Texts that survive on stone, bronze, or terracotta provide one of the best and most direct sources for Roman history and culture. Such texts survive in large quantities and new discoveries are made every year. This course offers an introduction to Roman epigraphy, the study of non-literary ancient texts, by familiarizing students with a wide variety of writing preserved from Antiquity.
We analyze the principles guiding the exclusion of certain free inhabitants from the political communities in which they lived and often prospered, the initiatives taken by ancient states to integrate them despite their secondary rank, the non-citizens' own efforts at integration, and the evolution of these interactions over time. We also study the factors that influenced both exclusion and integration (ethnicity, religion, etc.) and how the broad and ever-changing spectrum of what we call 'non-citizens' provides us with a window into the formation/transformation of categorial infrastructures from the ancient to the medieval world.
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.
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.
Jews have often been thought of as a 'nation without art' who disparaged the visual and discouraged artistic creation. But the reality is very different: Judaism has a rich tradition of artistic production as well as a long history of reflection on the role of images in religious life. This course explores the nature and function of visual expression in ancient Judaism, with a particular focus on Jewish art from Late Antiquity. In addition to considering these materials in their own immediate contexts, we also use them to assess how Jews viewed and engaged with the wider visual culture of the ancient Mediterranean world.
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. The syllabus varies according to the interests of the students and the instructor.
A systematic introduction to Syriac language. Close reading of selected passages of Syriac texts.
An introduction to hands-on work with medieval Arabic documentary sources in their original manuscript form. Between 100,000 and 200,000 such documents have survived, making this an exciting new area of research with plenty of discoveries still to be made. Students learn how to handle the existing repertory of editions, documentary hands, Middle Arabic, transcription, digital resources and original manuscripts. The syllabus varies according to the interests of the students and the instructor. Experience reading Arabic is required; experience reading manuscripts is not.
This course focuses on reading texts that are illustrative of various issues in Muslim religious thought. The texts are selected according to students' needs.
This seminar offers comprehensive survey of primary sources essential for research, general exams, future teaching. Some topics: strategies of group formation; how various Jewish and "pagan" critics characterize and interact with Jesus' followers; exploring NT sources and "secret gospels" to clarify issues that ignite creation of "orthodoxy"/"heresy"; controversies on authority/social/sexual practices; the politics of persecution; how Christians defied Roman authority in trial/martyr accounts. Finally, how did this unlikely movement morph into "the catholic church" in the 4th century, legitimized and transformed by Roman imperial authority?
A weekly, year-long workshop providing students in the Religions of Late Antiquity with the opportunity to present their current research for discussion. Note: REL 525 (fall) and REL 526 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit and/or a grade, students must take the course both semesters.
A weekly year-long Religion workshop focusing on the research and writing of graduate students, faculty, and visitors in Islamic Studies. This workshop provides a forum for presentation of works in progress: drafts of dissertation chapters, dissertation proposals, seminar papers, conference papers, articles and book chapters. All Islamic Studies graduate students are encouraged to participate as presenters and as commentators. The workshop fosters collegiality and professional development. Note: REL 529 (fall) and REL 530 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop.