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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Leuven, 17 May 2018

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:28am by Erik Shell.
Hellen Cullyer

A Day in the Life of a Classicist is a monthly column on the SCS blog written by Prof. Ayelet Haimson Lushkov celebrating the working lives of classicists. If you’d like to share your day, let us know here.

Hellen Cullyer is Executive Director of SCS.

There are days when I am traveling, days when I spend hours in front of my computer because of a looming deadline, and days when I am on the phone  / email / Skype most of the day dealing with a crisis. However, a typical day is something like the following on Monday-Thursday. Friday is different, as I explain below. On the average Monday-Thursday, I wake up early and have a quick breakfast before running out of the house to get my train. My work day starts as soon as I sit down on the train. I look at the to-do list that I have written the night before, and take stock of the whole state of the organization and figure out if there is anything crucial that I am forgetting to do. I also catch up on email during this time. Emails may be from members, directors, officers, committee members. At the moment, I have multiple email threads with President Joe Farrell in any given day. For his sake, I hope things will calm down a bit soon.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 4:30pm by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.

The deadline for the SCS's Ludwig Koenen Fellowship for Training in Papyrology is March 28th, 2018.

The competition is open to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and untenured faculty. Applicants must be SCS members, and the selection committee will make awards of at least $600 but no more than $1,800.  The application should consist of:

  • One-page single-spaced typed narrative description of the training to be undertaken and the funding amount requested.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • One letter of recommendation from someone who can address the importance of the training in papyrology for furthering your current research.
  • A list of any other sources of funding applied for with amounts requested.

Applications must be submitted as e-mail attachments to Executive Director Helen Cullyer at


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:24pm by Erik Shell.

HIPPOCRATES AND HIS MEDICAL SCHOOL: Tracing the roots of Bioethics back to the ancient Philosophers -Physicians

Ancient Olympia and Zacharo, Greece
July 29th-31st, 2018

Call for Abstracts and Papers

Hippocrates is most remembered today for his famous Oath, which set high ethical standards for the practice of medicine. The congress invites scientists, scholars and researchers to discuss Hippocrates’ revolutionary foundation in a multidisciplinary way and/or present relevant workshops.

We welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, including bioethics, biotechnology, politics, health and life sciences, law and philosophy as well as philosophy and fine arts, and/or other relevant disciplines and fields. Comparative studies (submissions) on the ancient Philosophers-Physicians before and after Hippocrates will be highly appreciated.

The conference aims at providing a platform for in-depth analysis and discussion of all above related areas.

Suggested Thematic Units:

  • Hippocrates Medical School applications
  • Ancient Philosophers –Physicians background
  • Bioethics
  • Fine arts therapeutic impact


April 30, 2018:  Abstract is due (300-500 words)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 9:54am by Erik Shell.

Authors: Celia E. Schultz (University of Michigan), Carole E. Newlands (University of Colorado), Ruth R. Caston (University of Michigan)

One night over dinner at the SCS in Toronto (2017), conversation turned to one of the more frustrating parts of standard graduate programs in Classics: the surveys of Greek and Latin literature. Students see these courses as great hurdles to leap over, and faculty (well, at least we) felt that their necessarily selective approach is undesireable and that the courses cannot possibly do justice to all the important goals set for them: improving students’ command of the languages and their speed in reading, preparing students for exams, giving students a sense of the chronological development of the classical literary tradition, and introducing them to important trends in scholarship.  Perhaps spurred on by the wine, we decided to see if anyone else felt the same way and to see if we could get a conversation started about how to improve the experience of survey for everyone. 

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 7:16pm by Celia Schultz.

The deadline for submitting:

  • All proposals for panels, workshops, seminars, and roundtable discussions.
  • Reports from organizers of committee, organizer-refereed, and affiliated group panels who have issued their own CFPs.
  • Proposals for organizer-refereed panels for 2020.
  • Applications for new affiliated group charters and for renewals of current charters.

is April 9th, one month from today. Individual abstracts are due April 25th.

Anyone hoping to submit an abstract or another proposal can do so on our program submission website.


(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 8:40am by Erik Shell.
Terracotta plaque with King Oinomaos and his charioteer, 27 B.C.–A.D. 68. Terracotta. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fletcher Fund, 26.60.31. Licensed under CC BY 1.0.

In the thirteen years I have been active as an independent scholar, I have learned that the independent scholar is in effect the mirror of an independent scholarly readership composed of individuals who are dedicated consumers of scholastic literature without being either presently matriculated students or academics themselves. I have come to believe that we cannot speak of the genuine flourishing of independent scholarship without taking this into account.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:09pm by Edward P. Butler.

SCS is calling for members to volunteer for SCS committees and leadership positions.

These positions include many current SCS committees as well as the newly-formed Graduate Student Committee which will make recommendations about issues that concern graduate students, including the curriculum and preparation for a variety of teaching, research, and other careers.  Descriptions of various positions and offices can be found here.

To volunteer, you can fill out the form linked on the Members Only page of our website. You must log in to the site to access this page. The deadline to apply for the Graduate Student Committee is April 12.  All other volunteer deadlines are May 2.  The graduate student committee will start work as soon as all members appointed.  Other appointed committee members will begin their terms in 2019.  Most elected offices will begin in 2020. 

If you have any questions about what might be expected of you feel free to email and we can put you in touch with the relevant committee chair or Vice President.


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 2:54pm by Erik Shell.

Call for Contributors: Tacitus Encyclopedia

Prof. Victoria Pagán, in contract with Wiley-Blackwell Press, is seeking contributors for an encyclopedic volume on Tacitus.

"Entries offer in-depth treatment of the content and contexts of Tacitus’ history and reception from antiquity to the 21st century. The Tacitus Encyclopedia will be published in two volumes in print and also online. It will comprise approximately 1,000 entries."

You can find a full description of the program here.


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

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:26pm by Erik Shell.

Congratulations to Melissa Y. Mueller (Associate Professor of Classics, University of Massachusetts Amherst) for winning the ACLS's Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars.

Her project is "Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading" and will take place at the National Humanities Center in 2019-2020.

The full list of Fellowship recipients and their projects can be seen here.


(Photo: "library" by Viva Vivanista, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 03/05/2018 - 10:28am by Erik Shell.


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