Professor of Humanities
His publications include over a dozen books, as well as numerous translations and original plays. His most recent books are Herakles Gone Mad: Rethinking Heroism in an Age of Endless War and Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War.
He has offered workshops on the translation and contemporary production of ancient drama at colleges and universities here and abroad, and has himself directed productions at such venues as the Samuel Beckett Centre, Dublin and the Nandan Centre for the Performing Arts in Kolkota, India. In recent years he has directed and participated in a range of events and programs concerned with healing the spiritual wounds of war in veterans, their families, and their communities. He has also published, blogged, and lectured widely on these matters of urgent national concern.
From Kurukshestra to the Swat Valley and from Troy to Baghdad, the experience of war shaped and shattered lives as much in the ancient world as it does in our own and in much the same ways. This course will examine and compare the accounts of war and its wounds-visible and invisible-as well as the forms of healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness that are to be found in epic and dramatic literature, as well as philosophical and religious writings, ancient and modern.
The aim of this course will be the comparative study of four ancient epics from India, Greece, Israel, and Italy. The core readings will comprise: the Ramayana, the Odyssey, the David Story, and the Aeneid. Each text will be considered both in its own historical and cultural context and in the larger shared context of bronze age epic, myth, and literature
An introduction to the archaeology, myth, history, art, literature, and religion of ancient Ireland: 4000 BCE to 1200 CE, from the earliest megalithic monuments to the Norman conquest. Consideration will be given, then, to these distinct periods: Pre-Celtic (Neolithic and Bronze Ages--4000 BCE-700 BCE); Pre-Christian Celtic (Late Bronze & Iron Ages--700 BCE-400 CE); and Early Christian Celtic (Irish Golden Ages and Medieval--700-1200 CE). The emphasis throughout will be on the study of primary material, whether artifacts or documents. Readings will include: selections from the Mythological, Ulster, and Finn Cycles; The Voyage of St. Brendan; The History and Topography of Ireland by Giraldus Cambrensis; the writings of Patrick; and selections from early Irish hagiography.
"Kafka arouses pity and terror, Joyce admiration, Proust and Gide respect, but no modern writer that I can think of, except Camus, has aroused love. His death in 1960 was felt a personal loss by the whole literate world." (Susan Sontag) This course will address the full range of his published writings - fiction, philosophy, and drama. The focus will be on the thought and art of Camus, with particular attention to the Hellenic foundations of Camus' vision, inattention to which has contributed to the most blatant and common misreadings of his work.
The earliest evidence of religious imagination suggests that the source of all life, death, and rebirth, the power of creation, sustenance, destruction, and re-generation, was first understood as feminine. Goddess worship, arguably the original "religion" of the human species, has survived not only in memory but also in practice to the present day, despite the hostility or indifference of virtually every "world religion" of the past several millennia. This class will look closely at a number of prehistoric and ancient goddess traditions from Europe, the Near East, and South Asia, examining their ancient forms and their enduring legacies. More specifically, this class will begin in the painted caves of prehistoric France and end on the streets of contemporary Kolkota, home to the largest and most vital Mother Goddess festival in the modern world, the festival of Ma Durga.