History of Religion in Antiquity


1) Understand the connection between the time and space dimensions of the Oriental Ancient History and know how to analyze it both in a diachronic and synchronic perspective;
2) Learn the main and more recent historical interpretations about the Oriental Ancient History;
3) Identify and understand the main historical documents of the Oriental Ancient Civilizations;
4) Reveal a critical consciousness on how the religious phenomena and processes from nowadays connect and find their roots in the past;
5) Develop oral and written abilities to expose the different historical problems related to the History of Ancient Religions, using the correct concepts;
6) Learn the right know-how about the History of Ancient Religions, allowing a future specialization in the field.
7) Understand the particularities of the religious language.
8) Learn the different sides of the religious phenomena in Ancient History.
9) Understand the importance of the religious phenomena to the idiosyncrasy of the Ancien

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Cristina Gomes de Almeida


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





Black, Jeremy & Green, Anthony. (1998). Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. An Illustrated Dictionary. London: British Museum Press.
Bottéro, J. (1998) La plus vieille religion en Mésopotamie. Paris : Éditions Gallimard
Dalley, S. (2000) Myths from Mesopotamia- Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh and others. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sanmartín, J. & J. Serrano(2006) Historia Antigua del Próximo Oriente: Mesopotamia y Egipto. Madrid: Ediciones Akkal.
Walls Neal H. (ed.) (2005). Cult Image and Divine Representation in the Ancient Near East, Boston, American School of Oriental Research

Teaching method

Sessions are of a theoretical-practical nature, where the students must actively participate in the discussion of specific bibliography and sources (written, iconographic, and material).

Evaluation method

Two elements of written assessment, where the emphasis is on the analysis of specific topics through the interconnection of sources and specialized bibliography.

Subject matter

1. Studies of Religion: theoretical and methodological framework
1.1 The phenomenology of Religion: different academic perspectives
1.2 The theoretical and methodological apparatus of the History of Religions: concepts and methodologies

2. Religions in Antiquity - Western Asia
2.1 The historical context
2.2 What sources for the History of West Asian Religions?
2.3 Religion or Religions?
2.4 The organization of the divine universe

3. Conceptions of creation
3.1 The cosmogonic and theogonic processes
3.2 The anthropogony and the diluvian destruction
3.3 The vision of death
3.4 The different dimensions of human destiny

4. Cultic practices
1.1 Official religiosity: the great cultic festivals; temple practices
1.2 Religiosity and the royal institution: the ruler as high priest
1.3 Personal religiosity: agents and practices

5. The singularity of the divine
5.1 Monotheistic tendencies
5.2 The development of biblical monotheism.


Programs where the course is taught: