Below are descriptions for selected courses. For information about locations and professors, see the Academic Timetable.


Courses offered 2013-14

CLAS 5030X: Seminar on Latin Literature I: Augustan Poetry & Prose (full year)

Dr. P. O'Brien
MWF 13:35–14:25
McCain 2170

A study of selected texts of poetry and prose with an emphasis on the Augustan period. Authors studied may include Virgil, Ovid and Livy, among others. The class is primarily intended to strengthen students' command of Latin language, but attention is given to literary and historical matters as well.

CLAS 5034X: Seminar on Greek Literature (full year)

This course is designed to strengthen the student’s command of Ancient Greek by reading selected passages of continuous prose and poetry. In the first term, we will read Plato’s Symposium; in the second term, we will read Euripides’ Bacchae (these texts change from year to year). The overwhelming focus of the course will be on translation, reviewing grammatical concepts and syntax, and acquiring vocabulary. We will, however, devote some time to discussing questions about the content and style of the works. Students will be tested periodically on translation, as well as their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.


CLAS 5540: Ammianus and his World

Dr. P. O'Brien
T 13:35–16:25
McCain 2017

This course approaches the history and culture of the fourth century AD through its most important historian, Ammianus Marcellinus. The course will focus on (but not be limited to) a careful study of Books 14-25 of the Res Gestae, which span the reign of Ammianus' hero, Julian the Apostate.

CLAS 5818: Christian Theology in Islamic Lands: John of Damascus

Dr. A. Treiger
W 11:35–14:25

John of Damascus (d. 749) is one of the greatest Christian theologians of the Patristic age. Though he wrote in Greek, he was a Christian Arab (his Arabic name is Mansur ibn Sarjun), who lived under Muslim rule and was employed as a public official in the Umayyad administration in Damascus. The course will focus on his theological works (especially his summa of Christian theology, entitled On the Orthodox Faith, and his three treatises in defence of the icons), their Christian sources, and their Islamic context.

CLAS 5613: Plato: Love and Friendship

Through a careful study of a representative selection of Platonic dialogues, we will be striving to get an overall sense of the Platonic philosophy. We will be focusing on the topic of love and human happiness, through a reading of Lysis, Symposium, Phaedrus and Philebus. The class concludes through reflecting on some of these themes in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.

CLAS 5021: Sophocles

Dr. L. MacLeod
T 12:35–15:25
McCain 2132

CLAS 5042: Seneca's "De Clementia"

Dr. M. Fournier
T 16:05–18:55
McCain 2118

CLAS 5819: Philo Judaeus (Plato & Moses)

Dr. W. Hankey
W 19:05–21:55
McCain 1184

Reconciling Jewish Scripture and Plato, Philo culminates Second Temple Jewish thought and founds the Christian treatment of Scripture. He is the most influential Jewish theologian and presents the High Priest as priest of the cosmos, so he is crucial both to understand our past and to carry us into the future.


Courses offered 2012-13

CLAS 5040: A Study of Virgil

A study of the development and importance of Virgil's basic themes and ideas embodied in the Aeneid. In the first part of the class, special attention is given to his early work, the Bucolics, where his themes begin to appear; their development is then followed through the relevant parts of the Georgics. The main part of the class is devoted to the reading and discussion of the chief themes of the Aeneid, especially as they illustrate Roman political, religious and social ideas that have greatly influenced our own beliefs and institutions.

CLAS 5034: Seminar on Greek Literature

Dr. L. MacLeod
R 12:35-15:25


CLAS 5107: Homer’s Odyssey

No description available.

CLAS 5556: Ovid

No description available.

CLAS 5602: Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Through a careful study of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, we will be striving to get a sense of the aim and structure of this treatise’s argument. The main goal of the course is to understand what is Aristotelian ‘first philosophy,’ and what is its relation to the other branches of Aristotelian science? We will occasionally read relevant passages from other Aristotelian treatises, but only as a way to clarify the Metaphysics. Though there will be some consideration of the commentary tradition as well as more recent secondary literature on Metaphysics, the overwhelming focus will be on grasping Aristotle’s science of being qua being in itself and in relation to his teacher Plato.

