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History of Classics & Religious Studies

In 2003 the Classics Department became the Department of Classics & World Religions. The union of Classics with World Religions is based, in part, on a broadening of the conception of what classical civilizations are.

Classicists continue to teach and research the civilization of the ancient Mediterranean with an emphasis on the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. Study of the religious traditions of the ancient Mediterranean, including ancient Judaism and early Christianity, has always been part of the Classics curriculum.

Now the department also includes the study of cultures that embrace Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam outside of the Mediterranean basin.

The approach in each case includes three basic components: the study of language, arts, and material culture. The department's fundamental mission is to provide undergraduates the opportunity to study cultures and religions from a neutral, academic perspective, and thereby to explore basic humanistic issues.