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Religion, art, and identity of Christian societies in the Middle East


Admission requirements

BA in Religious Studies, Semitic Languages, Art History or any other relevant discipline. Basic knowledge of at least one Middle Eastern Christian community.


In this thematically oriented seminar, the identity formation of different groups of eastern Christians will be studied. In an intricate process of adoption and rejection, the groups selected elements from the cultures to which they were heirs and from those with which they came into contact, thus defining a position of their own. The manner in which the different groups did this will be compared. In addition to the political history, the role of religion and art will also be discussed.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the theoretical aspects of identity, identity formation, and ethnicity.

  • Insight in the process of identity formation of one or more Middle Eastern Christian communities.

  • Insight in the role of art and religion in this process.

  • Ability to assess the contribution of a particular text or work of art to this process.


See Time table

Mode of instruction

Literature seminar

Assessment method

Presentation on the basis of an individual assignment: 50%
Short paper (4-5 pages A4, line spacing: single), subject to be selected by the student: 50%


Yes, for assignments and course documents

Reading list

R.B. ter Haar Romeny (ed.), Religious Origins of Nations? The Christian Communities of the Middle East (Leiden: Brill, 2010).
Additional literature will be listed on Blackboard.


Via uSis
In addition to the registration in uSis, students are also expected to self-enroll in blackboard a few weeks before the course starts.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Prof.dr. Bas ter Haar Romeny


This course is compulsory for people specializing in Christianity in the Middle East; others can take it as an elective.
Research Master students get additional assignments.