Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fall 2008 courses

I'm in the process of putting together syllabi for my fall 08 courses. Here are my two course descriptions:

Reli 309/593: Reading Coptic Texts
This is the third semester of the Coptic language. It has three goals: to read Coptic texts; to become familiar with Coptic dialects; and to review immediate grammar, syntax and vocabulary. This seminar is meant to be as flexible as possible, recognizing that students will be at various levels of competency. Our goal is to bring everyone to reading fluency with some ability to deal with different dialects by the end of the semester. Each student will be responsible for at least one Coptic text, creating a complete chrestomathy of that text.
Reli 483/583: Mysticism Before Mysticism Seminar
What is mysticism? How does it differ from esotericism and Gnosticism? Is there no mysticism in the west before Pseudo-Dionysius? Is there no mysticism without Plato? This course will explore pre-Dionysian mysticism within Jewish and Christian traditions. Two questions will drive the seminar: (1) what mysticism looks like within Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity; (2) how mysticism emerges in different communal contexts in this period. The subject matter – mysticism in early Judaism and Christianity – has yet to be mapped, because traditionally it has been understood to have begun with Dionysius the Areopagite and envisioned as the product of (Neo-)Platonism. Any article or book on ancient mysticism will engage this period in terms of useful “background” to the “genuine” mysticism following Dionysius. The faults with this paradigm will be explored and a new paradigm put into place.


Richard James said...

Hi April,

Those are very interesting courses. I'm especially interested in your mysticism course. Ever since I started studying the Gospel of Thomas I've become interested in vision mysticism (partly thanks to your work of course). I'm particularly intrigued by the Therapeutae, described by Philo, and the question whether there were other Jewish sects similar to the Therapeutae in the early 1st century CE.

April DeConick said...

Qumran. First Christian Jews, including Paul. Other apocalyptic circles of Jews.

Jim Deardorff said...

Does pre-Dionysian mysticism refer to mysticism prior to the era of the Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus? Or just prior to pseudo-Dionysius?

It would be interesting if your course could include the recent evidence, since the 1970s, that shows metempsychosis to be real beyond reasonable doubt (re transmigration just to humans, however). So, in a scientific sense, this aspect of Dionysian mysticism has been much studied in recent times.

Makropoulos said...
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Makropoulos said...

I would actually love to take these courses! Where do you teach?