I study the Hebrew Bible, so far, primarily as someone interested in how it presents the history of ancient Israel, and how this vision may have been constructed. My work has often drawn, and I suspect often will draw, on comparisons from the study of Greek myth in order to interrogate existing models. So, for example, in my first book, the Sons of Jacob and the Sons of Herakles, I argued that the resemblance between the genealogical tradition that made Jacob the father of the twelve eponymous ancestors of Israel and Greek traditions about Hellen, the Panhellenic ancestor, and Herakles, suggests something quite different than most studies of biblical tribal discourse presume. Rather than efforts to preserve a very distant past, biblical tribal lists and descriptions may be, as they are in Greek myth, the medium through which later efforts to redescribe and redeploy that past were advanced. I have also published on the books of Samuel and Judges, and on comparisons with Ugaritic myth.
Maddalena started working on her doctoral thesis in September 2013, after completing her MA (with Distinction) in Languages and Cultures of South Asia at SOAS. Before moving to SOAS, she earned her BA and MA in Classics (both cum laude) from Milan State University. Her first MA dissertation focused on the Sanskrit figure of speech śleṣa (“Śleṣa, or ‘double meaning’: traces of stylistic continuity from the Ṛgveda to Sanskrit kāvya literature”). Her SOAS Master’s dissertation (“Non-verbal communication in Sanskrit kāvya literature: an emic perspective”) dealt with the theoretical frameworks through which literary body language is analyzed in Sanskrit systematic thought on drama and literature (nāṭya- and sāhityaśāstra). Maddalena’s doctoral research aims to offer new insights and a better understanding of the history of the modern reception of Sanskrit erotic poetry. In her PhD thesis (working title: “The erotic untranslatable: the modern reception of Sanskrit love poetry in the West and in India”), Maddalena analyses commentaries, translations, and rewritings of Sanskrit erotic poetry produced by modern intellectuals – Orientalists, Indian nationalists, colonial and post-colonial translators, poets, and philologists.
Greek and Roman Drama and Theater; Aeschylus; Euripides and the Trojan War; Vergil; The Classical Tradition in Literature and the Arts; German Classicism (Goethe, Schiller, Kleist); Philosophy and Literature
I am a PhD candidate in the Committee on the Study of Religion (New Testament and Early Christianity subfield) at Harvard University. My current course and research interests include the historiographical invention and development of the “Apostolic Fathers,” discourses of heresy and orthodoxy in antiquity, Greek and Coptic papyrology, ancient constructions of ethnic and religious difference, and translation of late ancient and Byzantine apocryphal texts. I am in the early stages of my dissertation, focusing on the Shepherd of Hermas.
Despite initial expectations that globalization would eradicate the need for geographical space and distance, “maps matter” today in ways that were unimaginable a mere two decades ago. Technological advances have brought to the fore an entirely new set of methods for representing and interacting with spatial formations, while the ever-increasing mobility of ideas, capital, and people has created a world in which urban and regional inequalities are being heightened at an accelerating pace. As a result, the ability of any given place to reap the benefits of global socio-technical flows mainly hinges on the forging of connections that can transcend the limits of its material location. In contrast to the traditional “topographic” perspective, the territorial extent of economic and political realms is being increasingly conceived through a “topological” lens: as a set of overlapping reticulations in which the nature and frequency of links among different sites matter more than the physical distances between them. We have decided to respond to these analytical and methodological challenges by focusing on ancient Greek literature: a corpus of work that has often been characterized as being free of the constraints imposed by post-Enlightenment cartography, despite setting the foundations of many contemporary map-making methods. In the 12 chapters that follow, we highlight the rich array of representational devices employed by authors from this era, whose narrative depictions of spatial relations defy the logic of images and surfaces that dominates contemporary cartographic thought. In fact, many of the disciplinary and conceptual perspectives explored here are at their inception, and have a more general relevance for the wider community of humanities and social science researchers interested in novel mapping techniques.
…‘Temporalities of Knowledge in Plato’s Protagoras’, Time, Tense and Genre in Ancient Greek Literature, King’s College London, September 2019.
‘Isocrates’ critique of populist speech: frankness, flattery, and the corruption of political discourse’, Isocrates panel, International Society for the History of Rhetoric conference, New Orleans, July 2019.
‘Plato’s Republic and the politics of presentism’, Anachronism and Antiquity panel, Classical Association/FIEC conference, London, July 2019.
‘Kingship and law in the Anonymous Iamblichi’, Durham, June 2019.
‘Writing Plato’s Republic in the twenty-first century: Jo Walton’s The Just City and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s Plato at the Googleplex, Anachronism and Antiquity Seminar, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford, May 2019.
‘Exemplarity and the practice of charisma in Athenian stories of leadershipR…
From Oct 2019: Associate tutor, Director of studies in Classics, and Bye-fellow, Newnham College, University of Cambridge. April-Dec 2020: Research Associate, Oxford History of the Archaic Greek World, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge. Fellow (2019-20), Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC. Associate editor, Polis: the Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 2016-19: Post-doctoral research assistant, ‘Anachronism and Antiquity’ project, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford, and non-stipendiary Junior Research Fellow, St Hugh’s College. Current research is focused on fourth-century BCE Greek political thought, especially temporality and change in Greek political thought and the dialogues of Plato. Teaching at Oxford included lectures and classes for Sexuality and Gender in Greece and Rome, an upper-level course for students in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Oxford. I am the treasurer of the Women’s Classical Committee UK.
I am a Research Fellow in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. My research focuses on the poetics and politics of Greek poetry from the archaic period to the Hellenistic world. I’m currently writing a book on the ‘pre-Alexandrian footnote’ and other markers of intertextuality in archaic and classical Greek literature. I explore how the earliest known Greek poets self-consciously acknowledged the familiarity of their subject matter and signalled their references to tradition – placing markers in their works for alert audiences to recognise. This kind of signposting is often considered the preserve of later literary cultures, closely linked with the development of libraries, literacy and writing. But I argue that these same devices were already deeply engrained in our earliest oral archaic Greek poetry. My other major research interest lies in the field of Hellenistic poetry, where I’m especially interested in the fragments and traces of poetic traditions beyond Ptolemaic Alexandria. In particular, I’m currently studying Attalid and Seleucid poetic traditions, as well as Hellenistic epic fragments more generally. As a student, I completed my PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge, supervised by Professor Richard Hunter; before that, I studied at the University of Oxford, completing both my BA and MSt at University College. I’ve co-organised a number of conferences, including ‘Hellenistic Poetry Beyond Callimachean Aesthetics’ (September 2016), the Cambridge AHRC DTP’s Conference on Time and Temporality (September 2016), and the Cambridge Laurence Seminar on Collaboration and Ancient Literature (June 2020). For the 2019 CA/FIEC conference, I also organised a panel entitled ‘Poetics Between Greece and the Near East’ (July 2019). Teaching materials for my undergraduates is available at http://www.thomas-j-nelson.co.uk/teaching.html. I’m very open to any kind of collaborative research and happy to be contacted about any ideas for collaboration, however preliminary.