CLAS 5701: Medieval Interpreters of Aristotle: Aquinas on Knowing and Not Knowing God

This course considers Latin philosophical texts of the Middle Ages. Recently, the course worked through the first 45 questions of Aquinas, Summa Theologiae in light of W.J. Hankey’s God in Himself, Aquinas’ Doctrine of God as Expounded in the Summa Theologiae, Oxford Theological Monographs/Oxford Scholarly Classics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987/2000), and his subsequent research on Aquinas published or delivered in lectures or conference papers.

Other courses taught recently

CLAS 5021: Reading and Research in Greek Literature 1: Euripides

The topic for this course changes from year to year; consult the department.

CLAS 5041: Medieval Interpreters of Aristotle: Aquinas and Eckhart

No description available.

CLAS 5041: Boethius

No description available.

CLAS 5060: Boethius and Prosimetrum: Poetry and Prose in the Consolation of Philosophy

Boethius’ Consolation is a strange example of Menippean satire, which is itself a strange genre. This class will consider the poetry, the prose and, most significantly, how these elements are combined in order to achieve the goal of the work, which is to offer consolation to the reader.

CLAS 5555: Reading and Research in Ancient History II: Catullus

No description available.

CLAS 5602: Aristotle’s De Anima

No description available.

CLAS 5602: Aristotle’s Practical Philosophy

This class will study Aristotle’s practical philosophy (Ethics and Politics) in relation to his philosophy as a whole. In particular, we will consider practical philosophy relative to first philosophy (ontology/theology) and second philosophy (philosophy of nature), in order to discover how the human being stands relative to divinity and the cosmos. The central texts of the course will be the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, but we will also read Eudemian Ethics, as well as significant portions of Categories, Metaphysics, De Anima, Physics, De Motu Animalium, Rhetoric, De Caelo, On Generation and Corruption. Though there will be some consideration of the commentary tradition on the Ethics and Politics, the overwhelming focus will be on grasping Aristotle’s thought in itself and in relation to his teacher Plato.

CLAS 5603: Plato: Republic and Timaeus

This class is devoted to understanding two of Plato’s most important dialogues: Republic and Timaeus. We will be considering why Plato connects these two dialogues dramatically, and whether there is any change in philosophical doctrine from Republic to Timaeus.

CLAS 5603 - The Dialogues of Plato

Through a careful study of a representative selection of Platonic dialogues, we will be striving to get an overall sense of the Platonic philosophy. The first half of the course is largely devoted to what are called the early and middle dialogues (Phaedrus, Lysis, Charmides, Protagoras, Phaedo, Symposium) while most of the second half will be devoted to the late dialogues (Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman, Philebus).

CLAS 5605: Neoplatonism: The Self and Mysticism

The philosophy of Plotinus and later thinkers is considered as the resume of Greek philosophy; in particular the role of Plato and other older philosophers in the formation of Neoplatonism is a principal interest.

CLAS 5605: Neoplatonism: Providence in Plotinus, Proclus, and Boethius

No specific description available.  

CLAS 5605: Plato and Neoplatonism

No specific description available.

CLAS 5701: Medieval Interpreters of Aristotle: Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed

No specific description available.

CLAS 5705: St Augustine’s Confessions

A study of the three parts of Augustine's Confessions with a view to understanding his dissatisfaction with the various positions he adopted prior to his conversion to Christianity (Part 1); the practical consequences of this conversion (Part II); and the new theoretical understanding of time, space and motion which come out of his Trinitarian exegesis of the first chapters of Genesis (Part III). This class presupposes some knowledge of the history of ancient philosophy, and some of Latin.