BiographyI fell under the Odyssey's spell as an undergraduate, learning Greek to read it in the original. As a graduate student I was under the influence of Nagy, but later began to question the importance of the Indo-European model, instead finding common ground between Homeric epic and Near Eastern myth (Gilgamesh, and Ugaritic myth especially) more fruitful. I slowly came to realize that the Bible provided unexpected correspondences with many Homeric contexts, as I explore in my third book, Homer's Odyssey and the Near East. As I considered the Bible more broadly, I found surprising parallels with many episodes in Hesiod, from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, as well as with plays by Euripides, the Ion, Hecuba, and Alcestis, in particular, and multiple episodes that seem dependent on Ovid. This became my most recent book, Greek Myth and the Bible.
Ph. D. University of California at Berkeley, Comp Lit 1990
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Homer, epic poetry, Greek myth, Near Eastern Myth, the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton, classical Indian literature
exploring the connections between democracy and polytheism;
exploring where our notions of morality come from, and which ancient cultures best anticipate contemporary notions of justice;
exploring the Bible as a response to Greek culture.
Less academic interests: free jazz, 1960's rock, avant grade musics, fine ales, especially Belgian.