Struck, Peter T

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
  • Publication
    Plato and Divination
    (2014-01-01) Struck, Peter T
    Plato uses the idea of divinatory knowledge as a metaphorical descriptor for a variety of kinds of daytime, waking knowing. What unites these examples is that they all include discussion of a kind of knowing that cannot account for itself, and that is tentative, imagistic and non-discursive. These metaphorical uses can further be illuminated by his more detailed discussion of divinatory knowledge itself in Timeaus.
  • Publication
    Review of Oiva Kuisma, Proclus' Defense of Homer
    (1999) Struck, Peter T
    Since early studies of allegory by Buffière and Pépin, and J. Coulter's groundbreaking work on the Neoplatonists, a number of important studies have been published on Neoplatonic literary theory, including those by A. Sheppard, R. Lamberton, and J. Whitman.1 Oiva Kuisma has produced a further contribution to this growing area of study.
  • Publication
    Classics: Curriculum & Profession
    (2016-01-01) Struck, Peter T
    The challenges currently facing classicists are not so different from those our profession has faced for the last one hundred and fifty years, and with each challenge, a discipline sometimes imagined as outsiders to be slow to embrace the new has shown itself naturally disposed to experimentation. The discipline's agility derives from the unique degree of variegation in the modes of thinking required to thrive in it: from interpretive, to quantitative, to those relying on knowledge of culture and context. As the value of education is increasingly judged in terms of workforce development, we stand our best chance to thrive by sticking to our strengths, and anchoring our curricular goals and messages to the value of the liberal arts as a whole, as well as the intellectual dexterity that if fosters.
  • Publication
    Review of Luc Brisson, How Philosophers Saved Myths
    (2006-01-01) Struck, Peter T
    In this wide-ranging book, first published in German and French in 1996, Luc Brisson aims to cover two millennia of thinking on allegory in barely 160 pages. The result is a compressed overview with moments of great insight. Its strengths lie in the details Brisson is able to work into this brief treatment; its weakness lies in Brisson's failure to justify the system into which he arranges the whole.
  • Publication
    Iamblichus on Divination: Divine Power and Human Intuition
    (2017-01-01) Struck, Peter T
    Across the ancient Graeco-Roman world, divination is among the most salient ways in which the power of the divine involves itself in the human world. Of course, one could wait for a miracle, but the gods were talking to us all the time, and it would have been an utterly common occurrence for ancient observers to sense their gods' power emanating through the signs that were understood to course through the world around us. For decades, scholars have positioned these signs primarily as levers of social power. This has made the topic the province of historians and anthropologists seeking to gain a purchase on how those in control, and sometimes those from outside, harness the authority of the divine voice for their own ends. This approach has opened up rich veins of inquiry, with conversations across disciplinary boundaries and between students of different cultures and time periods.
  • Publication
    Animals and Divination
    (2014-01-01) Struck, Peter T
    This chapter examines the role of animals in divination in ancient times. It discusses ancient observers' interpretaion of signs coming from instinctive animal behaviour and from the structure of animal body parts. It explains the three main currents of philosophical thought on divination. Plato and Aristotle believed the divinatory insights to be tied with animal instinct and belong to a fringe form of cognition that is specifically connected with humans' animal natures. On the other hand, the Stoics considered divination as an important piece of their understanding of the cosmos as a whole, and of humans as part of it.
  • Publication
    The Invention of Mythic Truth in Antiquity
    (2009-01-01) Struck, Peter T
    It is commonly understood that the Greek term mythos means something entirely different from the modern definitions of 'myth'. Liddell and Scott tells the most authoritative version of the story: in Homer the term is a rather generic word for speech, and by the classical period it comes to mean something like a tall tale, usually a false and absurd one. Plato in the Gorgias opposes a mythos to a logos (a rational account) and to speaking truthfully: "Listen, then, as they say, to a beautiful story, which you will consider a myth, I think, but which I consider an actual accont (logon); for the things which I am about to tell, I will tell as the truth" (Plat. Gorg. 523a). Aristotle later coins it to mean the plot of a tragedy, and there the story seems to end. Though I have of course streamlined a bit, there are no other major developments. The ancient traditions of mythography do very little to challenge this narrative, since they display mostly antiquarian interest, where the concern for any truth-value is bracketed.
  • Publication
    Learning to Teach in the 21st Century
    (2007-02-20) Struck, Peter T
    No doubt all of us, with a few exceptions, face a challenge in making the material we teach relevant and compelling to a contemporary audience. I am a classicist. The following recounts my own struggle with the issue.
  • Publication
    The End of the Lecture?
    (2016-03-22) Struck, Peter T
    This is a challenging environment for the lecture. In recent years, we have seen a welcome degree of ferment and experimentation in teaching, mostly using technology. As innovators make their cases for this or that new way, they often find it useful to push back against the old. And when something is needed to push back against, it's usually the lecture that comes into their sights. In an OpEd in the New York Times last fall, Eric Mazur, a Harvard physicist, was quoted as saying, "it's almost unethical to be lecturing." Unethical. That's pretty strong beer.
  • Publication
    A Cognitive History of Divination in Ancient Greece
    (2016-01-01) Struck, Peter T
    For many millenia and across the whole Old World, from Eastern to Western Eurasia, and fro the tip of Southern Africa to the highlands of Britannia, people were in the habit of practicing divination, or the art of translating information from their gods into the realm of human knowledge. On a scale whose breadth we have yet to fully appreciate, they assumed clandestine signs were continuously being revealed through the natural world and its creatures (including their own bodies, asleep or awake). They received messages from temple-based oracles, as well as in their dreams, from the entrails of the animals they killed, from lightning, fire, lots, pebbles, livers, fired tortoise shells, the stars, birds, the wind, and nearly anything else that moved.1 These practices were not, for the most part, considered esoteric or marginal. The inclinations of the divine, like the weather, were simply a part of the ancient atmosphere, and just about wherever we look in the sources, we find people trying to gauge the prevailing winds. Scholars have yet to take account of the extraordinary diffusion of the phenomenon. It belongs to a small group of rather widely shared cultural forms from antiquity, alongside things like myth or sacrifice. While surely there is no easy, global answer as to why this is the case, better local answers will emerge from a fuller reckoning with this fact of near universal diffusion.