David Konstan

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David Konstan (born November 1, 1940 in New York City ) is an American classical philologist who studied at Wesleyan University (1967–1987), Brown University (1987–2010) and New York University (since 2010) worked. He emerged through editions and studies on Roman poetry, the ancient novel, Greek philosophy and the ancient world of the spirit.


Studies and academic career

David Konstan studied Classical Philology at Columbia University , where he received his bachelor's degree with a major in mathematics in 1961 . He then chose Greek and Latin as his main subjects, in which he received his master's degree in 1963 . After graduation, he taught classical philology from 1964 to 1965 at Hunter College and from 1965 to 1967 at Brooklyn College , while also preparing his dissertation on Catullus 64th poem, with which he received his Ph. D. in 1967 from Columbia University .

After completing his doctorate, Konstan received a position as Assistant Professor of Classics at Wesleyan University in 1967 . There he was appointed Associate Professor in 1972 and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek in 1977. In 1987 he moved to Brown University as Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature. During his more than 20 years at this university, he also took part in the self-administration of the university: in 1988/89 he was head of graduate studies in his subject, later chairing the Department of Classical Philology several times. From 1992 he received an endowed professorship with the name John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics and the Humanistic Tradition . From 2002 he also worked as a professor in the Graduate Faculty of Theater, Speech and Dance . From 2005 he was an associate member of the Institute for Philosophy.

In 2010, Konstan retired from Brown University at the age of 69 and ended his work there. However, he remained active in teaching and research and has been teaching as Professor of Classics at New York University since 2010 .

In addition to his academic teaching post, Konstan was involved in various scientific associations. As a long-time member of the Classical Association of New England and the American Philological Association , he participated in various functions in the management of these associations. In 1999 he was President of the APA and from 2002 to 2006 one of its representatives at the Fédération Internationale des Associations d'Études Classiques . He also directed the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy from 1988 to 1990 and was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies from 1996 to 2001 .

During his career, Konstan received numerous research grants, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1990 and 2004), the American Council of Learned Societies (1991), the Rockefeller Center (1991), the Guggenheim Foundation (1994), and the National Humanities Center (1995). In 2009 the Polish Neuropsychological Society awarded him the Copernicus Prize. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences elected him a member in 2009 and the Australian Academy of the Humanities made him an honorary member in 2012. In October 2014, the Language Sciences awarded him the University of Uppsala , the honorary doctorate .

Visiting professorships and lecture tours

As a speaker, guest lecturer and researcher, Konstan had numerous stays at various North American universities. He has given several lectures at Smith College (1975, 1979, 1985, 1992), the University of California at Los Angeles (1977, 1985, 1987), Cornell University (1983, 1985, 1988, 1992), Johns Hopkins University (1983, 1995, 2007), the University of Cincinnati (1985, 2002, 2009) and the University of Toronto (1986, 1992, 2001, 2012). He was also invited abroad, initially to Italy (1986, 1988) and France (1986). He visited English-speaking countries particularly frequently, for example Australia (1988, 1990, 1991, 2007, 2011, 2013), New Zealand (1988, 1991, 2002), Scotland (1991, 2002, 2014) and England (1991, 1995, 2000, 2014), where he gave the Corbett Lecture at the University of Cambridge in 1995 .

In 1993 he visited Zimbabwe and South Africa , where he gave several lectures: In Harare at the University of Zimbabwe and at the Classical Association of Central Africa, in Durban and Pietermaritzburg at the University of Natal , in Cape Town at the University of Cape Town , in Johannesburg at the Witwatersrand University and Rand Afrikaans University and the University of Pretoria .

Konstan undertook an extensive study and lecture tour in Europe in 1996. On this occasion he gave lectures at universities in Spain , Italy ( University of Palermo ), Norway , Sweden , Finland and Portugal . In 1999 he visited Cuba and gave lectures at the University of Havana and at the Unión Latina there. In 2000 he traveled to Brazil , 2001 to Greece , Spain and Scotland, 2002 to Venezuela and Argentina , 2003 to Chile , 2004 to the Netherlands , Colombia and Peru , 2005 again to Norway, Spain and England, 2006 to Switzerland and Germany , where he gave several lectures at the Humboldt University in Berlin in the Collaborative Research Center Transformations of Antiquity . In the same year the University of Ibadan in Nigeria invited him to give the Constantine Leventis Memorial Lecture.

In April and May 2009 Konstan stayed at Tel Aviv University . He had received a scholarship from the Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies . In 2013 he attended the university for the second time. The theme of his stay there was the ancient concept of forgiveness and reconciliation , about which he was preparing various publications at the time.

Konstan also stayed abroad as a visiting researcher and speaker in 2013 in Mexico , in 2014 in Lithuania , Germany ( University of Tübingen , University of Freiburg ), Spain ( University of Valencia ) and at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (via Skype ).

Scientific work

Roman poetry, ancient novel, Greek philosophy

Konstan deals with various aspects of Greco-Roman literature and culture. He published studies on the philosophy of antiquity , on Roman poetry ( Catullus , Horace , Comedy) and on the ancient novel . His book Some Aspects of Epicurean Psychology (1973) was translated into Italian in 2007 and was published in a revised form in 2008 under the title A Life Worthy of the Gods: The Materialist Psychology of Epicurus ; it was received positively in the professional world.

Konstan also participated in the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle Project (ACA), which publishes English translations of the extant ancient and Byzantine commentaries on Aristotle . His translation Simplicius on Aristotle's Physics 6 (1989) received the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title in 1988/89 from Choice Magazine . In addition, he translated the various commentaries on Aristotle's work on friendship (2001) and the commentary of Aspasius on books 1–4 and 7–8 of the Nicomachean Ethics (2006).

