Courses of Interest


Greek Sculpture and Roman Copies
ART 518 / CLA 531 / HLS 539

A seminar devoted to the long-standing problems concerning the tradition of Greek sculpture, most of which survives in later Roman copies. Replication was fundamental to ancient artistic practice and remains central to both its critical evaluation and its broad appreciation. Emphasis is on stylistic comparison of the surviving copies (Kopienkritik); critical engagement with the ancient written sources that attest the most famous works (opera nobilia); and the historiographic tradition in modern scholarship devoted to these works and the problems they pose.
Michael Koortbojian

Problems in Late Antique and Byzantine Art and Architecture: Techne: Late Ant./Byzantine Art Making
ART 535 / HLS 535

Henry Staten has recently argued for a re-evaluation of art in relation to the concept of techne. This seminar addresses this argument by considering the evidence for artistic production from ca. 300-1600. Working from objects, written sources, and archaeological evidence, the class seeks to define both the status of the artist and of the arts across this period. Social, economic, and cultural considerations shape this conversation. When possible, each meeting builds upon the close examination of works in the Princeton University collections.
Charlie Barber 

Problems in Greek Literature: Elevations of the body: Lucian and Libanius Dance
CLA 514

Two ancient texts on dance, written in Greek by Syrian authors (Lucian On Dance and Libanius On the Dancers) allow us to strengthen knowledge of Greek and have discussions radiating out to consider: 1. popular Platonisms and the elevation of the body 2. Hellenisms of the body and ethnic diversity 3. dance, spectacle, and narrative art 4. anti-Christian approaches to the body, beauty, pleasure 5. influence of antiquity on modern ballet.
Barbara Graziosi

Themes in Islamic Culture: Middle Eastern History
NES 503

This semester the course will be a chapter and paper clinic. Each participant will be expected to submit at least one draft chapter or paper to the seminar, and will receive intensive comments and suggestions on both form and substance from the other participants and the instructor. Chapters and papers may relate to any period or aspect of Middle Eastern or Islamic history.
Michael A. Cook 

Topics in Zoroastrian Studies: Introduction to Middle Persian Language and Literature
NES 538

This course serves as an introduction to the study of Pahlavi - the Zoroastrian Middle Persian language - and its literature. Students gain a firm knowledge of the Pahlavi script, grammar, and vocabulary through weekly exercises. At the same time, we survey extant Middle Persian literature, reading in translation and in the original from genres including epic, cosmology, religious response, ritual instruction, and scriptural hermeneutics. Students are introduced to current problems in the field, emphasizing historical and comparative approaches. Students gain hands-on experience working with Zoroastrian manuscripts.
Daniel J. Sheffield 

Special Topics in the Study of Religion: Papyrology with case studies on Oxyrhynchus Papyri
REL 511 / HLS 546

This seminar introduces students to the field of papyrology, the study of ancient texts preserved on papyrus. Papyri have contributed greatly to our understanding of daily life, government, and textual transmission and many other aspects of antiquity. The course teaches students the skills to read and understand ancient documents and literature preserved on papyrus. The papyri found at the garbage heaps of the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus will serve as case studies in this class. Special attention will be paid to the importance of papyri for religious and social history.
AnneMarie Luijendijk