Universität Wien FIND

010041 VO Becoming God: Deification from Antiquity to the Present (2020W)

3.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 1 - Katholische Theologie


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: English

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The course will take place online.

Monday 05.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 12.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 19.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 09.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 16.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 23.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 30.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 07.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 14.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 11.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 18.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 25.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The aim is to introduce students to the academic study of religion and to the main beliefs and practices associated with the ideas of deification of humans. The course will cover various examples, ancient and modern, of deified individuals.
Students will:
• acquire knowledge of what constitutes ‘deification’, and how can be studied in a comparative context;
• acquire knowledge of the different myths, stories, and ritual deification practices of different cultures, across time and space; will identify the different and complex nature of the deification traditions; and will be able to compare this vivid religious and political institution from antiquity to the modern times.
Deification, or apotheosis, is a very popular phenomenon across many cultures and traditions. Human history is replete with examples of deified individuals either as a result of their power or due to some special abilities. The course will examine certain examples from different cultural contexts, including posthumous deification and self-deification of individuals, in an array of ancient and modern understandings of the phenomenon: from Ancient Greece and Rome to Jesus Christ, and from the Japanese Emperor to Hollywood stars, popular singers, and athletes. Particular emphasis will be placed on the blurry lines between the notion of divinity and humanity.
Lectures with visual and textual material in English.

Assessment and permitted materials

UPDATE Jan. 4, 2021:
Oral exams will be on Monday, February 1. The exams will be held online and in groups, slots for the exams will be arranged directly with Nickolas Roubekas (no TEMPUS system needed)
Assessment and permitted materials
Oral exam (in English).
Permitted Instruments: None.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria
(Beurteilungskriterien) und der Beurteilungsmaßstab (nach Maßgabe von § 59 Abs. 6 UG).
Oral or written exam (in English).

Examination topics

Examination topics:
Lecture content.

Reading list

Reading list
(1) Litwa, M. David. 2012. We are Being Transformed: Deification in Paul’s Soteriology. Berlin: de Gruyter.
(2) Ory Amitay. 2010. From Alexander to Jesus. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
(3) Nickolas P. Roubekas. 2017. An Ancient Theory of Religion: Euhemerism from Antiquity to the Present. London & New York: Routledge.
(4) Spencer Cole. 2006. “Cicero, Ennius, and the Concept of Apotheosis at Rome,” Arethusa 39.3: 531-548.
(5) Francis Oakley. 2006. Kingship: The Politics of Enchantment. Malden, MA & Oxford: Blackwell.
(6) Tamás Dávid-Barrett and James Carney. 2016. “The deification of historical figures and the emergence of priesthoods as a solution to a network coordination problem,” Religion, Brain & Behavior 6.4: 307-317.

Association in the course directory

066 800 M3, M16; 066 795 M2b Vorlesung zur Vergleichend-Systematischen Religionswissenschaft

Last modified: We 21.04.2021 11:25