Course Name





5/6 ECTS

Course date

semester 2 (2023 - 2024)

Registration open until

27/10/2023 - 07/01/2024


Utrecht & online


Tazuko van Berkel (UL) & André Lardinois (RU)

E-mail Contact

Tazuko van Berkel

Course objectives

What do the Pythagorean Theorem, the Hippocratic Oath and the Sermon on the Mount have in common? They are ubiquitously considered canonical, they are known in other disciplines – in fact, non-classicists are likely to mention them when you tell them you study classics. But you, identifying as a classicist, having read Sophocles and Plato, knowing everything there is to know about Homeric similes, have never actually read these canonical texts in the original language. And you feel you actually should.

Does this describe you? Come join us in this reading course, where we will explore canonical texts and genres that are rarely read in standard curricula: the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Euripides’ Cyclops (the only surviving satyr play!), Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, the Pythagorean Theorem in Euclid’s Elements, the Hippocratic Oath and other samples from the mysterious Hippocratic corpus, the Sermon on the Mount and other highlights from the New Testament.

You will get to know these texts and genres, their linguistic and stylistic peculiarities, develop your reading skills and reflect on the question: what makes these texts canonical? In an excursion to the Leiden University Library we will also have the opportunity to see some medieval and early modern manuscripts of the texts that we read (amongst which the only surviving text witness of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter!) and acquire some understanding of the complex transmission and reception history of these texts.

Course content

Six core texts from Greek literature that are not in the BA curriculum.

  1. Homeric Hymn to Demeter
  2. The Pythagorean theorem (Euclides)
  3. Euripides, Cyclops
  4. The Oath of Hippocrates; the Sacred Disease
  5. New Testament: the Sermon on the Mount; Acts/Pauline Epistle
  6. Longus, Daphnis & Chloe

The selected texts are also well suited to present and discuss in the high school classroom. Students of the EduMa are required to write an essay in which they present a plan how they would introduce in a classroom a text of their own choice from the course pensum.

BA GLTC/Classics


6 x 3 hours: 1 hour lecture + 2 hours seminar / responses (lecture + questions; discussions of the Greek)

Written exam (100%)


UvA and VU  6 ECTS
UvA/VU-students who need 6 ECTS will read more source texts and secondary literature (1 ECTS). This must be determined with your lecturer in week 1.


Background Literature and Course Materials

Reader met de Hymne aan Demeter, Stelling van Pythagoras, Corpus Hippocraticum, selectie NT; D.M. Simmonds & R.R. Timberlake (ed.), Euripides. The Cyclops, Bristol 1927; E. Bowie (ed.), Longus. Daphnis & Chloe, Cambridge 2019

Reader ca. 15 euro; Bowie 39 euro; Simmonds 24 euro

Further information

Fridays  11h00-14h00

02/02/2024 on campus Kromme Nieuwegracht 80 007, Utrecht
23/02/2024 on campus Kromme Nieuwegracht 80 007, Utrecht
15/03/2024 on campus Kromme Nieuwegracht 80 007, Utrecht
29/03/2024 on campus Kromme Nieuwegracht 80 007, Utrecht
12/04/2024 on campus Kromme Nieuwegracht 80 007, Utrecht
26/04/2024 on campus Kromme Nieuwegracht 80 007, Utrecht
17/05/2024 on campus Kromme Nieuwegracht 80 007, Utrecht  (exam)


Enrolment Form 2
The university you are currently enrolled at.
Have you achieved a university bachelor diploma or a university of applied sciences bachelor diploma plus a university premaster diploma, in the target language of the course you want to follow? If not, please contact the course coordinator to see if you meet the entry requirements. Masterlanguage courses are not open to bachelor students.