REMgr21 Saints and Holy (Wo)Men in Byzantine Literature and Art

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2020
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Teacher(s)
Christodoulos Papavarnavas, Ph.D. (lecturer), doc. Mgr. et Mgr. Markéta Kulhánková, Ph.D. (deputy)
doc. Mgr. et Mgr. Markéta Kulhánková, Ph.D. (assistant)
Guaranteed by
doc. Mgr. et Mgr. Markéta Kulhánková, Ph.D.
Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Jitka Erlebachová
Supplier department: Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Timetable
each odd Tuesday 12:00–15:40 A24
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 15 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
In the Christian world of Byzantium, the veneration of saints and holy persons was an integral part of everyday life. This course will introduce students to the Byzantine concept of sanctity through the examination of depictions of saints and holy (wo)men in hagiographical texts (saints’ Lives), manuscript illustrations, icons, wall paintings and other cult objects. Saints’ Lives (vitae) vividly describe various episodes of the life of holy persons and endeavour to sketch the holiness of the protagonists, while other cult objects mostly relate to only some specific and characteristic episodes of their life. Each unit will deal with a different type of saint: the martyr, the hermit, the monk and nun, the holy emperor or empress, as well as the exotic ascetics such as the holy stylite, the holy fool and the cross-dressing nun. The selected texts will be read in English translation. All topics will be investigated from several aspects based on critical theories of narrative, gender, performance, space, emotions and the senses.
Learning outcomes
By the end of the course, students will be familiar with Byzantine literature and art devoted to saints and holy persons, be aware of the characteristics and peculiarities of the most important types of saints (martyrs, ascetics, monks, emperors) in Byzantium as depicted in texts and other cult objects, have read and gained a better understanding of Byzantine hagiographical narratives (in English translation), have critically engaged with textual and non-textual Byzantine sources of Byzantium through close reading, analysis and interpretation.
Syllabus
  • 1.Introduction to Byzantine Literature and Art devoted to Saints and Holy (Wo)Men
  • 2. Sanctity through Martyrdom: Male and Female Martyrs
  • 3. The World of the Desert: Male and Female Hermits
  • 4. The Life on Pillars and in Monasteries: Ascetics, Monks and Nuns
  • 5. Secret Holiness: Cross-Dressing Nuns and Holy Fools
  • 6. Imperial Sanctity: Holy Emperors and Empresses
Literature
  • The Ashgate research companion to Byzantine hagiography. Edited by Stephanos Efthymiadis. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. xix, 512. ISBN 9781472404152. info
  • HATZAKI, Myrto. Beauty and the male body in Byzantium : perceptions and representations in art and text. First published. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. x, 196. ISBN 9780230007154. info
  • S. CONSTANTINOU, Female Corporeal Performances: Reading the Body in Byzantine Passions and Lives of Holy Women (= Studia Byzantina Upsaliensia, 9), Uppsala 2005.
  • Further bibliography will be announced in the course of each thematic unit.
Teaching methods
Communication of background knowledge and scientific tools.
Examination of texts and objects related to the topic.
Lecture and discussion with the students.
Assessment methods
40% Participation in the in-class discussion on the basis of preparatory readings. Each session includes mandatory readings that will be discussed and analysed in the class.
60% Final written examination. The participants are expected to answer questions related to the topics discussed during the course.
Language of instruction
English
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught only once.

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