Konstan also published editions and translations of other philosophical writings. Together with four other philologists (Diskin Clay, Clarence Glad, Johan Thom and James Ware) Konstan published an annotated translation of Philodemos ' work Peri Parrhesias ( On Frank Criticism , 1998) and together with Donald Andrew Russell the first English translation of Heraclitus' Homeric Researches ( Heraclitus: Homeric Problems , 2005). He translated the collection of fragments and excerpts from the Stoic Hierocles by Ilaria Ramelli into English (2009).

Ancient spiritual life

Through his studies in Greek philosophy and literature, Konstan came to general themes of ancient intellectual life. He has written books on love and sexuality in the Greek novel ( Sexual Symmetry: Love in the Ancient Novel and Related Genres , 1994), on friendship ( Friendship in the Classical World , 1997; translated into Portuguese and Arabic) and on emotions. For his book Emotions of the Ancient Greeks (2006) he received the 2008 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit from the American Philological Association. Konstan analyzed the emotions classified by Aristotle in rhetoric and particularly emphasized the difficulties in adequately rendering them in English: The ancient emotions had no direct equivalents in modern English, so it was the philologist's task to present their exact meaning within the value system of the time.

Accordingly, Konstan had already explored the terms for pity and compassion in his book Pity Transformed (2001). Konstan analyzed the ancient equivalents of pity and compassion in Aristotle in different contexts (laws, humanity, religion, politics), gave outlooks on the development of terms in Christianity and referred to different scientific disciplines (psychology, biology, anthropology, philosophy and literature) a.

Together with Ilaria Ramelli, Konstan wrote a study on the meaning of the Greek adjectives aionios and aïdios , which roughly mean " eternal ". In his book, Before Forgiveness: The Origins of a Moral Idea (2010), Konstan advocated the thesis that the concept of interpersonal forgiveness was only developed in the 18th and 19th centuries as part of the secularization of Judeo-Christian thought, hence in did not exist in classical antiquity and was also very limited in ancient Judaism and Christianity (among the church fathers ). In 2014 Konstan published a book on the ancient concept of beauty called Beauty: The Fortunes of an Ancient Greek Idea .

Fonts (selection)

  • Some Aspects of Epicurean Psychology . Leiden 1973 ( Philosophia Antiqua 25)
    • Italian translation by Ilaria Ramelli: Lucrezio e la psicologia epicurea . Milano 2007 (completely revised and updated version)
    • New English edition entitled: A Life Worthy of the Gods: The Materialist Psychology of Epicurus . Las Vegas 2008
  • Catullus' Indictment of Rome: The Meaning of Catullus 64 . Amsterdam 1977 (extended dissertation)
  • Novel comedy . Ithaca (NY) 1983
  • Simplicius on Aristotle's Physics 6 ( Ancient Commentators on Aristotle ). Ithaca (NY) / London 1989
  • Sexual Symmetry: Love in the Ancient Novel and Related Genres . Princeton 1994
  • Greek Comedy and Ideology . New York 1995
  • Friendship in the Classical World . Cambridge 1997
    • Portuguese translation by Marcia Epstein Fiker: A amizade no mundo clássico . São Paulo 2005
    • Arabic translation: Abu Dhabi 2011
  • with Diskin Clay, Clarence Glad, Johan Thom and James Ware: Philodemus On Frank Criticism: Introduction, Translation and Notes . Atlanta 1998
  • Commentators on Aristotle on Friendship: Aspasius, Anonymous, Michael of Ephesus on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics 8 and 9 (Ancient Commentators on Aristotle). Ithaca (NY) / London 2001. ISBN 978-0-71563-071-6
  • with Heather McHugh: Euripides Cyclops . Oxford 2001
  • Pity Transformed . London 2001. ISBN 0-7156-2904-2
  • with Donald Andrew Russell : Heraclitus: Homeric Problems . Atlanta 2005. ISBN 1-58983-122-5
  • The Emotions of the Ancient Greeks: Studies in Aristotle and Classical Literature . Toronto 2006. ISBN 0-8020-9103-2
  • Aspasius, On Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1-4, 7-8 (Ancient Commentators on Aristotle). London / Ithaca (NY) 2006. ISBN 978-1-47255-813-8
  • with Ilaria Ramelli: Terms for Eternity: aiônios and aïdios in Classical and Christian Texts . Piscataway 2007. ISBN 978-1-59333-694-3
  • Before Forgiveness: The Origins of a Moral Idea . Cambridge 2010. ISBN 978-0-52119-940-7
  • Beauty: The Fortunes of an Ancient Greek Idea . Oxford 2014. ISBN 978-0-19-992726-5

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i David Konstan: Curriculum Vitae ( en , PDF; 587 kB) October 22, 2014. Accessed May 7, 2015.
  2. ^ Two new honorary doctors at the Faculty of Languages ( en ) Uppsala Universitet. October 16, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  3. Wilson H. Shearin: Review: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.10.39 ( s ) Retrieved on 20 May 2015. Lorenz Hull: Review: The Ancient History Bulletin Online Reviews 2 (2012) ( en , PDF) pp 54-56 . Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  4. Filippomaria Pontani : Review: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006-11-22 ( en ) Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  5. Review by Erlend D. MacGillivray: The Expository Times . Volume 123, No. 11 (August 2012), pp. 560ff.
  6. ^ Daniel M. Gross: Review: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006-07-69 ( en ) Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  7. Elizabeth Belfiore: Review: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 04/14/2002 ( s ) Retrieved on May 20, 2015.
  8. BN Wolfe: Review: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009-02-16 ( en ) Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  9. Jakub Jirsa: Review: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011-08-15 ( en ) Retrieved May 20, 2015.