ISSI402 Classical Mythology and Religion
Fall, 2002

NOTE:  One advantage of a web-based schedule is that it can be adjusted frequently according to class progress. Students are advised to consult this page regularly for changes.

Aug. 27 Course Introductions
Discussion: How does an Issues and Ideas course fit in the Monmouth College Curriculum?

1. Use these study questions to prepare for class discussion of ISSI courses on Thursday.
2. Consider the relationship between the words "myth" and "religion". See: The Web of Myth Theory and Myth and Religion: Some Definitions.
2. Apply for a personal website from the MC Information Systems Office by clicking on "Computer Assistant" on the Desktop. Then click on the "Help" tab. Then select "Apply for a Personal Webpage" and follow the instructions. When the IS office sends you the address of your webpage, please e-mail it to the instructor. This web address must be received by the instructor by Sept. 19th.
Aug. 29 Issues and Ideas, Myth and Religion
Discussion: ISSI study questions and the relationship between myth and religion.
Write a reflection on ways that you think that the theme of myth and religion may fit the description of an ISSI course in the Monmouth College Curriculum. Be sure to consult these writing guidelines before beginning to write. Due Sept. 3.
2. Read
Cleanthes' Hymn to Zeus, Prayer / Lord's Prayer,
Sept. 3 Prayer
Discussion: How is the Hymn to Zeus a prayer? How is it like the Lord's Prayer? How is the prayer "myth"? How is it "religion"?
Assignment: Write a reflection comparing Cleanthes' hymn to a prayer which is important to you personally. Be sure to discussion the purposes of prayer and the relationship between god and the person praying. Please submit a copy of the prayer you chose along with your reflection. Due Sept. 5th.
Sept. 5 Personal Reflections on Prayer
Discussion: What prayer did you compare to the Hymn to Zeus? Why? What purposes do you think these prayers served? How would you describe the relationship between god and the person praying in these prayers?
Each member of the class will explaining what prayer they chose to compare to the Hymn to Zeus and how the two prayers compare. The class will then break down into small groups to discuss reasons why people pray. What purposes does prayer serve? The groups will use Cleanthes' Hymn to illustrate these purposes. Each group will then report back to the entire class.
Assignment: Read Xenophanes of Colophon, and the fragments called satires: Xenophanes' Fragments and look at these images of Zeus.
Sept. 10 Anthropomorphism
How do the Greeks represent Zeus? What does Xenophanes think about this? What is your image of God? Does your god have anthropomorphic features? How does your image of god compare to the Greek image of Zeus
1. Read
Preface and introduction to Athanassakis, Homeric Hymns, Polytheism, A Brief Survey of Christian Polytheism, Islam and Polytheism, The Pantheon, Greek Pantheon, Classical Myths: The Ancient Sources, and a review of A World Full of Gods  by Keith Hopkins (available in Public Documents under All Public Folders/Departments/Academics/Classics/ISSI402).
2. Write a reflection on monotheism versus polytheism. Why would someone only believe in one god? Why would others believe in many gods? Where do you stand? This assignment is due on Thursday, Sept. 12th.
Sept. 12 Homeric Hymns and Polytheism
Discussion of class reflections on Polytheism vs. Monotheism.
What do the introductory materials tell you about the Homeric Hymns? What image of Christianity and ancient religions does Hopkins create in this statement: : "But I wanted to recover the passion of that time. Re-create the confusion of voices. Think of it: Religion absolutely everywhere. Gods and goddesses and demons and nightmares, and sex mixed up into all of it. Christianity must have seemed so strange, so absurd to good, decent pagans." What relationship between Christianity and the ancient religion is suggested by Hopkins' quote?
Assignment: Read Homeric Hymn 23 (Zeus), Prometheus (and Hesiod's Theogony, 508-544 and 545-565). Prometheus Bound. Also Catalogue of Greek Animal Sacrifice and Summary.
Sept. 17   The Homeric Hymn to Zeus. Types of Religious Sacrifice
Discussion: How is the Homeric Hymn to Zeus similar to Cleanthes' Hymn? How is it different? In what ways are the Cleanthes and Homeric hymns to Zeus myth? In what ways are they religion? How is Prometheus' sacrifice a form of worship? How is it a trick? What does this story suggest about the Greek attitudes towards relationship between human and god? How do these attitudes compare to your own?
Assignment: Write a personal reflection on religion. This reflection should give describe your religious background and describe your personal beliefs about god and religion. Due Sept. 24.
Click here for some helpful questions. Click here for Prof. Sienkewicz' personal statement. 
Sept. 19
Introduction to Website Development in Trotter Computer Lab
Webpage Design: Ms. Marcie Beintema of the MC Information Systems Office will conduct a session about getting started with your personal website. . Use this website template as a model. 
Sept. 24 Class discussion of personal religious reflections
Read the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 12-22 and the sacrifice of Iphigenia. Also Iphigenia as sacrificial victim. Review of Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece. Minoan Religion (focus on Anemospilia). Anemospilia. Minoan Snake Goddess. Also read Prospectus for Individualized Project. See Individualized Project Guidelines.
Sept. 26 Human Sacrifice
