What is the course about?
The learning aims fo this course include:
Introducing mystery religions as a concept in the Greco Roman world.
Becoming familiar with some of their main movements and belief systems.
Furthering your knowledge of ancient Greco-Roman religious life.
Deepening your understanding of the variety of religious forms in the ancient world.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Over the four weeks we will define and study some of the most important mystery religions including and starting with one of the most popular, the mysteries of Eleusis. The orphic rites and their continuation in Dionysus/Bacchic-orphic beliefs. The third session will focus on the role of women in mystery religions. The latter were very popular with Greco-roman women as at a later period, priesthood and various other cultic roles were open to women. Kybele/Magna Mater, and Isis were very popular among women. The last session will focus on Mithra, a popular mystery religion in the Roman Empire.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the variety of religious culture in the ancient world.
- Define what ‘mystery religions’ are and how they function in the society in which they originate.
- Build up an awareness of the literary sources and the materiality of the mystery religions.
- Engagement with the continuity and discontinuity of beliefs between mystery religions and other more traditional or emerging new religions (e.g. Christianity).
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is open to all who are interested in the subject. An open mind is essential. As this course is taught in English, you should be able to follow verbal and written instructions in English and take part in group discussions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be taught through PowerPoint presentations, class discussion, pair and group work. Reading source material every week is encourage in order to foster active participation.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Resources will be provided and shared in Google Classroom.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may be interested in Creation Myths in the Ancient Near East (RC518), The Bible between Old and New Testament (RC230), Ancient Israelite religions (RC299), Sexuality and Gender Roles in Ancient Israel (RC804), or Magic in the ancient World (RC278).