Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies

The cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East have exerted a formative influence on identity and practice in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Students in this concentration are invited to learn a variety of disciplinary approaches to the study of religion as part of the cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East. Although there are no chronological limits to the focus of this concentration, the course offerings focus primarily on ancient and medieval cultures and languages. The subjects studied through a variety sources including textual, linguistic, material, geographic, and visual evidence. The courses offer a variety of approaches drawn from the disciplines of history, philology, visual arts, literary analysis, gender analysis, biblical studies, post-colonial studies, and the social sciences. Students are particularly encouraged to diachronically examine the reception and intersection of cultural and social forms and institutions.

  • Learning Goals
    • Students will become familiar with the cultural and social history the Mediterranean and Near East as a context for the development of religious traditions.
    • Students will become familiar with textual, philological, and material approaches to the study of the religions of the ancient and medieval Mediterranean and Near East.
    • Students will gain facility in the teaching and research practices use to study the cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East.
  • Required Courses


  • Praxis Fulfillment

    This could be satisfied by archeological work (Maymester courses such as Vanderbilt expeditions at Caesarea Maritima), field education as an undergraduate teaching assistant (at Vanderbilt or another local university), working as a faculty research assistant (e.g. on grant funded research in the digital humanities), or immersion language courses in the Mediterranean or Middle East.

  • Sample Courses

    In addition to courses in multiple ancient languages (such as Akkadian, Syriac, and Ugaritic in addition to Hebrew, Greek and Latin), courses that count toward the concentration include, but are not limited to: