Religions of the Ancient Middle East Major

Program Director: Maxine Grossman, Ph.D.

The major in Religions of the Ancient Middle East (RAME) (30 cr) offers students the opportunity to explore the world out of which biblical Israel and ancient Judaism, Christianity, and early Islam emerged, as well as the wide array of other religious and cultural beliefs, practices, and institutions that flourished between about 1200 BCE/BC and 850 CE/AD. In Foundations courses students take at least one course that addresses a significant question about the nature of religion and religious change or the interplay of religious groups. In addition they must take two courses that survey two geographical, cultural, or chronological sub areas. In addition to Electives, all students take an interdisciplinary Capstone seminar, typically in their final year.

Language Track (min. 36 cr). Although there are no language requirements for the major, students who wish to incorporate ancient languages into their work are encouraged to pursue a language enhanced track. Students take six credits of language at the second year level as part of their major. They are also are expected to make use of their target languages in completing the research project for the Capstone course.

The University currently offers Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek. The number of credits per course varies by language. Other languages such as Aramaic, Akkadian, or Syriac taken through CourseShare or the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area may be substituted.

Note: Students pursuing the language track may need to take up to 12 credits in language prerequisites to attain the second year level.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental methodological, historical, and/or comparative approaches to the study of religion and culture in the ancient Near East and apply this understanding to specific relevant examples.
  2. Describe and illustrate the development of at least two chronological, geographical, or cultural subareas.
  3. Formulate and defend an argument about religion and culture in the ancient near east informed by the modern scholarship and amply illustrated with reference to ancient evidence.
  4. Language Track: Demonstrate the ability to use the languages they have studied as a tool for deep engagement with ancient source material.
Course Title Credits
One approved I-Series course3
Inventing Traditions: The Making of Rabbinic Judaism
What is Religion?
Jesus, Mani, and Muhammad: The Dynamics of New Religious Movements
Jerusalem in Antiquity: The History of Sacred Space in a Holy City
Three courses in two or more geographical, chronological, or cultural sub-areas9
Islamic Civilization
Introduction to the New Testament
Religions of the Ancient Near East
Jewish Texts and Cultures of the Second Temple Period
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
Electives (four must be at the upper level) 115
Archaeological Methods and Practice
The Ancient World
Early Christianity: Jesus to Constantine
Selected Topics in History (HIST428R: Transition to Islam: From the Ancient to the Medieval Muslim World)
Biblical History and Culture
Jews and Judaism in Antiquity I: Sixth Century BCE through the First Century CE
Jews and Judaism in Antiquity II: First through Seventh Century
Dead Sea Scrolls
Readings in the Hebrew Bible
Readings in Rabbinic Hebrew
Capstone Seminar for Religions of the Ancient Middle East
Total Credits30

Other courses by permission.


Language Track

  • Minimum six additional credits; minimum 36 credits total
  • Prerequisite: First year language (6-12 credits)
  • Six credits in Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, or other relevant language beyond the first year level
  • Note: Students who place directly into second year language or above need only complete six credits of language. The number of prerequisite language credits varies by language

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