1. Study and understanding of contemporary theoretical and methodological discussions that may be applied to the research of religions / cults of antiquity.
2. Understanding of basic terms (categories) (such as "religion", "faith", "syncretism", "theology" etc.) by representatives of modern research of the ancient world.
3. Achieve a correct and not misleading view of the ancient world.
Course Content (Syllabus)
This approach deals with modern theoretical and methodological discussions that can be applied to the research of the religions / cults of antiquity. In this way, attempts are made to eliminate generalizations and misunderstandings in the use and understanding of basic terms (such as "religion", "faith", "syncretism", "theology", etc.) by the representatives of contemporary research of the ancient world. In this way it is possible to create, through the use of sound scientific data, a proper framework for the understanding and performance of all these determinants of the structure of the political, social and religious expression of the people of that time period. This research tactic could, moreover, create the ideal conditions that would serve to "purify" and restore their proper understanding in order to achieve a correct, and not misleading, view of the ancient world. The study of a historical period is indeed a real challenge for modern research, since it allows us to get to know the culture and way of thinking of people of other times. At the same time, however, there is the risk of creating false impressions and conclusions that are disorienting when research is not carried out globally and multidimensionally. The risk obliges the scholar to support his research in a careful strategy in order to evaluate the research method, overcome the obstacles faced by wrong choices, and form as complete a picture as possible for the time he is studying. Consequently, the contemporary scholar of ancient religions ought also to bear in mind that the various testimonies that form the framework of his study are part of a "system" and within that context must always be considered. If we do not take into account all of the elements shaping the era in which the particular religious phenomenon or the use of basic terms manifests itself, it is inevitable to lead to generalizations and superficial conclusions.
Religion, Belief, Theory, Method, Anachronism
Additional bibliography for study
Beard, M., Confronting with the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovation, London: Profile Books, 2002.
Farrington, B., Science and Politics in the Ancient World, London: George Alles and Unwin, 1946.
Johnston, Sara Iles, Religion of the Ancient World: A Guide, Cambridge, MA: The Bellnap Press of Harvard University Press, 2001.
Larson, J., Understanding Greek Religion, London:Routledge, 2016.
Nogbri, Br., Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013.
Roubekas N. P., An Ancient Theory of Religion. Euhemerism from Antiquity to the Present, London: Routledge, 2017.
--------------------, Theorizing “Religion” in Antiquity, Sheggield-Bristol: Equinox, 2019.
Versnel, H. S., Coping with the Gods: Wayward Readings in Greek Theology, Leiden:Brill, 2011.
Whitmarsch, T.M. Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World, New York: Akfred A. Knopf, 2015.