What is the course about?
The course will explore the idea of ‘myth’, taking into consideration contemporary research on ‘myth’ and ‘myth-making’. The day will be divided up into a number of sections: creation myths in Ugarit, in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, ancient Greece and in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. We will critically read the relevant primary texts, and ask ourselves a number of questions: when were these myths written, what were their original audience, and most importantly what function did they perform? A historic-socio-political and theological approach will be taken to fruitfully explore the multiplicity of myths in the ancient world.
What will we cover?
- Creation myths in Ugarit (Baal’s battle with Yam)
- Creation myths in ancient Egypt (Pyramid Texts, Hermopolis, Heliopolis, Memphis, and Thebes)
- Creation myths in Ancient Mesopotamia (Atrahasis; Enuma Elish)
- Creation myths in ancient Greece (Plato’s Timeus)
- Creation in the Old Testament (Genesis 1-3; Job 38-42; Psalms 74, 104).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Understand the concept of creation myth in the ancient near Eastern world.
- Understand the worldview of each of the ancient near Eastern societies under consideration.
- Appreciate the diversity of ideas behind creation myths and their varied functions.
- Appreciate the socio-political background behind the formation of creation myths.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is open to anyone with an interest in the topic; an open mind is the only requirement.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
? The course will be taught through seminar, group work, discussion and PowerPoint.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No. Bring pen and paper if you wish to take notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Any other classical literature and language course.