Why Classical & Near Eastern Religions & Cultures?

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The Department of Classical and Near Eastern Religions and Cultures is devoted to the study of the interconnected cultures and languages of the ancient Mediterranean world, from the dawn of civilization in the Near East through Late Antiquity. We consider these societies and the literatures, religions, and artifacts they produced as of interest in and of themselves, while recognizing that they are sources of many modern practices, ideologies, and institutions. We also regard them as a reservoir of alternative modes of thought and community, and thus as a means of reflecting on the nature and problems of the modern world. We are committed to the study of antiquity because this contributes to understanding the present and preparing the future.
To understand the intellectual and cultural heritage of antiquity, we study original sources in original languages with the modern critical approaches of our disciplines. Much of our work is accordingly literary, philological, and historical in character. We also ask broader questions about ancient values, beliefs, and political and social structures, with particular attention to religious communities and convictions and their legacies.
The field of classical and Near Eastern religions and cultures is at the root of many varied disciplines and careers from law and communications to non-profit work and administration. Any career that requires the skills of careful, critical analysis, deep research and understanding of cultural systems, and insight into the motivations of a plurality of religious perspectives active in the world today will benefit from our courses and majors. Our professors offer a collegial and friendly yet academically rigorous environment where you can grow in these skills and bring them to your current situation and future work.