Courses of Interest

FALL 2021

Problems in Ancient History: Naturalism and Anti-Naturalism
CLA 547 / HLS 547 / PAW 503 / HIS 557 / ART 527

This seminar attempts to set the rise of naturalistic depictions in the visual arts (especially the individuated portrait) in the context of literary, philosophical, and medical traditions of the time (6th-4th centuries BCE). The focus and character of the discussions is both historical and historiographic.
Michael Koortbojian

Problems in Ancient History: The Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Numismatics
CLA 548 / HLS 548 / PAW 548 / ART 532

A seminar covering the basic methodology of numismatics, including die, hoard and archaeological analysis as well as a survey of pre-modern coinages. The Western coinage tradition is covered, from its origins in the Greco-Persian world through classical and Hellenistic Greek coinage, Roman imperial and provincial issues, Parthian and Sasanian issues, the coinage of Byzantium, the Islamic world, and medieval and renaissance Europe. Students research and report on problems involving coinages related to their own areas of specialization. Open to undergraduates by permission of the instructor.
Alan M. Stahl 

Problems in Ancient History: Monotheism and Society from Constantine to Harun al-Rashid
HIS 555 / HLS 555

The goal of this seminar will be to introduce students to some of the most important ideas and debates surrounding the two major religious revolutions of Late Antiquity: the triumph of Christianity and the subsequent emergence and world conquests of Islam. The course will focus on extensive reading in both primary and secondary literature and students will be introduced to and trained in using major instrumenta studiorum for this period; texts may also be read in Greek, Syriac, and Arabic. No prior knowledge of Late Antiquity, Christianity, or Islam will be assumed.
Jack B. Tannous

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

Themes in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence
NES 555

Selected topics in Islamic law and jurisprudence. The topics vary from year to year, but the course normally includes reading of fatwas and selected Islamic legal texts in Arabic.
Hossein Modarressi

Introduction to Arabic Manuscripts
NES 557

Hands-on introduction to Arabic manuscripts and their material history via Princeton's Garrett Collection of Middle Easter book, including codicology, supports n manuscripts, the largest such collection in North America. Covers the anatomy of the medieval Arabic, scripts, ink, ownership notes, certificates of audition and other paratextual information; and the social history of the book, including reading and transmission, libraries, the modern book trade, and the ethics and legality of the transfer cultural patrimony. Good classical Arabic is a prerequisite; prior experience with manuscripts and paleography is neither expected nor assumed.
Marina Rustow

Studies in Modern Arab History: Readings in Islamic Revivalism, Islamist Politics and Law
NES 561

This course aims to survey a variety of historical and religious texts in Arabic. Students must have mastery of advanced Arabic. Some of the texts that will be studied have been edited and published, others remain in manuscript form.
Bernard A. Haykel

Classical Arabic Poetry
NES 569 / COM 575

Introduces students to the major Arabic poets and poems from pre-Islamic times to the Mamluks. Goals: Increase the ease with which students read classical Arabic poetry, learn how to scan Arabic meters, and expand knowledge of styles, genres and development. Students prepare assigned poems and put together brief biographical sketch of poets.
Lara Harb

Studies in Ancient Judaism: Introduction to Judaism in the Greco-Roman World
REL 513 

The goal of this course is to introduce a significant part of the literature of the Jews of Palestine and Egypt in the period from Alexander to the destruction of the Second Temple.
Martha Himmelfarb