History of Religions (i) SC (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Attilio Mastrocinque, Federico Barbierato
Attilio Mastrocinque
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A dal Feb 18, 2019 al Mar 30, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The teaching activities are aimed at improving the knowledge of several important topics concerning the relationship between religion and society. First of all, the terminology definig different aspects of religion and cults will be clarified. Then an analysis of documents concerning behaviours, beliefs and doctrines in religions will be carried out and also interrelationships between different cults or religions in both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective will be taken into account.
Students will be encouraged to approach with a critical method different aspects of religion and opinions expressed by different societies concerning them. For this purpose students will study series of texts and documents describing rituals and beliefs.
The studied documents will mostly refer to the European societies from the antiquity to the Modern Age and therefore students will obtain a diachronic view of phenomena and will evaluate the different ways of dealing with important religious phenomena in time and among different cultures. Students should be enabled to evaluate autonomously the documents taken into account and to deem their historical reliability.
Students should improve their communication skill by expressing their opinions on questions which the course raises and by receiving directions and answers from the teachers about how to shape their presentation. Their learning skill shold be improved, as well, thanks to an interaction between a critical reading of texts and the study of related iconographies.
At the end of the course students should be able to understand the most important problems discussed in the classes, to analyse in a critical way the discussed texts and iconographies, to distinguish facts from opinions, and to present their arguments according to a logical sequence, clearly, and on the basis of documents.


The course is divided into two parts. The first - held by Prof. Mastrocinque - will be dedicated to the Ancient history while the second - held by Prof. Barbierato - to the Medieval and Early Modern Ages.
The first one consists of the frontal lessons, with the passages of authors and documents read and commented on during the course, as well as the iconographies presented in the lesson. Some lessons will be devoted to the study of Irenaeus of Lyon, Contro le eresie. (Ireneo di Lione, Contro le eresie e gli altri scritti, Milano, Jaca Book, 1997, oppure Contro le eresie, I-II, ed. A.Cosentino, Roma 2009; an English translation of the work will be put online and some important passages will be commented in class).
In the second part the articulation of the "heretical" movements and the responses of the Church of Rome between the medieval and modern ages will be examined. The reference text will be P.G. Wallace, La lunga età della Riforma, il Mulino, Bologna, 2006.
The study of the texts indicated should be completed with a manual on the history of religions: G. Sfameni Gasparro, Introduzione alla storia delle religioni, Roma - Bari : Laterza , 2011

Further readings (not mandatory):
H. Jonas, Lo Gnosticismo, Società Editrice Internazionale, Torino 1958 (ristampato da Feltrinelli)
L. Felici, La riforma protestante nell’Europa del Cinquecento, Roma 2016.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Ireneo di Lione Contro le eresie La Città Nuova 2009 9788831182072
Giulia Sfameni Gasparro Introduzione alla storia delle religioni Laterza 2011
P.G. Wallace La lunga età della Riforma Il Mulino 2006 8815110038

Assessment methods and criteria

The didactic activity related to the ancient history consists of frontal lessons, dedicated to the themes described above; it is based on a series of powerpoints on which students will be provided with images of archaeological nature and texts. This material will the subject of the lessons. The materials presented in class will be uploaded on the website in time to be used in class. The powerpoints, texts and recordings of the lessons will be available, as far as possible in their entirety, in E-Learning at the end of the course. The lessons related to the Medieval and Early Modern Ages will have a seminar character and will focus on documents distributed by the teacher.
Students who cannot attend one or more lessons can prepare for the exam through the recorded lessons and the images that will be available on the E-learning site of the University of Verona. Students who do not attend are nevertheless invited to contact the teachers.
Assessment procedure: Questions will be posed in order to ascertain what learning and knowing level is reached. Eventually, questions could go further in deep by focussing on texts and/or monuments discussed during the course.