transmission: Medieval Reception of Ancient Greek Literature
CLA 517 / MED 517 / HLS 517  

The history of ancient Greek literature in the middle ages has long been reduced to "transmission", relegating the period to curator instead of co-creator of the classical canon. We study the medieval reception of antiquity's literary legacy in institutional and intellectual practices which underwrote the copying, reading, and commenting of classical Greek texts, including the manuscript traditions of Homeric epic, the Pindaric odes, Greek historiography, and the works of Plato, among others. Palaeography and codicology are paired with medieval and Byzantine studies more generally in a bid to rewrite this chapter of classicism.
Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis

An Introduction to the Islamic Scholarly Tradition
NES 502 / MED 502

The course offers a hands-on introduction to such basic genres of medieval scholarship as biography, history, tradition, and Koranic exegesis, taught through the intensive reading of texts, mostly in Arabic.
Michael A. Cook

Intermediate Syriac
NES 512

The aim of the course is to provide the linguistic skills and the academic tools that are necessary to carry out research in Syriac Studies. The first session deals with the transcription of Syriac and presents an overview of the basic resources for academic research. The rest of the course centers on a selection of Syriac texts and addresses fundamental notions of literature, culture, and history.
George A. Kiraz

Studies in Greco-Roman Religions - Community Formation, Ritual, & Politics in Early Christianity
REL 504 / HLS 525 / CLA 535

This seminar focuses on basic primary sources, Greek, Latin, and Coptic, that offer evidence for the early history of Christianity (c. 90-430 C.E.) To allow for breadth of reading and to include participants with varied interests, one may read primarily in English, with reference to the original texts as necessary.
Elaine H. Pagels

Studies in Theology - Israel and the Nations
REL 506

Much of recent Jewish and Christian thought has focused on arguments defending the respective particularity of the Jewish and Christian traditions. With special attention to debates about God's people, the problem of election, the relation between religious and national identities, and the significance of the Apostle Paul, this seminar examines the historical and theological contexts of these arguments as well as their philosophical, ethical, and political implications.
Leora F. Batnitzky
Eric S. Gregory