SCIENZE UMANISTICHELettersAcademic Year 2022/2023



Expected Learning Outcomes

According to the Dublin descriptors, students, at the end of the course, will demonstrate: 

1)    Knowledge and understanding:

The course aims to make students acquire knowledge of the basic lines of ancient Christian literature and of the history of ancient translations of the BibleThe course also intends to provide students with adequate philological methodologies to be applied to the analyzed texts. 

2) Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:

The knowledge acquired in the course will be applied by the students to the understanding of texts, through the reading of some passages in the original and the commentary aimed at examining the literary, exegetical, linguistic and sometimes even critical-textual aspects. In addition, in order to have a better understanding of ancient Christian texts and their literary models, students will also be able to deepen the knowledge of the computer resources to be applied to the analysis of these sources.

3) Autonomy of judgment:

Autonomy of judgment will be developed in the interpretation of the texts and authors in the program, including reflection on social or ethical issues related to them.

4) Communication skills:

Communication skills will be developed with the aim of a clear and precise exposition of exegetical issues or some simple critical-textual problems.

5) Learning skills:

Students will be able to develop the skills of learning the fundamentals of the history of ancient Greek and Latin Christian literature, which are necessary for them to undertake subsequent also interdisciplinary studies with a high degree of autonomy.

Course Structure

The course includes lectures, which will be supplemented by multimedia practical exercises for the application of the main computing resources to the study of Christian literary sources.

Detailed Course Content

The course is based on the study, conducted with the methods of philological and literary research, of the ancient works about Christian subject and it is also aimed at investigating the reception of themes and texts of ancient Christian literature in the later tradition. Particular attention is paid to the ancient and modern translations of the Bible; to the literary forms and genres; to the in-depth study on the Christian poets of the IV-VI centuries; to understanding of problems relating to tradition and to the edition of Christian texts; to the relationship between classical rhetoric and Biblical culture; to the exegetical terminology; to the analysis of symbolic language; to the hermeneutic practice based on the techniques of intertextuality.

Textbook Information

A)   Principles of ancient Christian literature (5 ECTS)


1)    M. R. Petringa (a cura di), La Bibbia e le sue versioni antiche e moderne, pp. 1-19 (the booklet will be presented through slides during the lessons and will be provided in pdf format to the students).

2)    A. Piras, Storia della Letteratura patristica, PFTS University Press, Cagliari 2018, pp. 9-389.

3)    A. V. Nazzaro, Motivi e forme della poesia cristiana antica tra Scrittura e tradizione classica, in «Motivi e forme della poesia cristiana antica tra Scrittura e tradizione classica», XXXVI Incontro di studiosi dell’antichità cristiana (Roma, 3-5 maggio 2007), Roma, Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, 2008, pp. 9-56.

B) Special contents (3 ECTS)

Reading, translation and philological, linguistic and literary commentary of excerpts on the Christian poets of the IV-VI centuriesThe texts will be provided by the teacher during the lessons.


1)    M. R. Petringa, Il poema dell’Heptateuchos. Itinera philologica tra tardoantico e alto medioevo, (Biblioteca di Commentaria Classica, I), Catania, Litterae Press, 2016, pp. 19-82.


Critical readings (at least 3 critical readings should be chosen by the student among the following ones):

2)    A. V. Nazzaro, Sui Versus ad fratrem corripiendum di papa Damaso, «Koinonia» 1, 1977, pp. 195-203.

3)    M. R. Petringa, Il De mortibus boum di Endelechio, in «La veterinaria antica e medievale. Testi greci, latini, arabi e romanzi», Atti del II Convegno internazionale (Università di Catania, 3-5 ottobre 2007), a cura di V. Ortoleva e M. R. Petringa, Lugano, Lumières Internationales, 2009, pp. 243-258.

4)    A. V. Nazzaro, Paolino Nola e il pellegrinaggio al Santuario di san Felice«Koinonia» 55, 2011, pp. 197-226.

5)    A.V. Nazzaro, Praefatio ed epilogus degli Evangeliorum libri IV di Giovenco, in «Carminis incentor Christus», a cura di A.V. Nazzaro e R. Scognamiglio (Analecta Nicolaiana, 13), Bari 2012, pp. 11-35.

6)    M. R. Petringa, Il paradiso terrestre nella riscrittura del poeta dell’Heptateuchos (gen. 64-133): analisi del lessico delle emozioni, in «Spazi e tempi delle emozioni: dai primi secoli all’età bizantina», Atti delle VI Giornate di studio di Letteratura cristiana antica (Università di Catania, 9-11 novembre 2017), Acireale-Roma, Bonanno editore, 2018, pp. 185-207. 

C) Computer resources for the study of the ancient Christian authors (1 ECTS)

Multimedia presentation of the main computer resources for the study of ancient Christian literary texts.


M. R. Petringa (a cura di), Sitografia ragionata di Letteratura cristiana antica, pp. 1-20 (the websites will be presented in a  multimedia way during the lessons and provided in pdf format to the students).
Non-attending students are asked to contact the teacher at least two months before taking the exam to agree on an alternative program.


Please remember that in compliance with art 171 L22.04.1941, n. 633 and its amendments, it is illegal to copy entire books or journals, only 15% of their content can be copied.

For further information on sanctions and regulations concerning photocopying please refer to the regulations on copyright (Linee Guida sulla Gestione dei Diritti d’Autore) provided by AIDRO - Associazione Italiana per i Diritti di Riproduzione delle opere dell’ingegno (the Italian Association on Copyright).

All the books listed in the programs can be consulted in the Library.
Versione in italiano