The Study of Ancient Religion

Course content


This course introduces the students to methods and theories in the study of ancient religion and to the development of religion in the Roman Empire in its relation to society in the period during which Judaism, Christianity and Islam emerged. This is important because the Graeco-Roman culture of this period is in itself a constitutive element of European culture, society, identity and history. It is also essential since the knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the student in this course will constitute the foundation for subsequent discussions in other modules of the Programme.



The Religious Roots of Europe

Learning outcome

The student will acquire: 

  • Knowledge of theories related to the understanding of ancient religion.
  • Knowledge of the nature, variety and functions of religion during the period of the Roman Empire. 
  • The skills to compare salient features in different religions; to understand issues related to continuity and change in religious life as the Graeco-Roman world (including Europe and the Near East) becomes dominated by monotheistic religions; and to adopt a critical stance towards modern theories applied by scholarship to study such developments. 
  • The skills to reflect on the consequences of methodological and theoretical choices as well as on the consequences of the choices made by other scholars in relevant fields. 
  • The skills to communicate acquired knowledge of the subject matter, as well as theoretical and methodological insights, in writing.
  • The skills to identify, understand, and apply relevant scholarly methods, and to be able to describe and discuss these methods theoretically.


The teaching will combine:
 Compact seminar, including field-trips
 Tutorials
 E-learning


Approximately 2000 pages of secondary scholarly literature and primary texts from antiquity read in translation. This syllabus is defined by the teacher before the beginning of the term (cf. article 5.9).


Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Written assignment, -
Type of assessment details
Examination in this module is a fixed written test, in which the student is given seven days to write a paper of between ten and twelve pages (24,000 to 28,800 characters including spaces and references but excluding bibliography and table of contents) on a subject, question or material provided by the teacher.
Exam registration requirements


All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

- -

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • English
  • 28


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Study board of Theology
Contracting department
  • Religious Roots of Europe
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Theology
Course Coordinator
  • gtw705 gtw705   (3-6f747845796a747133707a336970)

Joshua Sabih

Saved on the 28-04-2023

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