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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This course introduces students to the history, the culture, the religion, and above all the thought of the ancient Greeks. The material for this course will consist almost entirely of primary sources, read closely in translation. Readings will be drawn from major historians, Homeric epics, classical tragedies and comedies, and Platonic dialogues. Themes may include the Greeks’ rich articulations of the relative merits and dangers of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy; the question of how far political life can be guided by human reason and what place religion should have in a healthy polity; the meaning of freedom; and the problem of justice.


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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This course will study masterworks of ancient Greek epic, tragedy, comedy, and philosophy, as they helped to forge a great civilization that in turn has shaped us, and as they open fundamental and enduring questions about the human condition.

 

We will begin with Homer’s epic of the Trojan War, the Iliad and its account of human nature, humans’ place in the cosmos, and the way humans are shaped by the struggles to come to terms with their mortality. We will explore in it the political themes of good and bad leadership, courage, honor, ambition, and justice. We will look at Homer’s surprisingly human gods, and his puzzling suggestions about the relationship between necessity, fate, divine power, and human freedom or moral responsibility. Through these explorations we will consider how Homer earned the epithet “educator of the Greeks,” and how his  heroes’ models of proud excellence and his own example of probing reflection may have helped foster the civilization that gave us both republican self-government and philosophy.

 

Next we will read dramas by the master tragedian Sophocles and the master comedian Aristophanes. In Sophocles’ Antigone we will explore the contest between political authority and piety instigated by a woman who chose to obey the gods rather than a human king. In Aristophanes’ Clouds we encounter Socrates, another rebel, whose pursuit of the truth brought him to be condemned for impiety and corruption of the youth by the city of Athens.

 

From there we turn to three dialogues of Plato’s: the Apology, in which Socrates defends his life of radical questioning before the jury of his fellow Athenians, the Euthyphro, an inquiry into the nature of piety that shows more of what is at stake in philosophic questioning, and the Gorgias, an inquiry into justice. Through these dialogues we will consider the challenge that philosophy posed to piety and to traditional notions of justice, and the ways in which political philosophy defended its claim to provide the best guidance for human life.


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)
show description

This course will study masterworks of ancient Greek epic, tragedy, comedy, and philosophy, as they helped to forge a great civilization that in turn has shaped us, and as they open fundamental and enduring questions about the human condition.

 

We will begin with Homer’s epic of the Trojan War, the Iliad and its account of human nature, humans’ place in the cosmos, and the way humans are shaped by the struggles to come to terms with their mortality. We will explore in it the political themes of good and bad leadership, courage, honor, ambition, and justice. We will look at Homer’s surprisingly human gods, and his puzzling suggestions about the relationship between necessity, fate, divine power, and human freedom or moral responsibility. Through these explorations we will consider how Homer earned the epithet “educator of the Greeks,” and how his  heroes’ models of proud excellence and his own example of probing reflection may have helped foster the civilization that gave us both republican self-government and philosophy.

 

Next we will read dramas by the master tragedian Sophocles and the master comedian Aristophanes. In Sophocles’ Antigone we will explore the contest between political authority and piety instigated by a woman who chose to obey the gods rather than a human king. In Aristophanes’ Clouds we encounter Socrates, another rebel, whose pursuit of the truth brought him to be condemned for impiety and corruption of the youth by the city of Athens.

 

From there we turn to three dialogues of Plato’s: the Apology, in which Socrates defends his life of radical questioning before the jury of his fellow Athenians, the Euthyphro, an inquiry into the nature of piety that shows more of what is at stake in philosophic questioning, and the Gorgias, an inquiry into justice. Through these dialogues we will consider the challenge that philosophy posed to piety and to traditional notions of justice, and the ways in which political philosophy defended its claim to provide the best guidance for human life.


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 is a course about human nature. We will be asking what human beings are, what they care most about, what they most deeply need and are moved by, and what the character is of their highest aspirations. We will consider what the features are of human nature that make human life both so rich and promising and so fraught with conflict. We will consider different accounts of where we came from, and of the potential that political life does or does not have to forge communities within which individuals can find happiness. We will examine in depth ideas of moral and social emancipation as well as reflections on the religious experience. Through all of this, we will consider what the answers to those questions suggest about how we should live, both individually and collectively.


CTI 304 • The Bible/Its Interpreters

30180 • Jones, Joshua
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM MEZ 1.208
GCWr (also listed as R S 315C)
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What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our
place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an
understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and
how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and
human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and
the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by
examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will
then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the
turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and their writings. The later
part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible
in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these
interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s
relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.


CTI 304 • The Bible/Its Interpreters

30185 • Dempsey, Erik
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.208
GCWr
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A study of basic religious texts, including both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, examined from various perspectives, with emphasis on the fundamental questions and ideas raised in those texts. The course seeks to develop a wide-ranging familiarity with the Jewish and Christian Bibles and with the dominant modes of ancient, medieval, and early modern biblical interpretation. Readings include an extensive range of primary sources, including both the Scriptures themselves and some of their most influential exegetes.


CTI 304 • The Bible/Its Interpreters

30190 • Dempsey, Erik
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM BEN 1.108
GCWr
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A study of basic religious texts, including both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, examined from various perspectives, with emphasis on the fundamental questions and ideas raised in those texts. The course seeks to develop a wide-ranging familiarity with the Jewish and Christian Bibles and with the dominant modes of ancient, medieval, and early modern biblical interpretation. Readings include an extensive range of primary sources, including both the Scriptures themselves and some of their most influential exegetes.


CTI 305G • Intro To The Old Testament

30194 • Wells, Bruce
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 203
GC (also listed as J S 311, MES 310C, R S 313C)
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This course will examine the biblical traditions and texts of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament as products of particular historical and cultural communitiesnamely, ancient Israel and Judahand as literary and religious documents. It will look at what we know about where the texts of the Hebrew Bible came from, who wrote them, why they were written, and what changes were made to them over time. The course will treat the texts as both pre-Jewish and pre-Christian, since the vast majority of them were written before Judaism and Christianity came into existence. The course will also consider how an understanding of ancient Near Eastern history and culture can illumine biblical texts, and it will ask to what degree these texts and their authors were influenced by historical and cultural factors.


CTI 306D • History Of Religions Of Asia

30195 • Freiberger, Oliver
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM CPE 2.214
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.

 

Grading:

  • 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 344D • Dante-Wb

30245 • Raffa, Guy
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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 (http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/): 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
EWr VP
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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
EWr VP
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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 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.


Texts:
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


Requirements:
• 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?
 
Texts:
• Jürgen Neffe, Einstein: A Biography (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009).
• various articles and handouts
 
Assignments:
• 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.
 
Grading:
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 371N • Newton's Principia

30285 • Herd, Van
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM ART 1.110
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The heart of this course will be a close reading of key sections of Newton's Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis. The publication of Newton's Principia in 1687 marks a seminal moment in the history of science. In this course, not only will we follow step-by-step the extraordinary course of Newton's "central argument;" we will throughout the semester discuss such philosophical and historical questions as: the nature of motion, the fundamental differences between ancient and modern mathematics, the changing meaning of "physics" from Aristotle to Galileo to Newton, the mathematical uses of infinity and infinitesimals, the ideas of "laws of nature," "hypotheses," "causes," "rules of philosophizing," the concepts of space, force, inertia, instantaneous velocity, etc., and the problem of action at a distance. By the end of this course you will have mastered the fundamental ideas and methods of one of the greatest minds in the history of Western thought.


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 SZB 3.814
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.