General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Roots of European Culture and Literature
Language English
Module lecturer dr Cezary Dobak
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2022/2023 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-AP-RECL


Module aim (aims)

This course evolves around the so-called four cultures of the West. The cultures considered here originated in the ancient world, took on Christian forms, and manifest themselves today in more secular ways. These are, as the American historian John W. O’Malley identifies them: the prophetic culture that proclaims the need for radical change in the structures of society (represented by, for example, Jeremiah, Martin Luther, and Martin Luther King, Jr.); the academic culture that seeks instead to understand those structures (Aristotle, Aquinas, the modern university); the humanistic culture that addresses fundamental human issues and works for the common good of society (Cicero, Erasmus, and Eleanor Roosevelt); and the culture of art and performance that celebrates the mystery of the human condition (Phidias, Michelangelo, Balanchine). By showing how these cultures, as modes of activity and discourse in which Western intelligence has manifested itself through the centuries and continues to do so, students will be able to look at the larger history of the West as it developed from antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance but continues to have relevance for society today.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

General knowledge of the culture of selected European countries


Course learning content:

Athens vs. Jerusalem

The Prophets

Plato and Aristotle

Vergil and Cicero

Art in Antiquity

Prophecy and Reform


The Renaissance

The Reformation

The Academy and the Profession

Poetry, Rhetoric, and the Common Good

Art and Performances

The Book of Our Experience

Reading list