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More in this section Second-Year Courses

The Holy Man


Value half unit



Dr Charalambos Dendrinos



Taught through weekly lectures and weekly follow-up seminars



2-hour exam (60%), best one of two coursework essays (40%)

The course explores perceptions of the holy man in different religions and traditions through the centuries, in the wider historical and cultural context. Through a variety of visual sources such as icons, reliquaries and other forms of sacred art, and textual sources (in translation), including scriptural, theological, philosophical, hagiographical, and hymnographical texts, students familiarise themselves with important aspects of sanctity and spirituality, assessing the place and role of holy men and women in society, both in East and West. Covering Hindu, Buddhist, Greek, Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions, the course examines the ideals, practices and experiences of hermits and coenobetic monks, stylites and holy fools, martyrs and married saints, among other groups, looking at ways in which ‘holiness’ and ‘sacred space’ can be a significant aspect of historical research in our attempt to understand a period, a society and a culture.


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