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The archaeology of ancient religions: Paganism, Judaism, Christianity


Admission requirements

Bachelor obtained


In 2013 Blackwell will publish a Companion Handbook on The Archaeology of Roman religion while simultaneously Oxford UP will present an Encyclopaedia of Bible and Archaeology. This shows that, apparently, for scholars of ancient religion archaeology is a special category. At the same time, religion is an important framework of interpretation for all archaeologists; and one they tend to struggle with. In this course we will bring archaeology and religion together and approach the subject from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, mainly focussing on the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The first part of the course will provide the student with some important (theoretical) debates in the field, presented on the basis of detailed case studies by national and international specialists. The second part of the course will focus on the eastern Mediterranean in particular and pay attention to, amongst other themes, the interaction between Judaism and Hellenism, the Jewish diaspora and nascent Early Christian material culture.

Course objectives

  • Understanding of the theoretical questions involved when studying ancient religions on the basis of material culture; – Knowledge of and insight in the selected case studies presented in the class; – Independent research on a specific topic, related to the theme of the course.


See Time table

Mode of instruction

Lecture and assignments (including presentations by students)

Assessment method

Lecture, presentation and assignment

Assignments need to have been handed in by the start of the next block


Yes, Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

To be announced


Via uSis
In addition to the registration in uSis, students are also expected to self-enroll in blackboard a few weeks before the course starts.
To sign up for the class contact course leader Prof. dr. J.K. Zangenberg

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Prof. dr. Jürgen K. Zangenberg, Institute for Religious Studies