CLAS 2103 - Pagans, Saints and Magic in Late Antiquity

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

This is a cultural history course that looks at issues that were at the centre of social change in Late Antiquity (3rd-6th centuries AD). The later Roman empire witnessed major cultural upheavals and political collapse; according to many contemporaries, the rise of Christianity and its attempts to be the only religion within the empire was at the centre of much of this change. Debate spilled out onto streets as civil riot, pogroms and vandalism in places such as Athens, Alexandria and Antioch. European views of religious (in)tolerance, orthodoxy, heresy and magic developed within this period, as did the notion of the 'holy man', power of the 'relic' and personal asceticism as an ideal. In particular, this course will use literary sources in translation to examine the history of pagan religions in Late Antiquity, their reactions and challenges to the rise of Christianity. We will study the rise of the cult of the martyr and of asceticism, using contemporary poetry, letters and biographies. Finally, the intertwining concepts of magic and miracles will be explored in the context of Christianity and a variety of pagan and philosophical groups, with an emphasis on the eastern Mediterranean world. This course is not available with exemptions from lecture or tutorial attendance.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CLAS 2103
    Course Pagans, Saints and Magic in Late Antiquity
    Coordinating Unit Classics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 3 hours per week
    Prerequisites 12 units of Level I Humanities/Social Sciences courses, including CLAS 1001 & CLAS 1002 or CLAS 1003 & CLAS 1004
    Course Description This is a cultural history course that looks at issues that were at the centre of social change in Late Antiquity (3rd-6th centuries AD). The later Roman empire witnessed major cultural upheavals and political collapse; according to many contemporaries, the rise of Christianity and its attempts to be the only religion within the empire was at the centre of much of this change. Debate spilled out onto streets as civil riot, pogroms and vandalism in places such as Athens, Alexandria and Antioch.

    European views of religious (in)tolerance, orthodoxy, heresy and magic developed within this period, as did the notion of the 'holy man', power of the 'relic' and personal asceticism as an ideal. In particular, this course will use literary sources in translation to examine the history of pagan religions in Late Antiquity, their reactions and challenges to the rise of Christianity. We will study the rise of the cult of the martyr and of asceticism, using contemporary poetry, letters and biographies. Finally, the intertwining concepts of magic and miracles will be explored in the context of Christianity and a variety of pagan and philosophical groups, with an emphasis on the eastern Mediterranean world.

    This course is not available with exemptions from lecture or tutorial attendance.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Margaret O'Hea

    Course staff and details of consultation times will be available on MyUni at the start of semester.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    The lecture list and seminar programme will be available at the start of the semester, on MyUni. Note that there are 12 lectures, and 10 seminars for this course. There will be no seminar in Week 1, and mid-semester there will be a week without seminars, when students must see their tutor regarding their choice of essay topic and essay outline, and will get feedback on their seminar summaries for the first half of the semester.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Understand the historical sequence of  the main developments in Late Antique religious history
    2 Develop a scholarly approach to the historical analysis of primary sources, both literary and documentary
    3 Encourage wider readings and the application of a broader “historical” perspective to contemporary issues, such as religious tolerance and intolerance in Europe and of freedom of speech
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-3
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 3
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Textbook
    Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians in the Mediterranean World (Penguin 1986 and later reprints). This book is available in paperback or as an ebook from Amazon, Angus and Robinson and other bookstores.

    More information about purchasing textbook and recommended reference works will be advised before the start of semester via MyUni and an emailed announcement to students.

    • This course will also provide online content via MyUni. Where copyright permits, seminar readings will be accessed via MyUni.
    • There will be no course booklet or reader to purchase; instead pdfs will be made available on MyUni.
    • There will be no recording of seminars. Lectures may have audio recordings, and lecture slides will be posted up on MyUni for the purposes of review only. Note that this course requires regular attendance at both lectures and seminars. The lectures are intended to provide useful starting points for the seminars. Failure to attend at least 50% of lectures by week 6 will result in those students losing access to both audio and visual material for the lectures until Stuvac. Access will remain open, however, for all seminar material.
    Recommended Resources
    Readings lists for seminars, and guides to formatting citations and written work for Classics courses will all be available for download on MyUni.
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be your starting point for all learning resources other than lectures in this course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures provide a backbone for the in-depth research through reading and note-taking on defined topics in the seminar series. As with all lectures, you should be doing three things:
    1) where advised in the lecture list, do the recommended readings from your textbook and make notes.
    2) take notes at your lectures
    3) compare and contrast your notes, amalgamate and make new notes of any queries or issues that you do not fully understand. Assess the validity of the arguments, look up the supporting evidence when available in translation (usually primary documents). Summarise these, ensuring that you fully understand the chronological context of the evidence (dates, what else was going on at the time) as well as the effect the type of evidence has on anyone's interpretation of it.

