Professor David Scourfield
I came to Ireland to take up the Chair of Classics at NUI Maynooth in 1998. I cannot remember a time when I was not interested in ancient Greece and Rome, and at school in Wales I was fortunate to have a very inspiring Latin (and Greek) teacher, who did a great deal to shape my future. I studied for a BA in Classics at Jesus College, Oxford, and stayed on to write a doctoral thesis on the letters of Jerome under the supervision of Michael Winterbottom. After a period working in parliamentary administration in London, I took up a lectureship at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (‘Wits’) in 1984, became Head of Department four years later, and was appointed to the Jan Hofmeyr Chair of Classics in 1995.
My career has been quite varied. In addition to teaching across a very wide range (from Homer to the Arab conquest of north Africa, and beyond), I have been fortunate to hold an array of interesting positions in several countries. I was joint editor of The Classical Review from 2002 to 2005, and have for many years been a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Scholia (Dunedin, New Zealand) and an associated member of the Editorial Committee of Akroterion (Stellenbosch, South Africa). From 2007 to 2013 I served as Chair of Council of the Classical Association, the largest subject organization for Classics in the UK, having previously (1997–8) held the post of Chair of the Classical Association of South Africa. I am currently Chair of the American Philological Association’s Committee on Classical Tradition and Reception; Vice-Chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s Committee for Classical and Near Eastern Studies, and the Academy’s representative on the Internationale Thesaurus-Kommission of the Thesaurus linguae Latinae; and a member of (among other things) the Classical Reception Studies Network.
I am interested in practically all aspects of Antiquity, and my research embraces both literature and ancient social and cultural history. In general, it has four emphases: (a) bereavement and consolation in the ancient world; (b) the literature of late Antiquity, especially Jerome; (c) the Greek and Roman novel; (d) twentieth-century receptions of the classical world, especially in English literature from 1900 to 1939. I am currently working on a monograph on the ancient consolatory letter, where sociohistorical questions are as much of a concern as more traditional literary and philosophical matters; a volume on representations of violence in Latin literature from Plautus to Prudentius, co-edited with Monica Gale of Trinity College, Dublin; and classical receptions in E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and Ford Madox Ford.
- ‘Jerome, Antioch, and the Desert: A Note on Chronology’, Journal of Theological Studies 37 (1986), 117–21.
- ‘Notes on the Text of Jerome, Letters 1 and 107’, Classical Quarterly 37 (1987), 487–97.
- Consoling Heliodorus: A Commentary on Jerome, Letter 60 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).
- ‘The Classics after Apartheid’, Classical Journal 88 (1992-3), 43–54.
- ‘The De mortalitate of Cyprian: Consolation and Context’, Vigiliae Christianae 50 (1996), 12–41.
- ‘A Note on Jerome’s Homily on the Rich Man and Lazarus’, Journal of Theological Studies 48 (1997), 536–9.
- ‘Anger and Gender in Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe’, in S. M. Braund and G. W. Most (eds.), Ancient Anger: Perspectives from Homer to Galen (Yale Classical Studies, 32; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 163–84.
- (ed.) Texts and Culture in Late Antiquity: Inheritance, Authority, and Change (Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, 2007).
- ‘Textual Inheritances and Textual Relations in Late Antiquity’, in J. H. D. Scourfield (ed.), Texts and Culture in Late Antiquity: Inheritance, Authority, and Change (Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, 2007), 1–32.
- ‘Chaereas, Hippolytus, Theseus: Tragic Echoes, Tragic Potential in Chariton’, Phoenix 64 (2010), 291–313.
- The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th edn., ed. S. Hornblower, A. Spawforth, and E. Eidinow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) the following entries: Avianus; Avienus; Christodorus; Claudian; Commodianus; Consolatio ad Liviam; consolation; Cupido amans; Jerome; Luxorius; Nemesianus; Novatianus; Optatianus Porfyrius; Pentadius; Pervigilium Veneris; Phoenix; Precatio Terrae; Reposianus; Rutilius Claudius Namatianus; Servasius; Tiberianus; Vespae iudicium; Vulgate.
- ‘Euripides, Hippolytus 136’, Rheinisches Museum 155 (2012), 225–33.
- ‘Towards a Genre of Consolation’, in H. Baltussen (ed.), Greek and Roman Consolations: Eight Studies of a Tradition and its Afterlife (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2013), 1–36.
- Delivering Consolation: The Ancient Consolatory Letter and its Contexts.
- (ed., with Monica R. Gale) Texts and Violence in the Roman World (12 chapters on a wide range of Latin texts, from Plautus to Prudentius, by an international team of scholars).
- ‘Violence, Desire, and the Christian Heroine’, in Gale/Scourfield (eds.), Texts and Violence in the Roman World (see above).
- ‘Forster and Woolf’, in K. Haynes (ed.), The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature. Volume 5: 1880–2000.
Select Public Presentations, 2001-2008
- 'The Appearance of Knowledge: Oedipus and Eyes Wide Shut', Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association, San Diego, January 2001 (in panel 'Classical Themes in the Films of Stanley Kubrick').
- 'A Death in the Family: Some Sociohistorical Observations on Ancient Letters of Consolation', to audiences at the Universities of Auckland, Canterbury, and Otago, New Zealand, September 2001.
- 'Bereavement and the Roman Male', Joint Conference of the Classical Association and the Classical Association of Scotland, University of Edinburgh, April 2002.
- 'Edge Girls? Buffy and the Heroines of Greek Romance', Conference on 'Greeks and Romans in the Buffyverse: Classical Threads in Fantasy and Science Fiction on Contemporary Television', The Open University, Milton Keynes, January 2004.
- 'Jerome and the Chaste Adulteress of Vercellae: Fictionalized History or Historicizing Fiction?', Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, January 2005.
- 'The Academic Deejay: Classics Book Reviewing and the Limits of Editorial Control', Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association, Montréal, January 2006 (in Program Committee Workshop, 'Classics Book Reviewing in the 21st Century').
- 'Opportunitas mortis: Exemplarity and Self-Fashioning in Jerome's Letters of Consolation', International Conference on 'Jerome of Stridon: Religion, Culture, Society and Literature in Late Antiquity', Cardiff University, July 2006 (keynote address).
- 'Violence and the Christian Heroine: Two Narratives of Desire', KYKNOS Seminar, University of Wales, Swansea, November 2006.
- 'E. M. Forster and the Greek Optative', Royal Irish Academy Greek and Latin Studies Colloquium ('Greco-Roman Ghosts: Receptions of the Classical World in the 19th and 20th Centuries'), Dublin, November 2007.
- 'The Genre(s) of Consolation', International Colloquium, 'Acts of Consolation: Approaches to Grief and Mourning from Crantor to al-Kindi', Institute of Classical Studies, London, December 2007.
- 'The Sophoclean Forster', CADRE Seminar, University of Nottingham, February 2008.