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Religions of Western Antiquity (RWA)

Religions of Western Antiquity studies the religions of the Mediterranean world and western Asia up to the rise of Islam. Although encompassing a wide range of subjects from religion in ancient Egypt to religions of the Graeco-Roman world through late antiquity, most of the courses in this area deal with ancient Judaism and early Christianity, including close studies of the literary, historical, and sociological dimensions of the diverse texts considered authoritative by a number of different Jewish and Christian communities. This means that in addition to acquiring the intensive philological and historical training necessary to do research in the area, students will be expected to be firmly grounded in the methods of the historical-critical study of the Bible as they developed over the past two centuries and to have an understanding of the history of interpretation of the Bible in the ancient and medieval periods. Students in this area will work closely with Professors Goff, Kelley, Levenson, and Tigchelaar in the Religion Department, and will take advantage of the close links we have to the Classics and Philosophy Departments. Students entering the PhD program are expected to have training in the methods of Religious Studies and are encouraged to do some of their work in other departmental areas.


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