Course Syllabus

Mythos and Logos:

Myth and Reason in Ancient Greek Thought

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Spring 2020 - DIS Copenhagen  

Type & Credits:

Philosophy Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Long Tour Destinations in Greece:






Short Tour Destinations in Germany:



Major Disciplines:

Philosophy, Classics, Religious Studies


Brian Söderquist

Program Coordinator: Katrine Trolle - 
Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays, 10.05 - 11.25 in S12-05 (The Firestation)

Course Description

This course on myth and reason in Ancient Greece thought explores the tension between the Greek mythical worldview – which uses traditional stories about the gods and heroes to explain why things are they way they are – and the emerging rational philosophical worldview – which seeks to explain things in terms of universal principles and laws. We begin with the great prophets, poets, and philosophers of Ancient Greece, including Homer, Sophocles, and Plato, and we conclude with modern interpretations of the significance of Ancient Greek thought in the works of some of the best Continental philosophers: Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger. The course thus aims to help you become more conversant not only with the thinking of classical Greece, but also in the ideas of Continental European philosophy.

The goal of our long study tour is to gain lasting sensory and intellectual impressions in Greece at the very sites mentioned in Greek myth and philosophy. This takes us away from oft-visited tourist sites and into secluded corners of Athens as well as the mountains, valleys, and islands of Greece. We read, for example, Plato's account of Socrates’ execution at the prison in ancient Athens, we talk about the tragedy of Oedipus on the valley road where he killed his father, we read the pronouncements of the Delphic oracle in the mountains of Delphi, and we read of Agamemnon's murder at his grave in the Argive valley.  

Course Format

We will use Copenhagen as our primary meeting place, but much of the course takes place in Germany and Greece. On the study tours, the course instructors and on-site guest lecturers will lead discussions.

Course Instructor

K. Brian Söderquist, Ph.D. in philosophical theology, University of Copenhagen, 2005. M.A.R. in philosophy of religion, Yale University, 1994. B.A. in philosophy and natural sciences, Utah State University, 1990. With DIS since 2000.


Course Requirements

Two in-class exams on the course readings and study tour lectures. No make-up exams will be given without the prior consent of the instructors.

An 8-10 page research paper. Guidelines for the research papers will be distributed in class.

Preparation for classes in Copenhagen as well as in Germany and Greece.

Grade Components



In-class Exams


Research Paper


Reading Preparation


Computer policy

No surfing or texting during class.

Attendance and Absences

Please do not send emails about cancelled, delayed, or rescheduled flights, 24 hour-flu, or common colds. But please come and talk to us about multiple absences due to extended illness or disabling circumstances.

Reading List

Homer, The Odyssey

Hesiod, Theogony

Apollodorus, Library of Greek Mythology

Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers

Euripides, The Bacchae

Plato, Phaedo, Apology, Euthyphro

Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics

Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy

Heidegger, Sojourns, The Origin of the Work of Art

Graf, Greek Mythology: An Introduction

Kellogg, The Greek Search for Wisdom

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details