2023 William Ritchie Memorial Lecture: From Athens to China and Back
From Athens to China and Back: A Western Student of Ancient Greece Looks at the Chinese Classical Tradition
Professor Glenn W. Most | University of Chicago
24 October 2023 | 5pm doors for 5:30pm start.
Until recently, modern Europe and the cultures that derive from it accorded an unquestioned privilege to the Classical traditions they knew best, those of ancient Greece and Rome. Comparative studies tended to be few and were often rejected as being superficial. Now a variety of economic, political, and ideological factors have made not only the West become much more open to considering the value of other cultures than its own, but also have made those other cultures much more interested than previously in exchanges of all sorts with the West.
I myself am by profession a Western student of ancient Greece; but I have always believed that one can only understand one Classical tradition well if one sees it in comparison with other Classical traditions. Among the dozen or score of Classical traditions scattered throughout the world, the Greek and the Chinese are two of the ones that have flourished the most. It is worth studying them comparatively, because not only their similarities, but also their differences, and the relative independence and lack of contact between them for most of their history, can tell us much about what makes a Classical tradition. This can only be done seriously by groups of researchers with different competences but shared questions and mutual respect. But someone has to make a start; and this lecture is intended as one such start.
Glenn Most is one of the most significant scholars of Greek and Roman Antiquity in the last half century. He has published books on ancient philosophy, on the history and methodology of Classical studies, on comparative literature, cultural studies, and the history of religion, on literary theory and on the history of art, and has published numerous articles, reviews, and translations in these fields as well as modern philosophy and literature. His body of work is vast, wide ranging, and continues unabated: recently he has published new editions and translations of the Hesiodic corpus, edited a volume of essays on the first columns of the Derveni Papyrus and collections of his essays in Italian on ancient and modern psychology and in Chinese on early Greek poetry, and co-edited comprehensive new editions of early Greek philosophy and volumes of essays on mathematical commentaries in Chinese, Sanskrit, Babylonian, and ancient Greek, on plurilingualism in premodern scholarship, on scholarly methods in a variety of canonical written traditions, and on a sentence of Kafka.
Glenn Most studied Classics at Harvard, Corpus Christi College (Oxford), and Yale University (M. Phil. 1978, Ph.D 1980), where he worked with the celebrated American literary scholar Paul de Man. At Tübingen Most was awarded a D.Phil. under Richard Kannicht with a thesis (revised as The Measures of Praise. Structure and function in Pindar’s Second Pythian and Seventh Nemean odes, 1985). From 1980-1985 Glenn Most taught Classics at Princeton (as Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Classics), and at the American Academy in Rome, Università degli Studi di Siena, University of Michigan, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Universität Innsbruck (as Ordentlicher Universitätsprofessor für Klassische Philologie und Altertumskunde). From 1991-2001, Most was Professor of Ancient Greek language and literature at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, during which time he was a Visiting Professor at Michigan and Chicago. In 1994, Most was the first classicist to receive the Leibniz-Preis of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. From 2001-2020, he was Professor of Ancient Greek at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and Visiting Professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Since his retirement from Pisa in 2020 he continues as a Visiting Professor in Chicago. Glenn Most is also an External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.
Established in 2008 and held every two years, the William Ritchie Memorial Lecture invites a leading scholar of Hellenic antiquity to visit the University of Sydney every two years to deliver a public lecture in memory of the life and work of the late William Ritchie. Bill Ritchie was a devoted teacher and scholar of Classical Greek at the University of Sydney from 1955 until his death in July 2004. He was Professor of Classical Greek from 1965 to 1991.
It is with great pleasure that we receive Glenn Most in 2023 as William Ritchie Memorial Lecturer at the University of Sydney.
The 2023 Ritchie Memorial Lecture is proudly supported by the Classical Association of NSW
Established in 2008 and held every two years, the William Ritchie Memorial Lecture invites a leading scholar of Hellenic antiquity to visit the University of Sydney every two years to deliver a public lecture in memory of the life and work of the late William Ritchie.
Bill Ritchie was a devoted teacher and scholar of Classical Greek at the University of Sydney from 1955 until his death in July 2004. He was Professor of Classical Greek from 1965 to 1991.
Tuesday 24 October, 2023, 5:00pm for a 5:30pm start
To be held on Campus at the Chau Chak Wing Museum. Please click here for CCW map.
The Discipline of Classics and Ancient History is part of the School of Humanities.