Call for Papers: ISNS Conference in Los Angeles

Below is the list of eleven proposed panels for the 16th annual ISNS conference, to be held in Los Angeles on June 13-16, 2018, in conjunction with Loyola Marymount University.

  • If you wish to submit a one-page abstract for a panel, please send it to the panel organizer(s) for that specific panel. 
  • If you wish to submit an abstract for the conference that does not fit well into any of the proposed panels, please send that abstract to the four conference organizers:

          Eric Perl <>

          David Albertson <>

          Marilynn Lawrence <>

          John Finamore <>

All abstracts (whether for specific panels or not) are due by February 26, 2018.

Papers may be presented in English, Portuguese, French, German, Spanish, or Italian.  It is recommended that those delivering papers in languages other than English provide printed copies to their audience at the conference.

Please note that anyone giving a paper at the conference must be a member of the ISNS. You may sign up and pay dues on the web site of the Philosophy Documentation Center:

Dues are $60.00 per year ($20.00 for students and retirees).   

Participants may give only one paper at the conference and therefore should submit only one abstract.

If you have any questions, please email (

Call for abstracts for the 2018 ISNS Conference in Los Angeles

Renaissance and Early Modern Platonisms

Sara Itoku Ahbel-Rappe <>

Now that Ficino's Parmenides Commentary has been published, it might be time to think more systematically about the evolution of Ficino's thought as a whole, or indeed, about the intellectual and literary trajectories of Renaissance Platonism. Authors of interest include Ficino, naturally, but also other authors including Cusa, Kepler, Bruno and possibly extending to Cambridge Platonism. We also might think about the figures who made this Renaissance possible, such as Pletho.

Divine Power and Presence in Later Platonism:  Theurgy, Ritual, Epistemology, Aesthetics, and Metaphysics

Robert Berchman <>

It is well-known that for later Platonists, ‘becoming like a god’ was considered the central goal of philosophy, following Plato’s Theaetetus 176b-c.  This panel invites papers which consider the ways in which divine power and presence were conceived and conceptualised within Neoplatonism and Early Christianity in relation to first philosophy, theurgy, contemplation, contemplative prayer and ritual practices - but also in relation to metaphysics, ethics, ontology, epistemology, theology and cosmology. How was divine identity, divine assimilation or divinization conceived by Neoplatonic philosophers, such as Origen, Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus and Proclus?  How were divine power and presence connected with metaphysical, ethical and ontological principles and notions within a variety of later Platonisms?  What relation was postulated between first principles, divine power or presence and cognitive states, rationality and epistemology?  Can we study first principles, divination and theurgy within the context of the history of the philosophy of mind and language?  From this perspective, is it possible and productive to focus on the non-propositional and non-discursive languages often employed by Neoplatonists and Christians for the purpose of effecting union with the divine?  Is it useful to focus on the aesthetic dimensions of later Platonic contemplative prayer, ritual and theurgic practices?  What is the significance and the possible implications of the doctrine of the henads, as seen in Proclus (and possibly also in Iamblichus’ philosophy)?  This panel invites papers that consider any of these issues or other topics relating to divine power and presence.  Papers on the reception of later Platonic conceptions of the divine, ritual texts and ideas within later historical, philosophical and cultural contexts are also encouraged, as are papers that utilise interdisciplinary approaches and cross-cultural perspectives

Platonising heresy in the early modern period: the case of Origen’s revival 

Andrea Bianchi, Giovanni Tortoriello

The early modern period marks arguably a new era in the history of the reception of Plato in the West. The rediscovery of one of the most controversial figures in the history of Christianity, namely Origen of Alexandria, meant at the same time the reappraisal of Plato and Platonism. As for Origen himself, he was both accused and defended by different sides and for the most varied reasons. Although in 1486 Giovanni Pico della Mirandola was accused of heresy for having claimed in his 900 Theses that Origen might be rather saved than damned, for example, at the beginning of the following century the “prince of humanists”, Erasmus of Rotterdam, set Origen at the cornerstone of his biblical exegesis. Origen and, in some occasions, his Platonic background became gradually a hotly debated topic. 

The start of the Protestant Reformation sparked even more the debate on the figure of Origen. Martin Luther himself, for example, repeatedly stressed his belief in the damnation of Origen and Philipp Melanchthon, Luther’s closest collaborator, identified in Origen the first perverter of the doctrine of justification, and one that improperly mixed philosophy and theology, namely Platonism and Christianism. Plato and Platonism must have their own role in the history of philosophy, so Melanchthon, but they have not to be confused with the faith in Jesus Christ. 