    This is all work that you should be doing yourself, in your own time. We all build our understanding of the past through evaluation of past and current research on a topic, which in turn is based on available primary evidence. This is what we are training you to do: follow up leads and ideas in scholarship. Use their footnotes and citations to find other works to read.

    As with all courses that develop research skills, you should also peruse the reading lists for both the course in general and the seminar lists in particular and find the answers to your queries from (2) above. Write your research down, ensuring you keep track of precise page numbers and full bibliographic details, in case you need to look them up again. Mr Google is not the solution here: good record-keeping and precise queries will help you further.

    Seminars require preparation and research before the seminar sessions start, each and every week. THis takes several stages. Absolute minimum is reading and note-taking of at least 3; 5 is probably OK, all is better. Best (HD material) is to do what is called "directed readings": that is, do all the listed readings, then select key texts which come up in these readings but which are not listed by us, and go find them and make notes from them (just reading them is not enough).
    The next stage consists of taking notes, highlighting for yourself what you think the hot topics/issues are, and why there might be consensus or controversy. Then go back to the key primary sources that are relevant to these points. We recommend that revisit those readings of modern scholars whih you did not understand fully the first time, amending your original notes as you go. Instead of simply copying out snippets form the text and filing them away for swotvac will not be sufficient. Thinking about them, and engaging with the argument is what will do the trick.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Type of workload Overall hours Average hours per week
    Lectures, seminars, interview 36 3
    Private reading 60 5
    Written work 42 3.5
    Revision 18 1.5
    Total 156 13
    Learning Activities Summary
    Lecture list and seminar topics with reading lists will be available on MyUni at the start of semester.
    Specific Course Requirements
    Attendance at lectures and seminars is compulsory.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    See MyUni at start of semester for further details.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment task Task type Weighting Course learning outcomes
    250 word blog entry Formative & summative 10% 1
    10 x 100 word seminar summaries Formative & summative 10% 1-3
    2750 word research essay Formative & summative 40% 1, 2
    2-hour exam Summative 40% 1-3
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Since the bulk of the content for this course is delivered through seminars, it is in your best interests to attend every seminar. Weekly summaries of seminar discussions/research must be submitted for this course,  and this relies on regular attendance.  Your grade for this particular assessment is likely to suffer if you are absent regularly.
    Assessment Detail
    Details of how assignments are to be submitted are on MyUni for this course.

    Blog entry - all students to submit online via MyUni early in the course.

    10 x 100 word
    seminar
    summaries - details of how this will be submitted will be available on MyUni at the start of semester

    2500 word essay - choice of topics will be available at the start of semester on MyUni and in class.

    2 hour examination - 3 essay-type questions, in formal exam period.  

    Alternative Assessment and Supplementary Exams: There is no alternative form of assessment for any of these assignments. Students with a Disability Plan should note both this and the requirement for regular attendance at both tutorials and lectures. Students who fail to submit all written work throughout the course and who achieve a final mark between 45-49% will not be eligible for a replacement (supplementary exam). Students who do all the work and still achieve a final overall mark of 45-49% will be offered a supplementary exam in the University's supplementary exam period, and so should ensure that they are available to sit the exam at this time.
    Submission
    Late Submission of Assignments
    For the essay, students with a valid medical or compassionate reason for an extension should apply using the University form (available on the examinations website; link provided on MyUni, with instructions). This includes students with a Disability Plan, although they should note that they do not need to resubmit documentation. Note the conditions that apply to this procedure. There is no possibility of extensions for the blog entry. The seminar summaries (for all topics) must be posted incrementally via MyUni, on a weekly basis. Full details will be provided at the start of semester.
     
    Classics applies the following penalties in all its courses for work submitted late without prior approval: for the full first week, -10% of the mark off; for the second week, -20% of the mark off. For example, if you score 70% and submit two weeks late without prior arrangement, your penalty would be 20% of 70% = 14%, and your final mark would be 70-14 = 56%. Since we do not penalise per day, if you are going to submit late, take the full week and work on your paper!

     

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    This course is new as of 2014, but will be evaluated with standard course and teaching SELT.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.