32890 - History of Faiths and Religions

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student: will understand and correctly use the terms and definitions of the semantic field related to this field of study (cults, rituals, myths, religions, faiths, ...); will be able to relate the origins, diffusion, transformation and permanence of forms of worship and devotion with environmental and socio-economic aspects; will know the religious strains that have most impact on human affairs with particular reference to their genesis and propagation; will know the basic dictates of the largest religions and their joints in various creeds and sects; will be able to identify and circumscribe areas of the world with the prevailing religious attendance and areas of friction and conflict between different faiths; will be able to identify the main issues raised by the coexistence of believers of different religions.

Course contents

Throughout the history, the cults, the rites, the myths and the religions were generated and influenced by the resources, from reports and from activities of every human group. If you want to draw a thematic maps of the current world relating to political systems, social inequalities, behavior and mentality, it would corresponding largely to areas of the great religions, which in turn manifest themselves more joints and differences internal. Every great religious area, while presenting its general characteristics, is then split into zones of adhesion to the different versions and seven, whose knowledge can help you understand the different attitudes of today's peoples and countries, majorities and minorities: the search for dialogue, fundamentalism more intransigent. In the same fields of religion is therefore possible to understand the coexistence of divergent interpretations and behaviors and sometimes contradictory, which often characterizes the peoples and the countries to which they are prevalent. Besides conflicting views coexist even within the same ethnic and territorial contexts. Exemplary in this regard is the multiplicity of attitudes on social issues of the Catholic world, that beyond its general policy of fervent solicitude, then presents a wide range of real behaviors, ranging from more consistent commitment to concrete actions of solidarity, to the closures that implicitly endorse the most unequal disparities. Though they appeared a little 'everywhere, such contrasts are particularly noticeable in the countries of Latin America, where positions remain almost the opposite: by forces more radical egalitarianism, outdoor support of the restricted circle of the holders of power and wealth. On this basis we will analyze the connections between the events of '"human adventure" and the genesis, development and expansion of beliefs, cults and religions. to the current frictions and conflicts.


For those who attend at least 2/3 of the lectures, the preparation will be carried out on the lecture notes and the study of the book:

1) the first mandatory for all:

John Filoramo, Marcello Massenzio, Massimo Raveri, Paolo Scarpi
, Manuale di storia delle religioni, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2005;

2) the second to choose from among the following:

- Chiara Brambilla and Massimo Rizzi,
Religioni e migrazioni. Un'esperienza locale di dialogo tra cristiani e musulmani, Franco Angeli, Milano, 2011

- Giovanni Filoramo, Che cos'è la religione. Temi metodi problemi, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Torino 2014;

- Giovanni Filoramo, Religione e religioni, Egea, Milano 2014;

- Julien Ries, Il senso del sacro. Nelle culture e nelle religioni, Jaca Book, 2006.

Teaching methods

In lectures, in addition to the usual transmission form, students will take the activation methods through discussions and research papers on topics of particular interest. To classes alternates attending conferences and seminars specifically promoted in collaboration with municipal authorities (Jewish Museum, Islamic Community, "Amilcar Cabral Center", the Archbishop Curia, ...) and well-known scholars on issues related teaching.

The lessons will be held from September

Assessment methods

The exam is held orally through questions designed to test the knowledge of the topics covered in class and those contained in the texts required. Students are interrogated with general questions so that they can demonstrate their preparation for moving in the matter and deepening the topics. In addition to knowledge of the content, they contribute to the overall assessment of language and the ability to organize information relevant answers that demonstrate critical and argumentative.

Teaching tools

Lectures will make use of the use of the computer network sites, movies and audio visual computer presentations (PowerPoint). These tools are made available to students in the "Teaching materials".

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Rolando Dondarini