In the following century, the dispute on the role of Origen and his Neoplatonic philosophy in the history of Christianity continued. Socinians accused the early Church, in particular Origen and Clemens of Alexandria, of having distorted Christianity through the use of Platonic concepts. An emblematic work in this direction was for example Souverain’s “Le Platonisme dévoilé”, published in 1700, which described the early years of Christianity as the “Platonic captivity”. Together with Origen’s thought, Platonism too became thus somewhat “heretic” over the centuries. 

In light of these historical developments, this panel welcomes contribution on the reception of Platonism in the early modern period broadly understood (roughly 1500- 1700), as mediated through Origen of Alexandria. Although there is a large bibliography on the history of the influence of Plato and Neoplatonic authors in the early modern period, it is not sufficiently examined how the reading of Origen influenced the understanding of Platonism and its relationship with Christian thought. Possible topics of enquiries could be, but are not limited to: 

- Origen’s theology and its relationship with Platonic philosophy; 

- Platonic, Origenist, and Christian metaphysics: 

- Origen’s influence on the relationship between Platonism and Christianity. 

Ex uno nihil fit nisi unum: Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew Perspectives.

Michael Chase <>

At the beginning of his Commentary on the Liber De Causis (lib. 1, tract. 1, cap. 16, p. 13, 69-71 Fauser), Albert the Great writes: “This proposition, that from what is one and simple, only what is one can result (ab uno simplici non est nisi unum) is written by Aristotle in a letter which is on the Principle of the Being of the Universe (qui est de principio universi esse), and it is taken up and explained by Al-Farabi, Avicenna and Averroes”.

The principle that from what is one only what is one can derive, lies at the basis of what is known as the Neoplatonic theory of emanation, and represents one answer to the age-old conundrum of how the Many can derive from the One. Its antecedents have been traced back to Alexander of Aphrodisias, Plotinus, and the pseudonymous Theology of Aristotle, while its influence has been discerned in Avicenna, Maimonides, and Thomas Aquinas, to name but a few. This panel solicits contributions on all aspects of this principle and the question it is intended to answer: from the Presocratics to the Middle Ages, in Greek, Latin, Arabic, or Hebrew. What are the origins of this principle? Is there any possibility that, as Albert maintains, could Aristotle have actually said such a thing? How is it supposed to solve the problem of the origin of multiplicity? What was its influence on medieval thought, in all the languages of the Abrahamic tradition?

Beauty and Pedagogy in Neoplatonic Thought

David Ellis <>, Gary Gurtler, S.J. <>, Santiago Ramos <>

This panel invites papers that explore the relationship between beauty and pedagogy in Neoplatonic thought, its sources and its influences.  Pedagogy includes multiple strategies, methods, and aims to acquire a knowledge, art, or practice that induces conversion of the soul.  Beauty signals a form that draws the soul upward; it begins with appearance, but compels a movement beyond appearances to their source.

The relationship between beauty and pedagogy surfaces a multitude of questions: What is a proper judgment about beauty? How does one discern the power of beauty? What types of beautiful things aid pedagogy – music, virtue, bodies? If the goal of pedagogy is directed to the best kind of life, how

Does beauty contribute to that goal? These and similar issues are invited for discussion.

Conceptions of the Soul in Plato, Aristotle, and the Platonic Tradition

John F. Finamore <> and Svetla Slaveva-Griffin <>

In several dialogues, including the Phaedo, Republic, Phaedrus, and Timaeus, Plato investigated the nature and function of the soul. Aristotle criticized Plato and in his turn created his own theory of soul. Later Platonists used Plato and Aristotle’s as models for their own interpretations of the soul.

This panel will focus on this evolution of thought on the nature and function of the soul.  Contributors may wish to consider such questions as how the doctrine of soul changed over time, how individual authors modified earlier views and their reasons for doing so, the problems raised by the soul’s immortality and transmigration, etc.

Eros and Philosophy in Plato and the Neoplatonic Tradition

Elizabeth Hill <>

It is a fact generally known, though perhaps not fully acknowledged, that Plato's philosophy is deeply rooted in his ideas on Eros and its role in the cultivation of human knowledge. There are, therefore, important questions regarding the implications of eros in Plato that the Platonist and Neoplatonist need to ask. For example, what is the relationship between the so-called "erotic dialogues" and the later metaphysics of texts like the Timaeus? What does Plato's use of eros in his epistemology mean for understanding the relationship between the body and the soul? And what might Plato's treatment of eros as a ladder of ascent toward the Good mean for his views on interpersonal love and ethics? This panel will focus on highlighting the important questions relating to eros in Plato, as well as on possible responses to and developments of Plato's ideas found within the dialogues and within the Neoplatonic tradition more broadly.

