Maria Hatjigeorgiou

Faculty Co-Head, Ross Commons; Lecturer in Religion and GSFS

 work(802) 443-3029
 Winter Term: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-3 (MNR 402); Wednesdays 2-4 (Ross Commons Office); Fridays 3-5 (Ross Commons Office)
 Munroe Hall 402

Professor Hatjigeorgiou, whose research focuses on Eastern Christian theology and Byzantine iconography and literature, has published articles on Byzantine art and poetry, Orthodox theology, and Medieval and Modern Greek literature.She teaches courses on Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the Female Experience of the Divine in Late Antiquity as well as the iconography and the mystical tradition of Byzantium. She is also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Program and the Literature Program. Her enthusiasm for contemplative pedagogies and for the study of myth and the spiritual in literature has shaped her First-Year Seminar “The Journey Within.”

Professor Hatjigeorgiou is the 2009-2010 recipient of the Marjorie Lamberti Teaching Award. She is also the recipient of the 2012 Middlebury College Faculty Feminist Award.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

CMLT 0230 / CLAS 0230 - Myth & Contemporary Experience      

Myth and Contemporary Experience: Modern Poems on Classical Myths*
Greek mythology, an enduring presence in Western thought, has provided, according to Carl Jung, the foundation of one half of our spiritual tradition. In this course we shall study how this rich mythical material has shaped modern poetry. Through close readings of modern poems and their ancient models, we will trace the way 20th-century poets appropriate and transform the classical past in order to reflect on their historical present. While viewing this function of myth as an element of modernity, we shall also explore how these poets build connections between the archetypal meaning of the ancient stories, the questions of existence, and our own contemporary lives. Readings will include Rilke, Eliot, Pound, Cavafy, Montale, Akhmatova, Borges, as well as Sylvia Plath, Joseph Brodsky, Derek Walcott, Louise Glück, and Seamus Heaney. 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. CMP LIT PHL

Fall 2015, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1184 - The Journey Within      

The Journey Within: The Spiritual Pursuit in Literary and Mystical Traditions
A fundamental teaching of the world’s religious traditions is that the source of love, the fulfillment of life, and the treasure of heaven are found within. With texts from antiquity to the present as our guides, we shall explore themes such as the concept of the soul, the discovery of a deeper self, the spiritual awakening, and the nature of the mystical experience. We shall consider questions related to religious and psychological experience such as: Where does the self reside? Why is it important to “know thyself”? What is the state of consciousness described as enlightenment? How does one rise above the sorrows and struggles of the world? Finally, we shall try to understand how turning within does not mean fleeing from the world, but engaging in the world around us in a more profound and meaningful way. Readings will include works from the Upanishads, Plato, Marcus Aurelius, St. Teresa of Avila, Tolstoy, Emily Dickinson, Herman Hesse, and J.D. Salinger. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW PHL

Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018

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RELI 0238 / CMLT 0238 - Literature Mystical Experience      

Literature and the Mystical Experience
In this course we will explore how narrative art articulates spiritual perception by examining selected works of 20th century writers such as Miguel De Unamuno, Nikos Kazantzakis, J. D. Salinger, Charles Williams, Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Merton, Alice Munroe, Marilynne Robinson, and Annie Dillard. Drawing on theology and philosophy as an interpretative mode, we will consider the following questions: How does literature illuminate selfhood and interiority? How do contemplation and ascetic practice guide the self to divine knowledge and cosmic unification? How do language, imagery and symbols shape the unitive experience as a tool for empathy and understanding of the other? 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. AMR LIT NOR PHL

Spring 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2019

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RELI 0290 / GSFS 0290 - Women and the Sacred      

Women and the Sacred in Late Antiquity and Byzantium
This course will explore the female religious experience in Greco-Roman antiquity and Early Christianity. We shall trace the transition from the mystery religions of Demeter and Isis in the Eastern Mediterranean to the cult of Mary the Mother of God (Theotokos) and the worship of female saints. Drawing on a wide range of sources (hymns, saints' Lives, Apocryphal Gospels, Patristic texts, and icons), we shall study the varieties of female devotion and examine the roles available to women in the early Church: deaconesses and desert mothers, monastics and martyrs, poets and rulers. Different theoretical approaches will enable us to ask a series of questions: were women in the early Church considered capable of holiness? To what extent did the female 'gifts of the spirit' challenge church authority? What is distinct about the feminine experience of the divine? Finally, we shall consider the vision and poetics of female spirituality in select modern poets. 3 hrs. lect. EUR HIS PHL

Spring 2018

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RELI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
(Approval Required)

Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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RELI 0700 - Senior Project in Religion      

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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RELI 0701 - Senior Thesis in Religion      

Senior Research for Honors Candidates
Approval required

Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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RELI 1036 - The Way of Ascetics      

The Way of the Ascetics: The Making of the Self in Christian Monasticism
The practice of asceticism appeared in ancient Christianity as a movement striving for a deeper spiritual life and connection with the Divine. Men and women withdrew into the wilderness to become fully attuned to God, engaged more empathetically with their human communities and the natural environment, and served the poor and socially marginalized. We shall examine how their new model of living challenged the traditional formations of identity and power through cultivating a watchful mind and deepening awareness. We shall also consider its possible relevance for our postmodern world. Readings will include the Gospel of Thomas, Desert Wisdom anthologies such as “The Philokalia,” and works of American mystic Thomas Merton and novelist Annie Dillard. CMP PHL WTR

Winter 2016, Winter 2018

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