Faculty Profile for Professor Dauber
Explores ancient texts that articulate perennial issues: the nature of the human and the divine; the virtues and the good life; the true, the just and the beautiful; the difference between subjective opinion and objective knowledge. These texts exemplify basic modes of speech, literary forms, and patterns of thinking that establish the terminology of academic and intellectual discourse and critical thought: epic, rhetoric, tragedy, epistemology, science, democracy, rationality, the soul, spirit, law, grace. Such terms have shaped the patterns of life, norms, and prejudices that have been continually challenged, criticized, and refashioned throughout history. To highlight both the dialogue and conflicts between the texts and the traditions they embody, this course, taught by a multidisciplinary staff and in an interdisciplinary manner, focuses on both the historical contexts of these texts and the ongoing retellings and reinterpretations of them through time. Moreover, the course includes texts from the ancient Mediterranean world that have given rise to some of the philosophical, political, religious, and artistic traditions associated with “The West,” emphasizing that Western traditions were not formed in a vacuum but developed in dialogue and conflict with other traditions, some of which lie beyond the geographical area of “The West.” Common to all sections of this component are classic works such as Homer, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, Plato, and a Roman text. Complementary texts or visual materials from the ancient period, in and beyond the Western world, and/or response texts from the medieval or contemporary periods are added in individual sections or groups of sections. Thus, some groups of sections may have particular themes. These themes will be identified at registration every term. Students who successfully complete one of these seminars will satisfy the Legacies of the Ancient World core requirement.
In this section of Legacies of the Ancient World, students will focus on the various mentalities of antiquity--from the flinty Romanitas
of Caesar's opponents to the apocalyptic visions of justice of the Hebrew prophets. Students will see how the great books of antiquity are both representative of these mentalities and critical of them. Above all, students will learn through the study of literary genre and ethical argument "how to think like a book." The emphasis will be on close reading, both in class and out, and on practicing writing analytically.
Noah Dauber, associate professor of Political Science, specializes in the history of political thought. His focus is on the emergence of the idea of the state in early modern Europe.