Great Debates


Course Objective


Course Content

What is the role for 'the East' in the formation of classical Greek
civilization? Is gender a useful category of historical analysis for the
ancient world? Many scholars assume that the split between Jews and
Christians that is often called "the parting of the ways" occurred nog
long after the destruction of Jerusalem (70 CE), but for some the ways
never parted. Why?

Each of these themes is topic of fierce debate between ancient
historians and archaeologists. These debates will be central to this
course. Using these debates, we will deal with methodical and
theoretical questions, and come to grips with the difficulties of
interpreting different types of source material. What are the
developments in a specific debate? Which definitions and what sort of
criteria are used? What are the reasons for stagnation of a debate and
what does it take to make progress again?

Teaching Methods

Seminar. Each debate will be discussed in three consecutive two-hour
sessions. Students are required to actively participate
throughpreparation of discussions, oral presentations and written
papers, and giving and receiving feedback on said presentations and
papers. On each debate a brief paper is written (of 2000 words).

Method of Assessment

Three written assignments (30% each) and an oral presentation (10%). As
a rule, individual assignments may not be resubmitted in order to obtain
a higher mark. Only if the final mark is between 5 and 6, the paper
which received the lowest mark may be resubmitted after revision; in
this case, however, the final mark can never exceed a 6.


Articles, book chapters, primary sources in translation (to be announced
during the course).

Target Audience

The course is obligatory for students from the master Ancient History
and Ancient Studies. Students of the other MA programs of ACASA
(Classics, Archaeology) can choose the course as an elective.

Custom Course Registration

This module is taught at the UvA by prof. dr. E.A. Hemelrijk (UvA), dr. M.E.S. Whiting (UvA) and dr. A. Prent (VU) (UvA subject code 172414006Y). Module registration with a UvaNetID at the UvA is required. Please note that course registration periods at the UvA and VU differ. For a ‘step-by-step guide to course and exam registration’ and the ‘dates for course and exam registration’ please consult the ‘course and exam registration’-page via the ‘A-Z list’ of your MA programme on

General Information

Course Code L_AAMAOHS038
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. E.A. Hemelrijk
Examiner prof. dr. E.A. Hemelrijk
Teaching Staff dr. A. Prent
prof. dr. E.A. Hemelrijk

Practical Information

You cannot register for this course yourself; your faculty's education office carries out registration

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: