This list relates to the year 2019/2020 which does not start until 01/09/2019
  1. Introductory Reading 9 items
    Here are some introductory texts that will introduce you to the field.
    1. The case for God: what religion really means - Karen Armstrong 2010

      Book Further Reading Armstrong asks her readers to re-think what religion is and can be,

    2. Great Transformation - Karen Armstrong 10/04/2007

      Book Further Reading An excellent account of the Axial Age, when the major world philosophies arose.

    3. How the World Thinks - Julian Baggini 03/10/2019

      Book Further Reading An accessible introduction that does what it says on the tin. A good book to read before we start, to get you thinking in the right way.

    4. World philosophies: an historical introduction - David E. Cooper 2003

      Book Further Reading You may pick and choose from this comprehensive volume areas that will be covered in the module or cultural traditions that interest you. Perusal recommended as preparatory reading, especially the Introduction.

    5. Philosophy of religion: towards a more humane approach - John Cottingham 2014 (electronic resource)

      Book Further Reading An introduction to the philosophy of religion from an oblique perspective.

    6. Myth: A Very Short Introduction - Robert Segal 23/07/2015

      Book Further Reading An excellent introduction to the issues that cluster around the phenomenon of myth.

    7. Philosophy of religion: a very short introduction - Tim Bayne 2018, ©2018

      Book Further Reading This is a set book for Philosophy of Religion, which will run next year, but you would find it useful to read (or re-read if you took the module last year) chapters 1 and 6 only.

    8. Religion Explained - Pascal Boyer 07/11/2002

      Book Further Reading An anthropologist's take on religion: a naturalistic explanation.

    9. Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism and Esotericism 18/04/2016

      Book Core Reading A selection of fascinating articles. The one on Hermeticism and Gnosticism is in the reader.

  2. Zoroastrianism 2 items
    1. Zoroastrianism - Jenny Rose 2011

      Book Further Reading A useful overview of Zoroastrianism, the religion that traces its origins to Zoroaster, who is also known as Zarathustra. We shall be looking at this faith, which still exists in the world, in Week 2.

    2. In Search of Zarathustra - Paul Kriwaczek 09/03/2004

      Book Further Reading A sort of detective story, leading to the original Zarathustra through the various traces of him that can be found in the world and in history.

  3. Gnosticism 15 items
    These texts all relate to the phenomenon of Gnosticism, which we shall be studying in Weeks 1-3.
    1. What Is Gnosticism? - Karen L. King 06/05/2005

      Book Further Reading King's excellent investigation shows the difficulty of defining the phenomena.

    2. The gnostic Gospels - Elaine H. Pagels 1979

      Book Further Reading A classic account of the discovery of the Gnostic gospels and their importance.

    3. Augustine - Robin Lane Fox 17/10/2017

      Book Core Reading A lot of what we know about the Manichees goes back to Augustine, who left them to become a Catholic. The relevant sections of this biography are in the reader.

    4. The Gospel of St Thomas - Marvin Meyer 1993

      Book Core Reading A key text that was only discovered recently. Part of it will be in the dossier. How far and in what ways does it differ from the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

    5. Gnosis - Kurt Rudolph 1987

      Book Further Reading A useful overview of Gnosticism.

    6. the nag hammadi library: Books

      Webpage Further Reading These documents were discovered in the twentieth century and changed our view of Gnosticism. See Pagels for a commentary.

    7. The medieval Manichee: a study of the Christian dualist heresy - Steven Runciman 1947

      Book Further Reading An overview of Gnosticism in Mediaeval Europe.

    8. The other God - Yuri Stoyanov 2000

      Book Further Reading Stoyanov is a major writer on dualism. This book is excellent and tells the story of dualism and its rise and fall.

    9. The Gnostic Bible 2009

      Book Further Reading An amazing book with a huge collection of texts!

    10. Massacre at Montségur - Zoé Oldenbourg 2000

      Book Further Reading An excellent account of the extermination of Catharism, with good background on the Cathars.

    11. Perfect Heresy - Stephen O'Shea 21/05/2001

      Book Further Reading Another history of Catharism. A great read.

    12. Nag Hammadi Library

      Webpage Further Reading A useful resource with all the documents available for study.

    13. Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc - McDonald,James

      Article Further Reading A set of resources on Catharism.

    14. Manichaean Writings -- The Gnostic Society Library

      Webpage Further Reading A selection of resources on Manichaeanism.

  4. Neoplatonism 4 items
    1. The enneads - Plotinus, Stephen Mackenna, John M. Dillon 1991

      Book Core Reading Book 1.6 is in your reader. This is the classic text by an author often described as the founder of Neoplatonism.

    2. Plotinus or the Simplicity of Vision - Pierre Hadot April 28, 1998 (Paperback)


    3. The Symposium (Penguin Classics) April 29, 2003

      Book Core Reading Diotima's account of the ascent of the soul is essential reading.

  5. Philosophy in the Islamic World 6 items
    This section includes references to core and recommended reading for the lectures in weeks 4, 5, and 6.
    1. History of Islamic Philosophy (Routledge History of World Philosophies) - Seyyed Hossein Nasr 2013

      Webpage Further Reading This is a recent authoritative text on Islamic Philosophy, focussing on central figures, classical and modern, influences of the Islamic civilisation on other cultures and Part II is particularly relevant to this module. All chapters from this part are recommended, but those devoted to Al-Farabi, Ibn-Sina and Al-Ghazzali are especially important.

    2. Classical Arabic Philosophy September 7, 2007 (Paperback)

      Book Core Reading A useful collection of classical sources, despite the misnomer 'Arabic' philosophy, which is correct only insofar as it refers to sources written in Arabic (which by no means exhaust the philosophical sources encountered in the Islamic world, Persian being for instance another language used by philosophers). Parts of the anthology are reproduced in the course dossier as core readings.

    3. The Oxford handbook of Islamic philosophy - Khaled El-Rouayheb, Sabine Schmidtke 2016 (electronic resource)

      Book Further Reading Another useful collection of articles written by specialists on key figures in the history of Islamic thought. You may found it helpful as a useful reference for your essays, but we shall not use it in this module.

    4. The Philosophical Works Of Alkindi 2013

      Book Further Reading In this module we shall not discuss Al-Kindi but in passing. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that his collected philosophical works are available in a very readable English translation.

    5. The metaphysics of The healing - Avicenna 2005

      Book Core Reading An extremely influential work by Ibn Sina and one of the great classics of philosophy. We shall discuss the first books in the lectures (the relevant material will be part of the course dossier).

    6. Avicenna and the Visionary Recital: (Mythos Series) (Bollingen Series (General)) - Henry Corbin 2014

      Book Core Reading An extensive study of the mystical motives in Avicenna, written by the French orientalist Henri Corbin, who devoted most of his scholarly work to the analysis and exposition of mystical tendencies in the Persian world, both pre-Islamic and Islamic. Part of this text is core reading and can be found in the course dossier.