Discussion: The Greeks and Romans practiced animal sacrifice but not human sacrifice. Do you make any distinction between the two? What is the religious purpose of sacrifice? How is sacrifice important in your religion?
Prospectus for Individualized Project
Read Theories on the Origin of Religion; pp. 22-27 of Nagle. Additional materials: Some Definitions / Beginnings of Religion / Roman Divinities in Archaic Period /  Religio Romana
Oct. 1 Introduction to Roman Religion
Discussion: 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? 
1. Look for characteristics of Roman Religion described in Some Notes on Roman Religion in the documents found in the Sources of Roman Religion.
2. Write a reflection
on these characteristics and compare them to modern religious views and practices. Due Oct. 8.
Oct. 3 Roman Religion Cont.
Discussion: What points of comparison did you find between Roman and modern religious views and practices?
Assignment: Read Ovid's Fasti: Introduction; January  Bellini's Feast of the Gods. Also the preface and introduction to Nagle. See Ovid's Fasti Overview / Fasti Outline  / Fasti I: January / The Roman Calendar / Christian Liturgical Calendar
Oct. 8 Ovid's Fasti
Discussion: 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? How is the Fasti religious?
Assignment: Read Homeric Hymns 3, 21 (Apollo) and 9, 27 (Artemis). See also  Outline of Hymn,  Study and Discussion Questions, and Sacred Places: Delphi and Delos.
Oct. 10-15  Apollo and Artemis
Discussion: 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? What makes Delphi and Delos sacred places?
1. Compare Apollo to your god. Be sure to deal with issues of anthropomorphism, forms of worship, and ethics. Due Oct. 24.
Read Homeric Hymn 5, 6, 10 (Aphrodite) and Sappho's Prayer to Aphrodite. Focus on the encounters between Aphrodite and the mortals Anchises and Sappho.
Oct. 17 Aphrodite
Discussion:  Compare Anchises and Sappho's encounters with Aphrodite to that of the sailors with Apollo. What do these episodes suggest about the Greek attitude toward deity in general? Human interaction with deity? Human free will? What ethical issues are suggested in these episodes? What do you think about all of these issues? Why do you think the Greeks had a goddess like Aphrodite? What do you think about a goddess who seduces mortal men?
Class Activity on Epiphanies
Prospectus for Individualized Project DUE TODAY!
1. Write
a Mid-Course Evaluation for Oct. 18.
Read Fasti: February and March; Fasti II: February , Lupercalia; Fasti III:  March / Fasti III: Study Questions / Some Characteristics of the Fasti
Juno Sospita: Coin / Church of San Nicola in Carcere in Rome: 1 / 2/ 3 / See Midwinter (and scroll to Juno Sospita) / Tommaso Laurenti Siciliano: The Triumph of Christianity over Paganism (1585) / For more on this painting, see the Raphael Rooms of the Vatican
/ Babri Masjid (mosque) at Ayodhya / The Ayodhya Dispute
Apotheosis: Temple of Antoninus and Faustina / On the temple /  Apotheosis of an Emperor  / On the Column base of the emperor Antoninus Pius / The Lincoln Memorial / The Apotheosis of George Washington / More on the Fresco
Oct. 22 Fall Break. NO CLASS
Oct. 24 Ovid's Fasti II and III: Apotheosis, the Lupercalia, and Juno Sospita
Discussion: Why does the Temple of Juno Sospita become the Church of San Nicola in Carcere? What other examples of such religious building/site conversions can you think of? Why do such things occur? Whose apotheosis does Ovid describe in February? How  does such an event compare to modern religious beliefs? How many stories does Ovid tell to explain why the Luperci run naked? Why does Ovid tell the story of the Sabine Women in March? What is the feast of the toga virilis and what might be some modern equivalents? 
Read Fasti: April, May and June See Fasti IV: April  / Study Questions for IV / Fasti V: May / Fasti VI: June / Mars UltorClaudia Quinta
Oct. 29 Ovid's Fasti IV, V, and VI
Discussion: How is the Fasti a poem? How is the Fasti like an encyclopedia? What elements of political propaganda can you find in the Fasti? How religious do you think Ovid was? Why? Where does Ovid sound religious in Fasti? Where does he sound less sincere? What myth does Ovid tell for the Feast of Cerealia in April? What does this myth have to do with the powers of the goddess Ceres?
Apollo reflection due.
1. Write a reflection on characteristics of Roman religion in the Fasti compared to modern religious views. Due Oct. 31.
2. Read
Homeric Hymn 4, 18 (Hermes), Outline and Study Questions for the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. Also read hymns #8, 11, 15-17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 28-33
Oct. 31 Hermes
Discussion: What kind of god is Hermes? How does he compare to your idea of deity? 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?
Assignment: Read Some Definitions of Terms, Some Notes on Mysteria, Brief History of Greco-Roman Religion. Also read the introduction to Meyer and Burkert and consult study questions. (Click on authors' names.).  
Nov. 5  Introduction to Ancient Mystery Religions
Discussion: What did the Greeks mean by mystery?  What is a mystery religion? What personal needs does religion satisfy? How are Burker's and Meyer's books similar? How are they different?
Assignment: Read Homeric Hymn 2, 13 (Demeter) Read Meyer, chapter 2. Sacred Places: Eleusis  / Eleusinian Mysteries: Some Documents  / Demeter Laughed
Work on individualized project. Progress report due on Nov. 12.
Nov. 12 Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries
Discussion: What personal needs does the mystery religion of Demeter satisfy? 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.

