This track is for Classics PhD students who wish to specialize in the study of religion in antiquity. Students on this track will satisfy all the normal requirements for the Classics PhD, but some of their course requirements will follow the recommendations indicated below. There is no specific degree in the study of ancient religion, but students who complete the track will receive a Certificate of Religion in the Ancient World, authorized by the Classics Department.
NYU has a variety of resources for the study of the religions of antiquity and the academic study of religion in general. Several members of the Classics Department faculty have long-standing interests in ancient religions (Adam Becker, Joan Connelly, David Konstan, Barbara Kowalzig, and David Levene). The Religious Studies program, in which Prof. Becker holds a joint position, offers graduate courses primarily in contemporary critical theories of religion and social life, whereas NYU’s Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies offers a number of courses on Ancient Near Eastern, Israelite, Second-Temple, and Rabbinic history (Faculty members include Daniel Fleming, Alex Jassen, Jeffrey Rubenstein, Lawrence Schiffman, Mark Smith). The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) has several faculty members with an interest in ancient religion (e.g., Beate Pongratz-Leisten), and many of their weekly events feature topics drawn from the religious cultures of antiquity. There are additional faculty specializing in ancient religions in the consortium partner institutions, CUNY and Fordham University.
Courses: Students in the Religion in the Ancient World track are required to take four seminars: 1) a seminar in ancient religion taught in the Classics Department (usually by Prof. Kowalzig); 2) Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion (taught each fall in the Religious Studies Program); and 3) Two seminars focusing on religion elsewhere within the university or the consortium (based upon consultation with faculty advisor). The latter courses may count toward fulfilling the general Classics Department requirement that doctoral students take at least two courses outside the Classics Department.
Students may join the track at any point up to the beginning of the thesis prospectus (normally in the fifth semester). Students are advised to indicate their interest in the track upon application, but there are no reserved places, nor does a declaration of interest affect prospects of admission.