POL-435:   Ancient and Medieval Political Theory

    This course surveys the great ideas in Western political philosophy from about 500 BCE to about 1500.  We discuss issues related to ultimate authority, justice, human nature, humans' capacity to reason, and the role of women, among others.  We also apply all of these ideas to contemporary controversies, proving that while humans don't live forever, ideas can!

    During the course, students analyze a specific text by reading a philosopher's original works as well as material by critical interpreters.

    Ancient and Medieval Political Theory is offered approximately every two years.  It fulfills the Political Theory requirement for Political Science majors and minors. It is a Writing Emphasis course.

Political Philosophy Links

    Comprehensive set of links from Peter Suber of Earlham College
    Information, links and commentary from  Garth Kemerling of Newberry College (and an Iowa Ph.D. to boot)
    Ancient History Sourcebook at Fordham Univ
    Medieval History Sourcebook at Fordham Univ
    A couple of web sites on Islamic philosophy 1 2
    Journal of the History of Philosophy (available from Coe computers only, because Stewart Memorial Library subscribes to Project Muse)
    Philosophy and Public Affairs (ditto)
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a work in progress, but has entries on Aquinas among others
    Busy but impressive page on Aristotle
    University of Texas Cicero page

Course Outline (Fall 2013)

Required Texts
    R. Crumb, The Book of Genesis Illustrated (Norton, 2009)
    [CPT] Peter J. Steinberger (ed), Readings in Classical Political Thought (Hackett, 2000)
   Burton Weston (ed), The Analects of Confucius

Reading Assignments


       Hesiod (c. 700 BCE), "Theogony" and "Works and Days" [CPT 10-13]
       Solon of Athens (c. 640-560 BCE), selections [CPT 14-15]
       The Book of Genesis chs 1-25
       The Book of Genesis chs 26-50
       Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 540-480 BCE), selection [CPT 20]
       Protagoras (c. 490-420 BCE), selection [CPT 20-21]
       Antiphon (c. 480-411 BCE), selection [CPT 26]
       "The Anonymus Iamblichi," selection [CPT 26-28]

       Confucius (551-479 BCE) on humaneness, The Analects (selections)
        Confucius on governing, The Analects (selections)
        Confucius on living under government, The Analects (selections)    

       Thucydides (c. 460-399 BCE), History of the Peloponnesian War 1 & 2 (excerpts) [CPT 35-47]
       Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 3 & 5 (excerpts) [CPT 47-58]
       Aeschylus (525-456 BCE), "The Furies" [CPT 62-78]
       Plato (427-347 BCE), The Apology
[CPT 147-159]
       Plato, The Republic 1 [CPT 166-181]
       Plato, The Republic 4 [CPT 211-229]
       Plato, The Republic 5 [CPT 229-246]
       Aristotle (384-322 BCE), The Politics I & II (excerpts) [CPT 377-394]
       Aristotle, The Politics III & IV (excerpts) [CPT 394-405]
       Aristotle, The Politics VIII [CPT 436-442]


       The Gospel According to Mark  (c. 65 CE)      
        Paul (3-66), Letter to the Galatians (c. 55)
        The Letter of James (c. 100?)
       Tertullian (c. 160-225), Apologeticum selections
        Augustine (354-430), The City of God (excerpts) [CPT 463-474]
        Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Summa Theologica Qu. 90-93 [CPT 508-524]
       Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica Qu. 94-97 [CPT 524-542]

Next course:   Modern Political Theory

Last course:   Contemporary Political Theory

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Last update 3/7/13