Nature, Ecology, and Neoplatonism

Marilynn Lawrence <>

What would Plato say about the extinction of species? What would Plotinus and other neoplatonists say about climate change and plastic in the ocean? For all of our love of neoplatonism and for the nuances and surprises we find in neoplatonic writers, we shouldn’t lose sight that we are in an ecological crisis brought on by humanity’s effect on the environment.  Platonic and neoplatonic views of nature differ from the way we thinking about the natural world today.  For example, nature was an activity of the World Soul for Plotinus. Can we adapt ancient ways of thinking to create new ways of relating to nature? Can the work of neoplatonic writers be used in combination with other philosophies and disciplines to provide a better approach to the ecology crisis? This panel would like to explore these questions along with any topic that relates to neoplatonic understanding of nature, ecosystems, and the environment.

Neoplatonism in Comparative Light: The Search for a Transcendent-Immanent God

Deepa Majumdar <>

Given these times when a resurgent nationalism is pitted against cosmopolitanism, it may be important to foster harmony and dialogue among diverse cultural and religious traditions. One way is to engage in theological comparisons between different conceptions of the Divine.

In this panel, we reach beyond the west to seek harmony-amidst-differences or striking parallels between Neoplatonism and other traditions – whether western or not. We welcome papers that explore the similarities and differences between different conceptions of the Divine – especially those that examine the details of the structure of the eternally simultaneous transcendence and immanence of the First Principle

The One and the Dao

Christos Sideras <>

We welcome proposals for a panel on the relationships between Neoplatonism and Daoism. Bearing in mind the internal heterogeneities within the two traditions, this may include discussions around oneness, duality, and multiplicity, as well as the origin of multiplicity, principles of form and formlessness, the finite and infinite, determination and indetermination, temporal and atemporal, processes of separation, union, and transmutation. Discussions around the nature of the self in the two traditions, the ways that are of the good and virtuous living, how rituals and particular practices, including fasting, can serve to prepare the person for re-union with the prime divine origin, and the role of nature in all, are also welcomed. We note that though proposals may be informed by the above themes, they are, however, not restricted by them, and we would also value contributions outlining divergence as well convergence.


The Good and the Beautiful in the Platonic Tradition

Michael Wagner <>

Papers are invited on the concepts of good and beauty (and/or the beautiful), and their relationship to one another, in Platonic/Neoplatonic philosophies from all periods (classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern/contemporary) of Platonic thought.  Papers may also examine their place and role in such topic areas as aesthetics, ethics, psychology, and conceptions of eros.


(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)


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San Diego

The local guide to San Diego is now available!  Many thanks to our local arrangements committee.

As a reminder, December 14 is the deadline to sign up for our Career Networking session and to make a hotel reservation at our group rate. 

See our 2019 Annual Meeting page for details.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 12/12/2018 - 9:53am by Helen Cullyer.

XenoiHospitality and Xenophobia in the Graeco Roman World

12th Annual Graduate Student Conference
March 15, 2019
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Keynote Speaker: Rebecca Futo Kennedy, Denison University

The PhD/MA Program in Classics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York invites graduate students in Classics or related fields to submit abstracts for papers that explore the topics of hospitality and xenophobia in the Graeco-Roman world.

Hospitality is commonly recognized as an important value in the ancient Greek world. Xenia - or guest friendship - was a political and religious institution as well as an instrument of diplomatic relations. Through practices of supplications, strangers and foreigners demanded to be received in aristocratic houses or in whole cities. On the other hand, there is an emerging debate about the existence of xenophobia and ethnocentrism in the ancient world, from the distinction between Greeks and barbarians to the Roman treatment of enemies and slaves.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 12/11/2018 - 3:20pm by Erik Shell.
150th Logo

As part of the organization's Sesquicentennial celebrations, SCS has developed a short history of its book publications. You can read that history here and download a full list of books published by SCS, formerly the American Philological Association.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:35am by Helen Cullyer.


May 2-4, 2019, College Park, Maryland

The Department of Classics at the University of Maryland, College Park, invites proposals from university and K-12 teachers and graduate students for papers and workshops on the ways in which Latin and ancient Roman civilization are now being taught to and connected with a contemporary American audience, with special emphasis on issues of contemporary urgency such as the legacies of gender and social inequality and of slavery. 

The "Classics" were etymologically and institutionally synonymous with attending "class" in the United States from the colonial period up until the end of the nineteenth century.  Americans studied Roman history and literature in school and thus Rome seemed already to be their “home,” especially since the Romans deposed kings who once ruled them just as revolutionary Americans set out to do with the British King. Over its second century, however, America gradually confronted its idealization of a Roman past and began to explore, in discussions of women's rights, of sexual identity, of multiculturalism, and of the fall of Rome, the ways in which the realities of antiquity might speak to us.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 12/10/2018 - 9:47am by Erik Shell.

