ISSI402 Classical Mythology and Religion

NOTE:  This schedule will remain "in progress" throughout the semester. It will be modified as needed. Students are advised to consult this schedule periodically for changes, modifications, and additions.
Additional study questions will be added later.

REVISED 10/31/00

Part I Introduction to Myth and Religion
Aug. 29 Course Introductions
Discussion of Issues and Ideas Rubric. See the Monmouth College Curriculum.
Question: What should an Issues and Ideas course be like?
Aug. 31
Assignment: Write a reflection on the Monmouth College Curriculum and this ISSI course. Due Sept. 4th.
Sept. 5 Cleanthes' "Hymn to Zeus"
Question: How is the Hymn to Zeus a prayer? How is it like the Lord's Prayer?
Assignment: Compare Cleanthes' hymn to a prayer which is important to you personally. Due Sept. 7th.
Sept. 7 Homeric Hymn 23 (Zeus)
Class discussion: What prayer did you compare to the Hymn to Zeus? Why?
Question: In what ways are the Cleanthes and Homeric hymns to Zeus myth? In what ways are they religion?
Prefaces and introductions to Athanassakis and Nagle. Also read review of A World Full of Gods  by Keith Hopkins (available in Public Documents under /Classics/ISSI402).
Question: What do these introductory materials tell you about the Homeric Hymns?
Assignment: Write a personal reflection on religion. Click here for some helpful questions. Click here for Prof. Sienkewicz' personal statement. Due Sept. 12th.
Part II Greek and Roman Religion
Sept. 12 Sources of Roman Religion; Theories on the Origin of Religion; Nagle, pp. 22-27
Questions: What do the documents dealing with the sources of Roman religion suggest to you about the Romans and their religious beliefs? Why do you think humans have developed religious beliefs? What purposes does religion serve in human life?
Class discussion of personal reflections
Sept. 14 Apollo and Artemis
Homeric Hymns 3, 21 (Apollo) and Artemis 9, 27
Questions: What kind deities are Apollo and Artemis? Compare the story of Apollo to the life of Jesus Christ. What characteristics does Artemis have in common with Mary the Mother of Jesus? How does he compare to your beliefs about deity? How is Artemis similar to and different from her brother Apollo? How is a goddess different from a god?
Sept. 19 Ovid's Fasti: Introduction; January. Bellini's Feast of the Gods
Questions: How is the Fasti organized? What were Ovid's purposes in writing this poem? How is it religious? Why do the Romans sacrifice an ass to the god Priapus? Why does Ovid tell this story? What does Ovid tell you about the emperor's attitude towards religion? How does a Christian artist like Bellini use the ancient deities? To what extent is our calendar religious?
Assignment: Compare a Greek deity to your god. Be sure to deal with issues of anthropomorphism, forms of worship, and ethics. Due Tuesday, Sept. 26th. 
Sept. 21. Webpage Construction. Class will meet in the Trotter Computer Lab in the basement of Wallace Hall. Instruction will be provided by Ms. Jill Ullmann of the MC Information Systems Office. For this class you should have an MC webpage address and be familiar with the Sample Website document. 
Sept. 26 NOON Archaeology Lecture on "Geophysics and the Sanctuary of Apollo". Highlander Room.
Sept. 26 Aphrodite
Homeric Hymn 5, 6, 10 (Aphrodite)
Question:  What does archaeology tell us about Apollo and his oracle at Delphi?
Why do you think the Greeks had a goddess like Aphrodite? What do you think about a goddess who seduces mortal men?
Sept. 28 Fasti: February; Homeric Hymn 4, 18 (Hermes)
Question: What kind of god is Hermes? How does he compare to your idea of deity?
How is the Fasti religious?
Oct. 3 Fasti: March; Homeric Hymn 1, 7, 26 (Dionysus)
What divine powers Bacchus (Dionysus) have? How does he seem less divine to you? To what extent does Dionysus fit his modern stereotype?
Oct. 5 Fasti: April; Homeric Hymn 2, 13 (Demeter)
Question: Compare the Homeric Hymn to Demeter in Athanassakis to the version in Meyer (pp. 20-31). How are these two versions similar? How are they different? How is Demeter similar to and different from your concept of a deity? Compare her to Artemis and Aphrodite.
Oct. 10 Fasti: May
Questions: How is the Fasti a poem? How is the Fasti like an encyclopedia?What elements of political propaganda can you find in the Fasti?
Oct. 12 Fasti: June
Questions: How religious do you think Ovid was? Why? Where does Ovid sound religious in Fasti? Where does he sound less sincere?
Oct. 17 Homeric Hymns  8, 11, 15-17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 28-33
Questions: Which gods are honored in these hymns? How are these hymns different from the Homeric Hymns to Apollo, Dionysus, Hermes, Aphrodite, and Demeter? Why do you think these gods received different hymns? What do the Homeric Hymns as a group tell you about Greek religion and especially belief in god?
Mid-Course Evaluation Due
Oct. 19 NO CLASS Work on Individualized Project
Part III Mystery Religions
Oct. 26 NO CLASS Work on Individualized Project
Oct. 31 Read the introductions to Burkert and Meyer and consult study questions for both. (Click on authors' names.)
Questions: How are these books organized? How are they related to each other? How are they different? What is a mystery religion?
Prospectus for Individualized Project Due
Nov. 2 Read Burkert, chapter 1
Questions: What personal needs does religion satisfy?
Read Meyer, chapter 2
Questions: What personal needs does the mystery religion of Demeter satisfy?
Heather Clark, Jeff DeVena, and Ken Williams
Nov. 6 Fox Classics Lecture, 7:30 P.M. in Highlander Room. Attendance Required.
Nov. 7 Read Burkert, chapter 2
Questions: How were the ancient mystery religions organized? How does this organization compare to the organization of established churches in the modern world?
Nick Burge, Ryan Morenz, and Erica Hanlin
Short paper on Fox Lecture Due
Nov. 9 Read Meyer, chapter 4
Questions: What personal needs does the mystery religion of Dionysus satisfy? Why do you think that ancient Greeks and Romans were afraid of this cult?
Ken Macak, James A., Mike Chilvers
Nov. 14 Read Burkert, chapter 3
Questions What is theologia? What do myth and allegory have to do with mystery religions? Apply these concepts to the religions of Demeter and Dionysus
Jamie Hixon, Jaclyn Johnson, Beth Dahm
Nov. 16 Read Meyer, chapter 5
Questions: Compare the Great Goddess to deities like Demeter and Aphrodite? How is she similar and different?
Melanie Vahlkamp, Tom Hewes
Nov. 21 Venus of Willendorf Website
Questions: How does the cult of the Great Goddess appeal to modern feminism?
Rick Johnston, Jessica Putoni, Jay Gunning
Nov. 23 THANKSGIVING break.
Nov. 28 Read Burkert, chapter 4
Questions: What does Burkert mean by the "extraordinary experience"?
Stacey Valentin, Thomas VanUffelen, Sarah Whitehouse
Nov. 30 Read Meyer, chapter 6
Questions: Compare Isis to other goddesses you have studied. Also compare her to Mary the Mother of Jesus.
Individualized Project due at 3:30 P.M.
Bonnie Trinko, Melissa Jordan, Meg Welchans
Dec. 5 Read Meyer, Chapter 7-8
Questions: Why would this deity especially appeal to males? To what extant is your religion a mystery religion?
Matt Poeltler, Cory McIntyre
Evaluation of Individualized Projects due
Dec. 7 EXTENDED CLASS PERIOD Group Presentations, Course Evaluations, etc.

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