This course presents an examination of the origins and early evolution of images of the afterlife among the ancient peoples of the Mediterranean basin and Near East. The course will focus on ancient Israelite, biblical, and early Jewish and Christian images. Later developments of these images within Western religions will also be discussed. Graduate-level requirements include more depth methodological issues related to the study of heaven and afterlife motifs as they appear in the cultures of the Mediterranean Basin in antiquity. Graduate students will meet as a group with the professor six times during the course of the semester. Moreover, each graduate student will meet individually with the professor four times during the semester to develop and write a 20-page term paper on a topic proposed by the student.
*This course is not offered every year.