Sunday, July 16, 2023

Review: Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean WorldReligion in the Ancient Mediterranean World by Glenn S. Holland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is sweeping overview of the various religious traditions and ideas of the ancient Mediterranean. Holland covers Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Israelite, Greek and Roman religions, and then early Christianity. For each area, Holland sets up the various historical, archeological, and political contexts. Holland also finds ways to connect each of these periods/areas to each other, but without overdoing it either (he doesn't try to create some grand narrative, he's more or less pointing out similarities and differences and possible points of influence).

The course is quite useful as a general survey. Anyone looking for in-depth analysis, dissection, or critical analysis will be disappointed. But this is generally the case with Teaching Company courses. They are great surveys, giving you the context of knowledge to then dive deeper on your own. This course is the same: Holland's course provides the basis for one to pursue further research in any of these areas. But it is also good for someone who is just looking for the 10000 foot view.

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