Theorizing “Religion” in Antiquity

Course Information
TitleΘεωρητικές προσεγγίσεις στη μελέτη των θρησκειών της αρχαιότητας ι / Theorizing “Religion” in Antiquity
Cycle / Level1st / Undergraduate
Teaching PeriodWinter
CoordinatorPanagiotis Pachis
Course ID600018801

Programme of Study: UPS School of Theology (2013-today)

Registered students: 7
OrientationAttendance TypeSemesterYearECTS
CoreElective CoursesWinter-3

Class Information
Academic Year2019 – 2020
Class PeriodWinter
Faculty Instructors
Weekly Hours3
Class ID
Course Category
Specific Foundation / Core
Mode of Delivery
  • Face to face
Digital Course Content
The course is also offered to exchange programme students.
Language of Instruction
  • Greek (Instruction, Examination)
  • English (Instruction, Examination)
Learning Outcomes
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.
General Competences
  • Apply knowledge in practice
  • Retrieve, analyse and synthesise data and information, with the use of necessary technologies
  • Make decisions
  • Work autonomously
  • Work in teams
  • Work in an international context
  • Work in an interdisciplinary team
  • Generate new research ideas
  • Appreciate diversity and multiculturality
  • Respect natural environment
  • Demonstrate social, professional and ethical commitment and sensitivity to gender issues
  • Be critical and self-critical
  • Advance free, creative and causative thinking
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
Educational Material Types
  • Notes
  • Slide presentations
  • Book
Use of Information and Communication Technologies
Use of ICT
  • Use of ICT in Course Teaching
  • Use of ICT in Communication with Students
  • Use of ICT in Student Assessment
Use of Power Points during the lectures (and presentations). Collaboration with the students during the Seminar through )E-Mails.
Course Organization
Reading Assigment251
Written assigments100.4
Student Assessment
Writing of papers- Discussion -Evaluation of current scientific theories and methodologies. The rating of the students is a result of their above efficiencies during the Semester.
Student Assessment methods
  • Written Assignment (Formative)
  • Oral Exams (Summative)
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.
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