Prof. Laura Gawlinski takes a look at the newly renovated Epigraphic Museum in Athens and notes the ways in which museums are working to make their holdings more accessible for students, teachers, and the public. 

Renovated Room 11. Molly Richardson (ASCSA/ SEG) introduces the EM to members of the Regular Program of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. 

Many readers of the SCS blog have had the pleasure of carrying out research at the Epigraphic Museum in Athens. If you haven’t visited in a while, it is well worth stopping by to see the results of the recent renovations of its two main exhibition rooms, celebrated in a grand opening ceremony on May 25, 2017. 

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/10/2018 - 7:27am by Laura Gawlinski.

Classical reception comes in many forms—including beer. Just ask Colin MacCormack, a Classics graduate student at the University of Texas-Austin. For the past few years, he has been brewing his own beer with classically inspired names and labels that he makes himself. He often serves these brews at annual lectures or at department functions.

I can attest firsthand to the fact that MacCormack’s beer is delicious, but what stuck with me longer than either his hoppy Rye Pale Ale or his Ale Caesar! Honey-Sage IPA was the time he put into his beer labels. It got me thinking not only about the way that the ancient world is reshaped in popular culture, but what role Classicists can and should have in shaping that reformulation.

Figure 1: At the Classics Department at UT-Austin's annual William J. Battle Lecture, graduate student Colin MacCormack brews and labels beer for the annual lecturer. In 2017, there was a rye pale ale and a Belgian style quadrupel (Image taken by Sarah E. Bond right before she drank both of these beers).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 7:01am by Sarah Bond.

Philip Levine

September 8, 1922 - November 25, 2018

Dr. Philip Levine died at age 96 on Sunday, November 25, 2018. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, he moved to Beverly Hills in 1961 where he resided for the rest of his life. He leaves behind two sons, Jared and Dr. Harlan, who were his biggest source of pride, and four grandchildren, Zoe, Zachary, Hannah and Zane, who were a source of joy later in life.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:29am by Erik Shell.

(Written by Ralph Rosen and Joe Farrell, with assistance from Karen Faulkner and James O’Donnell)

Wesley D. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, died at his home in Philadelphia on June 23, 2018. He was 88 years old.

Wesley was born in the copper-mining town of Ely, Nevada on March 26, 1930. His family moved to Seattle, where he attended public schools and the University of Washington, where he earned a BA in Classics in 1951. He went on to graduate work at Harvard University, earning his MA in 1953 and his PhD in 1955. That same year, he began teaching in the Classics Department at Princeton University, but was immediately drafted into the U.S. Navy upon the expiration of his student visa. Between 1956  and 1958, his duties included organizing and running high school classes for naval recruits in Virginia. In later life, Wesley liked to say that he ran the first racially integrated school in that state. He returned to Princeton in 1957, and then in 1961 moved to Penn, where he remained, rising through the cursus honorum from assistant professor to associate professor to professor, until his retirement in 1996. 

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:15am by Erik Shell.
This year, thirteen intrepid classicists ventured into uncharted territory: they wrote business cases for the "Becoming a Leader" series of Ancient Leadership case studies for the online SAGE Business Cases (SBC). Following on their successful experiment, I would like to invite you to submit case proposals for "Emotional Intelligence and Leadership", the next series of Ancient Leadership cases for SBC.
View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 12/04/2018 - 8:42am by Erik Shell.


This year the SCS Is proud to announce two winners of our annual Outreach Prize.

Please join us in congratulating the University of Cincinnati and Dr. Sarah Bond for their unparalleled efforts.


The Classics Outreach Program of the University of Cincinnati

The Outreach Prize Committee is very happy to award the 2018 SCS Outreach Prize to the University of Cincinnati’s Classics Outreach Program.

For a decade now, the Classics Outreach Program has been taking the “Classics for All” mission to heart. In close consultation with faculty members who serve as mentors, Cincinnati Classics graduate students have been meeting with a wide variety of local audiences and sharing with them the wonders of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Ancient Mediterranean more broadly.

Driven by their love of teaching and passion for the material, the members of the Outreach Program have devoted their time and energy to bringing the classical world in all its complexity to many who would not otherwise have such a chance to explore them: students in elementary, middle, and high schools (private and public; suburban and inner-city); community and youth centers; and the elderly in retirement communities and nursing homes. UC’s Outreach Program has thus helped cultivate interest in classical culture amongst a broad range of constituents.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 12/03/2018 - 2:49pm by Erik Shell.


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