The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

CTI 301G • Intro To Ancient Greece

30160 • Gulizio, Joann
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM FAC 21
GC VP (also listed as C C 301)
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CTI 301G • Intro To Ancient Greece

30165 • Pangle, Lorraine
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM MEZ 1.202
GC VP (also listed as C C 301)
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CTI 301G • Intro To Ancient Greece

30155 • Pangle, Lorraine
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM RLP 1.102
GC VP (also listed as C C 301)
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CTI 301G • Intro To Ancient Greece-Wb

30170 • Internet; Asynchronous
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To be canceled

CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thought

30175 • Viroli, Maurizio
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RLP 1.104
SB (also listed as GOV 314E)
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This course explores the changing role of human psychology in the history of political thought through the study of classic texts in philosophy and psychology. In roughly chronological order, we will examine several key philosophers’ accounts of the deepest human concerns—justice, happiness, and love—and the potential political life has to fulfill those yearnings. In the final part of the course, we will study Darwin’s evolutionary theory of human mental faculties in The Descent of Man, Freud’s theory of unconscious psychological drives, and current theories of evolutionary psychology. We will discuss how these different views of human nature suggest different approaches to politics and ethics.

We will read selections from the following works:

  • Plato The Republic, The Symposium 
  • St. Augustine: The Confessions, City of God 
  • Hobbes The Leviathan 
  • Rousseau Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  • Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil
  • Darwin The Descent of Man 
  • Freud Civilization and its Discontents
  • And selected articles on evolutionary psychology


CTI 304 • The Bible/Its Interpreters

30180 • Jones, Joshua
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM MEZ 1.208
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CTI 304 • The Bible/Its Interpreters

30185 • Dempsey, Erik
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.208
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CTI 304 • The Bible/Its Interpreters

30190 • Dempsey, Erik
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM BEN 1.108
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CTI 306D • History Of Religions Of Asia

30195 • Freiberger, Oliver
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM UTC 3.134
GC (also listed as ANS 301R, R S 302)
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This course offers a survey of the major religious traditions of Asia (Hinduism, Buddhism in South and East Asia, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto). It focuses on the historical development of their beliefs, practices, rituals, and customs in social context. The course will combine lectures with class discussions on readings.



  • Attendance/participation: 20%
  • Two quizzes: 20% (10% each)
  • Two short essays: 20% (10% each)
  • Midterm exam: 20%
  • Final exam: 20%

CTI 310 • Intro To Philos Of Religion

30200 • Del Rio, Andrew
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM JES A216A
(also listed as PHL 305)
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CTI 327D • Hist Of Rome: The Republic

30215-30230 • Riggsby, Andrew
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 201
GC (also listed as AHC 325, HIS 321M)
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Covers the period from Rome's foundation through Caesar's murder in 44 B.C.  The emphasis placed on the last two centuries of the Republic when problems accumulated and solutions did not.  All the factors contributing to the Republic's fall will discussed:  political, military, social, economic, religious, etc.

Carries the Global Cultures flag and fulfills the Cultural Expression, Human Experience, & Thought course area requirement.

CTI 344 • Epics And Heroes Of India

30240 • Talbot, Cynthia
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM GAR 3.116
GCWr (also listed as AHC 330, ANS 373G, HIS 350L)
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This undergraduate seminar focuses on India's classical epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.  Although they originated in ancient times, these two captivating narratives have been retold in different languages and formats over the centuries, including most recently in the form of TV serials and graphic novels.  Among the topics to be explored are the martial ethos of ancient India, the complexities of dharma, the ideology of kingship, traditional gender norms, the recent politicization of the Ramayana, and the use of the epics to counter social and gender hierarchy.  Students will read abbreviated versions of the epics along with excerpts from various translations of the complete narratives; they will also be exposed to other primary sources including paintings, traditional theatrical performances, and modern films and TV shows.

1) Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan, The Mahabharata
2) Gurcharan Das, The Difficulty of Being Good
3) R. K. Narayan, The Ramayana
4) Numerous articles and essays provided on Canvas.

reading responses (6 x 5% each) = 30%; analytical essays (2 x 25% each) = 50 %; film review = 5%; attendance & participation = 15%

CTI 344D • Dante

30245 • Raffa, Guy
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BEN 1.108
GCWr (also listed as E 366D, EUS 347, ITC 348)
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The Divine Comedy offers a remarkable panorama of the late Middle Ages through one man's poetic vision of the afterlife. However, we continue to read and study the poem not only to learn about the thought and culture of medieval and early modern Europe but also because many of the issues confronting Dante and his age are no less important to individuals and societies today. Personal and civic responsibilities, governmental accountability, church-state relations, economics and social justice, Dante's influence on artists and other writers, benefits and limitations of interdisciplinarity—these are some of the themes that will frame our discussion of the Divine Comedy. Although you will read the poem in English, a bilingual edition will enable you to study and learn famous lines in the original Italian. The course is taught in English and contains flags for Writing and Global Cultures.

Danteworlds ( In addition to detailed entries, audio recordings, and study questions, this Web site contains hundreds of images from works by Sandro Botticelli, an anonymous 16th-century artist, John Flaxman, William Blake, Gustave Dorè, and Suloni Robertson.

Through close reading, class discussion, and the use of Danteworlds, you are expected to identify and explain the significance of major characters, references, and ideas in Dante's Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise) and Vita Nuova. You will be tested on this ability in responses to study questions (a low-stakes writing assignment) and two in-class exams. An essay, which you will rewrite and expand based on my feedback, will assess your ability to support an interpretation of a specific aspect of Dante's poetry with detailed textual analysis and scholarly research. A peer-editing activity will help you to revise and edit your own work. I expect you to have read the assigned cantos and reviewed the corresponding material in Danteworlds (including the study questions) before class.

CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

30255 • Lang, Elon
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM MEZ 2.122
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Studies major tragedies, comedies, and historical plays from various epochs, including at least one of Shakespeare's plays. Explores themes related to ethics, politics, and human nature, as well as the craft of the playwright. Students attend and discuss at least one play performance.

CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

30250 • Lang, Elon
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM MEZ 1.208
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Studies major tragedies, comedies, and historical plays from various epochs, including at least one of Shakespeare's plays. Explores themes related to ethics, politics, and human nature, as well as the craft of the playwright. Students attend and discuss at least one play performance.

CTI 354L • Law/Justice In The Bible

30274 • Wells, Bruce
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GEA 114
GC (also listed as J S 363, MES 342, R S 353K)
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This course examines the legal traditions of the Torah (Pentateuch) and what they reveal about the practice of law and justice in ancient Israel and the wider biblical world. It then explores the law and legal systems of the broader ancient Near East in order to see how the biblical traditions relate to ideas and practices attested in other societies in the region.Theories concerning ethics and justicewill also be used to provide context for understanding conceptions oflaw and justice in the ancient worldand especially in the Hebrew Bible. Legal topics such as marriage, family structures, litigation, debt, slavery, homicide, theft, false accusation, contracts, and other matters will be examined. The course acquaints students with how various biblical traditions developed over time to form the foundation for later rabbinic and Christian ethical thought.

CTI 363 • French Revolution/Napoleon

30275 • Coffin, Judith
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM JGB 2.218
GC (also listed as EUS 346, HIS 353)
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The French revolution is one of the most famous events in global history. We have still not resolved the fundamental questions it raises. Why does a regime collapse? How is a new state built? Why are some revolutions peaceful while others become protracted and violent? The human drama of this tumultuous decade and a half is irresistible. How were extraordinary careers made and then lost? How did people take sides? How did ordinary people survive?We will use the French revolution to think about all these questions concretely.

We have three aims. The first is to master the major developments of the revolution itself. The second is to understand how those events have produced classic political arguments about the conditions for democracy, the sources of rights, and the process of historical change.  Third, we consider how the revolution has shaped the world, and how it compares with other revolutions, including ones going on right now.

Rousseau, The Social Contract
William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short History
Timothy Tackett, When the King Took Flight
Timothy Tackett, The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution or R.R. Palmer, 12 Who Ruled.
David Bell, Napoleon, A Biography

• 2 4-5 page take home papers (25% each)  (total 50% of grade**)
• 1 comprehensive test (25%)
• group political club assignments (25%).