Assignment: Read Meyer, chapter 4 and Homeric Hymns 1, 7, 26 (Dionysus), Outline of Homeric Hymn to Dionysus, Dionysian Mysteries: Some Documents, Some Dionysian Terms, Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus (the Inscription / Latin text / English translation; Livy XXXIX).
Nov. 14 .Dionysus and Dionysian Mysteries
Discussion: What divine powers does Bacchus (Dionysus) have? Does he seem divine to you? To what extent does Dionysus fit his modern stereotype? What personal needs does the mystery religion of Dionysus satisfy? Why do you think that ancient Greeks and Romans were afraid of this cult?
Assignment: Read Villa of the Mysteries  / Villa of Mysteries 2 / Take a Virtual Tour of the Villa.
Nov. 19 Reading Visual Evidence for the Dionysian Mysteries
Discussion: The Villa of the Mysteries
1. Write a reflection the Dionysian Mysteries. Due on Nov. 21.
2. R
ead Burkert, chapter 1-3 with Study Questions
Nov. 21 The Organization of the Ancient Mystery Religions
Discussion: How were the ancient mystery religions organized? How does this organization compare to the organization of established churches in the modern world?  What is theologia? What do myth and allegory have to do with mystery religions? Apply these concepts to the religions of Demeter and Dionysus.
Assignment: Read Meyer, chapter 5. Also Cybele / Catullus' "Attis"  / Study Questions about Cybele 
Nov. 26  Cybele and the Cult of the Great Mother
Discussion: Compare the Great Goddess to deities like Demeter and Aphrodite? How is she similar and different? What is Catullus' opinion of the Great Mother? 
1. Write a statement in which you use some of the documents on Cybele in Meyer in order to reflect on what was attractive in her worship to the ancients and what is attractive and not attractive in her worship today. Due Dec. 3.
Read Venus of Willendorf Website and  Dove"s "Venus of Willendorf"
Nov. 28 Thanksgiving Day. NO CLASS
Dec. 3  The Female Image of Deity
Question: How does the cult of the Great Goddess appeal to modern feminism? Why do you think that the Venus of Willendorf was made? Is it a religious object? Do you think that the earliest human image of god was male or female? Why?
Individualized Project due at 3:30 P.M.
Assignment: Read Burkert, chapter 4 with Study Questions
Dec. 5 "The Extraordinary Experience" (Burkert, chapter 4)
Question: What does Burkert mean by the "extraordinary experience"? How did the ancients talk about this experience? Do we talk about it today? 
Dec. 12 8 A.M.
Group Presentations, Course Evaluations, etc.

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