SHS2735 - Myth and meaning in ancient worlds
6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL
Undergraduate Faculty of Arts
Leader(s): Tamara Prosic
Mythic narrative provides a crucial vision of reality and discusses ideas about life, death, sexuality, culture, transcendence, etc. Students will learn about myth and symbol, types and functions of myths, myth and ritual, and different approaches to myth interpretation through reading mythic narratives from ancient sources and classical texts from ancient Greece and Near East focusing in detail on two mythic traditions of their choice. The unit also looks at interpretation of ancient myths within the Hebrew Bible and early Christian writings and their relevance in the modern age. The unit will be of relevance to students majoring in any branch of historical, literary and religion studies.
Objectives for this unit are:
- Students will become familiar with key mythological traditions, deities, their function and sexuality from in the mythologies of ancient Greece and Near East and learn to situate them in the social and religious context in which they evolved.
- Students will acquire critical skills in the interpretation of a range of classic literary texts dealing with mythic traditions.
- Acquired and demonstrated an understanding of the nature and significance of myth and the variety of ways in which myths can function.
- Be acquainted with the major types of myths.
- Students will acquire the skill to analyse the way mythological themes from a variety of ancient cultures are reinterpreted in a contemporary context.
- Considered critically various definitions of myth and mythology and the validity and the scope of the major methodological approaches used in interpretation of myths.
- Learned about the relationship between the sacred narrative (myth) and the sacred behaviour (ritual) through the angle of mystery religions, and the sacred doctrine (religion) and symbol.
- Formed the ability to understand and interpret the symbolism of myths.
Written work 50% (2500 words)
Tutorial presentation 15%
One 90-minute lecture and a one-hour tutorial per week for 11 weeks