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Fall Semester: Syllabus and Course Information
last revised 09/04/01

Click here for Spring Semester Syllabus


(Click here for Schedule)


Class Participation

This course offers an unbiased forum for you to delve into (and grapple with) some of the texts that have captured the Western imagination for up to 3000 years—and, in so doing, to forge your own intellectual identity as an educated person living in a Western culture.  This will only work if you (a) READ all the assigned texts attentively and on time, and (b) show up to every class session alert, enthusiastic, and ready to collaborate with your classmates in taking the text apart and inspecting it from numerous angles in order to figure out how it "works."

To help you stay motivated, class participation and preparation will account for 40% of your grade (see below); to meet minimum requirements, you should plan on speaking at least once in every class.

Online Discussion

To help you prepare for our in-class discussion, you must visit the class webpage at http://humanities.psydeshow.org before each class session, peruse any material I have placed here for your benefit, and contribute to the online discussion.  On your first visit to the website, when you click "Go To Discussion," you will be prompted to supply your name and a password.  Enter your name as you would like it to appear above your message, and a password that you can easily remember.  On future visits, this name and password will give you access to the discussion.  Only members of this class will have access, so that your ideas are not available to the larger Web community.

Your online discussion contribution (ODC) should suggest or develop a thought-provoking line of inquiry concerning a theme, motif or passage you feel would merit our collective consideration in class.  Be sure to submit your ODC no later than midnight before each class.  Your contribution must be specific, and explicitly linked to a particular passage or passages in the text, which you should refer to in your ODC.  Vague contributions with no textual backup will not be accepted.

To read more detailed guidelines for ODCs, click here.

Papers and Exams

In addition to the ODCs, you will be required to submit three papers of about 1000 words (4 double-spaced pages) each, and to sit a midterm and a final exam (see schedule for dates).

Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

Class participation 20%
Online discussion contributions 20%
Papers (together) 30%
Midterm exam 10%
Final exam 20%



A maximum of 3 unexcused absences is permitted.  Absences will be excused only in cases of genuine need and with advance notification.  Lateness is almost always avoidable, so please do your best to avoid it. 

All work submitted must be your own, and must be produced exclusively for this course.  Plagiarism is easier to detect than you may imagine, and carries gruesome penalties.  I strongly suggest that you acquaint yourself with the definitions and consequences of plagiarism described in your school bulletin in order to avoid inadvertent transgression.


(Click here for Course Info)

Tue. 4:              Iliad, 1-6
Thu. 6:              Iliad, 7-12 

Tue. 11:            Iliad, 13-18
Thu. 13:            Iliad, 19-24

Tue. 18:            Rosh HaShanah—NO CLASS
Thu. 20:            Hymn to Demeter
                        paper topics distributed                    

Tue. 25:            Odyssey, 1-8
Thu. 27:            Yom Kippur--NO CLASS
FRI. 28:          Papers due at noon, to my mailbox in 708 Hamilton

Tue. 2               Odyssey, 9-16
Thu. 4               Odyssey, 17-24

Tue. 9               Herodotus, I:1-140 (pp.3-58); II:1-5 (pp.86-88), 35-51 (pp.98-105),
                        112-120 (pp. 124-28); III:17-38 (161-169); IV:1-5 (pp.217-18),
59-80 (pp.233-41), 168- 197 (pp. 270-77); VII:1-239 (pp.372-450).
Note: Get started on this assignment early as it is very long (about 170pp.)!
Thu. 11:            Oresteia (Agamemnon only)

Tue. 16:            Oresteia (complete)
Thu. 18 :           Oedipus the King

Tue. 23:            Bacchae
THU. 25:         Midterm examination

Tue. 30:            Thucydides, pp. 35-87, 124-164


Thu. 1:              Thucydides, pp 194-245, 382-388, 400-408, 414-429, 447-449, 465-470, 525-537
aper topics distributed

Tue. 6:              University holiday
Thu. 8:              Frogs
FRI. 9:             Papers due at noon, to my mailbox in 708 Hamilton

Tue. 13:            Symposium
Thu. 15:            Symposium/Genesis (Ch. 1-3 only)

Tue. 21:            Genesis
Thu. 23:            Thanksgiving holiday

Tue. 27:            Exodus
Thu. 29:            Job
                        paper topics distributed

Tue. 4:              Matthew
Thu. 6:              John

MON. 10:       Papers due at noon, to my mailbox in 708 Hamilton

FRI. 14:          FINAL EXAM, 12.30-3.30 P.M.  (location tba)


Homer, Iliad, tr. Lattimore (University of Chicago)
Homer, Odyssey, tr. Lattimore (Harper)
The Homeric Hymns, tr. Athanassakis (Johns Hopkins)
Herodotus, Histories, tr. de Selincourt (Penguin)
Aeschylus I, tr. Lattimore (U. of Chicago)
Sophocles I, tr. Grene (U. of Chicago)
Euripides V, tr. Arrowsmith (U. of Chicago)
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, tr. Warner (Penguin)
Aristophanes, Frogs, tr. Lattimore (Meridian)
Plato, Symposium, trs. Nehamas, Woodruff (Hackett)
Bible, New Revised Standard (Oxford).

Recommended:  Diana Hacker, The Bedford Handbook for Writers.  This is the required text for Logic and Rhetoric, so you will be obliged to acquire it sometime this year in any case.  The comments I make concerning the mechanics of your papers will be based on, and keyed to, the guidelines set forth in this book, so it will behoove you to acquaint yourself to some extent with its contents before beginning to write.  (Besides, as writing manuals go, this one is pretty clear and easy to use.)


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