EGYP Bandeau Event


sujet MOOC "Oriental Beliefs: Between Reason and Traditions" (8 semaines)


Envie de découvrir les croyances à travers les cultures et les époques, de l’Egypte ancienne au Japon moderne? Le MOOc Oriental Beliefs de l’Institut orientaliste de l’UCL est fait pour vous.
Vous êtes passionné de cultures orientales? Fasciné par les mythes et les croyances? Rejoignez l’équipe de plus de 20 experts pour une découverte de 8 semaines à travers le MOOC Oriental Beliefs: Between Reason and Traditions.

Ce cours vous emmène à travers les croyances développées dans une grande variété de cultures, de l’Egypte ancienne à l’Extrême Orient, en passant par le Proche Orient, l’Asie centrale ou l’Inde. D’où viennent ces croyances, quelles sont les théories et les pratiques? Comment ont-elles été transmises à travers les âges? Pourquoi certaines de ces croyances sont-elles encore bien vivantes aujourd’hui, que ce soit parmi les juifs, les chrétiens, les musulmans, les bouddhistes ou les shintoïstes? Autant de questions qui seront posées et discutées dans ce MOOC. Anges et démons, dieux et esprits, les grands cycles de l’univers, le pouvoir de la lune ou du soleil, autant de sujets qui seront au programme, dans une approche comparative, critique et contextualisée.

Les enseignants? Quelque 25 historiens et philologues, passionnés par leur domaine de recherche et tous liés au département de grec, latin et études orientales de l’UCL. Tous déterminés à aider les étudiants à progresser dans le cours mais aussi désireux de les ‘rencontrer’.


This course takes a journey through the world of beliefs as they have developed in a great variety of cultures, ranging from Ancient Egypt, the Near East to Central Asia, India, China, and the Far East. We will discuss where these beliefs, theories and practices originated from, how they were passed on over the ages and why some are still so central to large communities of believers across the world today, whether it be amongst Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists or Shintoists.

We'll be dealing with everything from gods and spirits, to angels and demons, to afterlife and the netherworld, as well as the great cycles of the universe and the tremendous power of lunar and solar eclipses. The interpretation of dreams and all sorts of magic and miraculous deeds will also be covered during this course.

Students will have the opportunity to travel extensively in time and space. The comparative, critical and contextualized approach of this course will allow for a valuable and thought-provoking experience.

We are a course team of about twenty-five specialists working at, or in close interaction with, the Department of Greek, Latin and Oriental Studies (GLOR) at the University of Louvain. We are all historians or philologists, all passionate about our respective fields of expertise, and all fully determined to help you as much as we can as we progress through this course. Most of all, we're looking forward to "meeting" you and to having lively discussions with you on the forums.

If you're curious about the cultures of this world, past and present, this course is definitely for you. Put your wings on and get ready to ride on our “GLOR-ious” dragon and to enjoy the whole adventure with us!

programme Table of contents

Week 1: Overall presentation

  • Modalities of course
  • Team
  • Geographical introduction
  • Historical introduction

Week 2: Gods and Spirits

  • Nature in Japanese Daily Life
  • The Power of Chinese Hybrids
  • The Gods in Buddhism
  • Egyptian Gods, Cult Centres and the Cosmogony of Heliopolis

The Ancient Egyptians were pious and sensitive people and they explained the birth of the universe (i.e. cosmogony) by staging the gods in stories or myths. The main mythological stories appeared in the three important cult centres of Ancient Egypt: Heliopolis, Hermopolis and Memphis. The leading role was played by the main god in each locality. Only the cosmogony of Memphis has been preserved as a theological treatise. The others, including the cosmogony of Heliopolis, must be reconstructed according to the suggestions found in divine hymns, funeral ritual texts (Pyramid Texts, Coffin Texts, the Book of the Dead) and entries inscribed on the temples of the Late Period.

Week 3: Angels and Demons

  • Angels in the Hebrew Bible
  • Angels in Islam
  • Demons in Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Fighting the Demons in Egypt: from Texts to Religious Practices

Week 4: Netherworld and Afterlife

  • Concepts of Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

From the time of the New Kingdom, life after death was what Ancient Egyptians could hope to achieve if they were fortunate enough to be buried with a copy of the “Book of the Dead”, or more precisely, the “Book of Coming Forth by Day”. According to this book, the objective of the deceased is to follow the same cycle as the sun in order to regenerate like it does every morning. To do this, they must travel with the god Re on his daily journey across the world of the living and on his nightly journey across the underworld, or as the Ancient Egyptians called it, the Duat.

  • The Netherworld in Ancient Mesopotamia
  • The Netherworld in Ancient Anatolia and Iran
  • Underworld and Afterlife in Ancient Greek Epics 1: Tartarus/Erebus
  • Underworld and Afterlife in Ancient Greek Epics 2: Hades
  • Buddha, the Man Who Refuses to Talk About the Afterlife • Ancestor Worship in China

Week 5: Astrology and Heavenly Cycles

  • Eclipses: Beliefs and Theories in the Ancient World 1 - Superstitions
  • Eclipses: Beliefs and Theories in the Ancient World 2 - Theories
  • On World Cycles 1: The Great Year Doctrine in Antiquity
  • On World Cycles 2: The Great Year Doctrine in the Middle Ages
  • Arab Astrology in the Medieval Latin West
  • Astrology and Love in Romance Literatures

Week 6: Magic, Dreams and Miracles

  • The Miraculous Portrait of Jesus
  • The Science of the Letters
  • Alchemy throughout the Ages
  • The Varieties of Magic in Islam
  • Dreams and Meditation in Tibet
  • Forbidden Directions in Japan

Week 7: A Case Study

  • The Miracle of the Moving Muqattam Image

Week 8: Summing up

calendar  Á partir du 4 octobre 2016
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