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The C. J. Goodwin Award of Merit Committee is delighted to announce the three winners of this year's Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit. The Goodwin Awards honor outstanding contributions to classical scholarship by members of the Society. This year’s winners are:

Claire Bubb, Dissection in Classical Antiquity: A Social and Medical History (Cambridge University Press, 2022)

Christopher A. Faraone and Sofía Torallas Tovar, eds., The Greco-Egyptian Magical Formularies: Libraries, Books, and Individual Recipes (University of Michigan Press, 2022)

N. Bryant Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (Oxford University Press, 2022)

Please click the links above to read the full award citations written by committee members Richard Hunter (co-chair), Amy Richlin (co-chair), Yopie Prins, Rhiannon Ash, and Andrew Riggsby.

Claire Bubb, Dissection in Classical Antiquity: A Social and Medical History

This remarkable book does much more than merely present a history of what we can say about dissection as a medical and epideictic practice in antiquity, though it will become the standard such history for a long time to come. Rather, Bubb allows us to see why this subject should matter to anyone interested in Graeco-Roman culture; some may find the subject of the book difficult or uncomfortable, but no one interested in classical antiquity should ignore it. Much about ancient dissection and its public display can otherwise seem to us so foreign and ‘other’ that in following Bubb’s story through from our earliest evidence in the Hippocratics to the height of the Roman empire we learn a great deal about the moral assumptions upon which Graeco-Roman culture was based. Bubb’s book puts dissection, and to some extent anatomy more generally, into the mainstream of classical scholarship, in part by opening up a large body of texts to new critical examination. Along the way, an often overlooked aspect of street life all over the Mediterranean is vividly imagined.

At the heart of the book lies a very impressive philological and medical command of the evidence from art, papyri and medical texts. Galen is never far away, both because of the extensiveness of what Galen reveals about his own practices and because he is inevitably the principal source for the medical practitioners and much of the medical practice which preceded him. Bubb makes illuminating use of the whole Galenic corpus, and both the main text and the footnotes reveal enviable command of Galen’s often very difficult Greek. The book is thus a significant contribution to Galenic studies, as well as to the history of dissection. Bubb is always concerned to set Galenic texts within their social, performative and agonistic contexts; the book teaches us much about the social and commercial history of imperial Rome and the hierarchies which governed elite behaviour, as well as attitudes towards, and the traffic in, animals. Galen’s persistent concern with engaging his audience and readership and with how they are to regard his claims means that there is also much here about the use and circulation of written texts which can be extrapolated to non-medical literary forms.

Not the least of this book’s virtues is the panache and clarity with which it is written; no one can fail to admire the lucid style of Bubb’s splendid writing. For many reasons we are pleased to honor Claire Bubb’s Dissection in Classical Antiquity with the Goodwin Award of Merit.

Christopher A. Faraone and Sofía Torallas Tovar, eds., The Greco-Egyptian Magical Formularies: Libraries, Books, and Individual Recipes

Though modestly described in its preface as a “companion volume” to a new edition of the Greek and Egyptian magical texts, this book is a monumental scholarly achievement of many years’ labor in its own right and one that should serve as a model for future collaborative research. The work approaches its texts not from the angles of theology or ritual, but as part of a system for the storage and circulation of knowledge. One of the signature accomplishments of the book is to pry that system apart to reveal its complexity and internal diversity. The authors are able to trace the trajectories of spells as they circulate (with and without transformation and annotation) in all possible directions among free-standing copies and composite works and archives of various scales and purposes. They account for the roles of a variety of different actors: priests, freelance magicians, interested “amateurs,” and scribes. To this diversity of material the contributors bring to bear an equally dizzying array of methods, supported at crucial points by generous illustration. After all, they are simultaneously studying texts (looking at vocabulary, use of intertexts, annotations), manuscripts (considering paleography, mise en page, reuse of supports), and collections (examining the history of dealers and museum collections). And on top of that they situate their results in the context of important issues of historical context such as the changing fortunes of Egyptian religious institutions over time and trends in Greek/Egyptian/Near Eastern cultural interactions and beyond.

Just the detailed description of such a system would be a major contribution on its own, but the contributors also take the opportunity to point out ways to move from there to conclusions about broader social questions. In addition to the “practical” use of magical spells, they argue for more literary uses in some cases and therapeutic ends in others. And in the sphere of knowledge they point out important similarities and contrasts with, for instance, the circulation of medical recipes and the organization of bureaucratic collections of data. The latter line of inquiry will be particularly important going forward since the magical formularies may now be our best understood knowledge system from Classical Antiquity, and so this model can serve as a basis for the study of all the others.

The interlocked, highly multi-disciplinary arguments here are enabled not just by the individual talents of the contributors (formidable as those are), but also by the collaboration involved. Faraone and Torallas Tovar have assembled and continue to lead the kind of worldwide team that is increasingly important to the conduct of modern historical research. For its combination of breadth of vision and attention to detail and its value both within its immediate field of study and far beyond, we are delighted to honor The Greco-Egyptian Magical Formularies: Libraries, Books, and Individual Recipes with the Goodwin Award of Merit.

N. Bryant Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception

This extraordinary study of Herodotus demonstrates the freshness and intellectual vibrancy of reception studies at their very best. By engaging with a rich range of imperial authors writing in Greek (Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, Lucian, Pausanias) and by setting these figures in energetic dialogue with each other as a distinctive critical community of readers (each of whose individual voices demands an attentive hearing), Kirkland delivers innovative work that exemplifies (in his own words) “the multidirectional transit of receptive reading.” He not only challenges the idea of any final and complete version of ‘Herodotus’ (himself such a chameleon), but he also diversifies the canon of Greek literature, by breaking down distracting and unhelpful hierarchies which can sometimes manifest themselves if we implicitly deny nuanced creativity to some authors and banish them to the margins. Kirkland takes us deep into the different storyworlds and intellectual spheres of each writer, while also offering an overarching narrative of the afterlife of the Histories which in turn sheds new light back onto Herodotus as the starting-point.

The fruitfulness and deep learning of this remarkable book are visible on every page, whether when Kirkland explores what is so special about Herodotus’ second book that would prompt Lucian to draw on two of its passages at the start of the True Histories, or when he engages with Pausanias’ kinetic reception of Herodotus, which sees the later author complementing the earlier one in intriguing ways through simultaneous evocation and distancing. Kirkland draws together a challenging group of disparate imperial authors who really benefit from being considered together – but it is his strategy of using the reception of Herodotus as the red thread guiding us through the imperial maze which makes the comparisons brilliantly meaningful and mutually enriching. His approach to Herodotean imitation—or “Herodoteanism”—produces an expansive sense of Hellenism and its differences, through the plurality and polyvocality of Herodotus.

This is a highly original book, a real crucible of scholarly analysis that obliges us to think in fresh ways about the interrelationships between different texts, allowing us to calibrate voice, ethos, and thought across genres and time. One of the study’s many engaging qualities is the sheer delight with which Kirkland presents his research, making it accessible to his readers and inviting us to ask, again and again: “What would Herodotus do?” For these many reasons we are delighted to honour Bryant Kirkland’s Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature with the Goodwin Award of Merit.

Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, Society for Classical Studies