CTI 371 • Einstein In Age Of Conflict

30280 • Martinez, Alberto
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 0.132
IIWr (also listed as HIS 350L)
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While age-old scientific concepts were being overturned by eccentric physicists, Europe was torn apart by wars of unprecedented scale. This history course analyzes these developments, examining the rise of the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics against the stage of international political upheavals. Following the life of Albert Einstein, the course focuses on conceptual developments (from the 1880s through the 1940s) and intellectual conflicts. It also studies the lives of physicists such as Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, in the context of changing cultural and political environments. We'll read and discuss various materials: manuscripts, letters, accounts by historians, physicists, essays, and even secret transcripts of controversial conversations. The material will be understandable even to students with no significant background in physics. Among the topics involved are the following: What was Einstein's personal life? How did relativity and the quantum clash with earlier conceptions of nature? Why did physics become so apparently difficult to understand? In Europe and America, how did scientists behave in times of international catastrophe? How were the academic and social orders affected by the development of nuclear weapons?
• Jürgen Neffe, Einstein: A Biography (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009).
• various articles and handouts
• Two reading reaction essays, of 650 words each.  
• Final Research Paper, of at least 2000 words. A draft of the introduction or outline of the Research Paper will be expected 3 weeks before the final due date; for critical feedback. The subject of the final Research Paper will be designed by each student under advisement with the Instructor. The writing assignments will equal 50% of the grade for the course.
Class participation                            10%
Writing Assignments & Quizzes        30%                
Subject Comprehension Exam         30%                
Final Research Paper                       30%                

minus absences     – 0.5 course points per unexcused absence.

CTI 373 • Great Works In Medicine

30290 • Curtis, Todd
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 0.122
EWr (also listed as AHC 330)
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Great Works in the History of Medicine

This course is part of the Thomas Jefferson Center’s Core Texts and Ideas (CTI) program. In keeping with the spirit of Mortimer Adler's Great Books of the Western World and Charles William Eliot's Harvard Universal Classics, this course will thematically examine signature works in the history of medicine. There are numerous reasons for using the great books approach to teaching the history of medicine. In addition to providing professional inspiration, sense of continuity with the past, and an awareness of medicine's unique role in society, this approach can foster a healthy sense of skepticism about the content and durability of medical dogma allowing students to think more critically about the principles and practices of medicine. The great books in the history of medicine provide numerous examples of why one should be prepared to question long-standing views for the sake of progress. Furthermore, the history of medicine can be a "kindly, useful mentor" which not only provides a forum for meaningful exchanges between physicians and historians, but also allows both groups a means to link historical knowledge to contemporary issues in order to reform medicine and bring about change in public policy. The approach taken in this class will be of great use to pre-med students and to students interested in international and public health.

To better understand the unique implications of the different areas of medicine, each week will entail reading a signature work that is representative of a key topic in the history of medicine (e.g. pharmacology, pathology, anatomy, surgery). After performing an analytical reading of the text with respect to its historical context, students will focus on discovering ethical principles in the text that can be used for modern applications.

Flags: The course carries an Ethics Flag and a Writing Flag. Assessment: One long and two short research papers, graded in-class writing activities. No final. Readings: Jacalyn Duffin, History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction, 2010 ISBN 978-0802095565; all other readings will be available on CANVAS or through the library’s electronic resources.

CTI 375 • Archaic/Classical Greece

30310-30320 • Campa, Naomi
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 0.104
GCWr (also listed as AHC 325, HIS 354E)
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This course covers Greek history during the Archaic and Classical Periods, from the rise of Greek city-states and the first examples of Greek writing and literature (ca. 800 BCE) to the subordination of Greece under Philip II of Macedonia in 338 BCE. The course will devote roughly equal time to covering major events and personalities, exploring key developments in culture and society, and examining the various types of evidence available for the era (literary, epigraphic, and archeological sources). After looking at the geography and ‘prehistory’ of Greece (including the Bronze Age and Dark Age), we will cover major developments such as the rise of the polis and the first forms of democracy, the invention of the Greek alphabet, the introduction of hoplite warfare, and the diaspora of Greeks in the Mediterranean. Then we will focus on the two most famous city-states of Greece, Athens and Sparta, and follow their trajectories through the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the complex period of unstable hegemonies in the first half of the 4th century until Philip II of Macedonia was able established his control over Greece.
The course will consist of two hours of lecture per week plus a required one-hour discussion section. The two lectures will combine historical outline with the exploration of specific themes and problems, such as systems of government, social structures, economy, culture, religion, and war, while the discussion sections will be focused on how to analyze and interpret ancient sources.

This course carries the Global Cultures flag.