Social & Political Sciences

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Prof David Scourfield

Ancient Classics
Maynooth University


I came to Ireland to take up the Chair of Classics at NUI Maynooth in 1998. I cannot remember a time when I was not interested in ancient Greece and Rome, and at school in Wales I was fortunate to have a very inspiring Latin (and Greek) teacher, who did a great deal to shape my future. I studied for a BA in Classics at Jesus College, Oxford, and stayed on to write a doctoral thesis on the letters of Jerome under the supervision of Michael Winterbottom. After a period working in parliamentary administration in London, I took up a lectureship at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (‘Wits’) in 1984, became Head of Department four years later, and was appointed to the Jan Hofmeyr Chair of Classics in 1995. My career has been quite varied. In addition to teaching across a very wide range (from Homer to the Arab conquest of north Africa, and beyond), I have been fortunate to hold an array of interesting positions in several countries. I was joint editor of The Classical Review from 2002 to 2005, have for many years been an associated member of the Editorial Board of Akroterion (Stellenbosch, South Africa), and was formerly a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Scholia (Dunedin, New Zealand). From 2007 to 2013 I served as Chair of Council of the Classical Association, the largest subject organization for Classics in the UK, having previously (1997–8) held the post of Chair of the Classical Association of South Africa. I have also held appointments as Chair of the American Philological Association’s Committee on Classical Tradition and Reception (2013-14) and Vice-Chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s Committee for Classical and Near Eastern Studies (2010-13). I continue to represent the Royal Irish Academy on the Internationale Thesaurus-Kommission of the Thesaurus linguae Latinae, and am a member of (among other things) the Classical Reception Studies Network.

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