Reception Studies

Reception Studies explore the relationship between ancient and modern texts and contexts, and offer unique opportunities to study works and ideas generally beyond the scope of the Classical discipline. For instance, Sigmund Freud’s influential reading of the Oedipus story in “Interpretation of Dreams”, Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the story about the Spartans at Thermopylae in 300, the modern Olympic movement’s iconic references to ancient Greece (e.g., the torch relay, the ceremonial flame, the Olympic oath, etc.), even the neo-Classical architecture of the Mellon Institute, Alumni Hall, and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial right here in Pittsburgh, are all examples of “receptions” by post-Classical cultures of ancient Greco-Roman texts and ideas. Several researchers in our department study post-Classical receptions of Greek and Latin culture, creating interdisciplinary research areas that span ancient and modern languages and literatures, philosophy, history of science, religious studies, film and theater studies, and the history of art and architecture. Researchers and students focusing on reception leverage these interdisciplinary connections not only to generate new insights about the receiving culture(s), but also to enrich our understanding of ancient sources as well.

Related Faculty