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Prof. Glenn W. Most


Research Interests:

I am currently working on various projects involving both ancient Greek philology and the comparison of philological practices in different periods and cultures throughout the world. In particular I am co-editing a large one-volume lexicon of indigenous terminologies for philological practices, agents, institutions, genres, and materials in about 25 classical traditions throughout the world, I expect to finish a co-edited bilingual edition of the whole corpus of ancient and medieval scholia and commentaries to Hesiod’s Theogony, and I hope to begin work on a new bilingual edition of Aristotle’s fragments.


Glenn W. Most retired in November 2020 as Ordinary Professor of Greek Philology at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, and remains a regular Visiting Professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and an External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He has published books on Classics, on ancient philosophy, on the history and methodology of Classical studies, on comparative literature, cultural studies, and the history of religion, on literary theory and on the history of art, and has published numerous articles, reviews, and translations in these fields and also on such other ones as modern philosophy and literature. Most recently he has published the second, revised edition of Hesiod in two volumes in the Loeb series, a co-edited comprehensive Loeb edition of the early Greek philosophers in nine volumes, a co-edited volume on scholarly methods in a variety of canonical written traditions, a co-edited volume of essays on a sentence of Kafka, and a collection of his essays in Italian on ancient and modern psychology.

Project Abstract

Philological Temporalities: Transcultural Approaches to Time, Periodization and Time Awareness in Classical Text Cultures

The starting point of my project is the observation that philological practices are constitutive for cultural conceptualizations of time and indeed for cultural consciousness of time in general. Only a comparative study of the textual practices of various classical philological cultures can show in what way culturally specific understandings of temporality are expressed in them. My long-standing and intense cooperation with Berlin scholars in such fields as ancient Christianity, Classics, Mesopotamian studies, the history of science, and the history of philosophy allows my project "Philological Practices: A Cultural and Historical Lexicon" to be directly connected with the research program of Chronoi and to be coordinated with a number of philological research projects located in Berlin and elsewhere. 

This project aims to study the expressions of temporal consciousness present in such philological procedures of classical textual cultures as e.g. writing, copying, editing, erasing, commenting, collecting, excerpting, listing, storing, etc., and to consider the influence of such practices on conceptions of time in interaction with various perspectives like history and the history of religion, of philosophy, and of science. I hope to show how philological practices and media like genres such as encyclopedias and anthologies, corpus formations, translations, and writing systems lead to the expression of specific concepts of chronology, genealogy, tradition, filiation, and periodization. 

Cultural activities like writing and reading procedures, ritualized text appropriations, archivization and collection, understandings of transmission and tradition, and censorship and destruction of books articulate reflections on beginnings, endings, time, and timelessness. For the classical texts that are created, preserved, and disputed in classical philological traditions throughout the world not only come from the past and occupy the attention of the present: they also project into the future.

Curriculum vitae


1968-72: Harvard College, Cambridge MA (B.A. 1972)

1972-73: Corpus Christi College, Oxford University​

1973-76: Department of Comparative Literature, Yale University, New Haven CT (M. Phil 1978, Ph.D. 1980)

1976-78: Philologisches Seminar, Universität Tübingen (D.Phil. 1980)           ​

Positions held:

1980-85: Princeton University, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Classics

1985-86: Università degli Studi di Siena, Professore a Contratto ​

1986-97: University of Michigan, Visiting Associate Professor of Classics​

1987-91: Universität Innsbruck, Ordentlicher Universitäts-Professor für Klassische Philologie und Altertumskunde I ​

1991-2001: Universität Heidelberg, C-4 Universitäts-Professor für Gräzistik ​

1993: University of Michigan, Visiting Professor, Institute for the Humanities

1996: University of Chicago, Lurcie Visiting Professor, Committee on Social Thought

1997- : University of Chicago. Visiting Professor, Committee on Social Thought

2001-20: Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Professore Ordinario di Filologia Greca

2002: Venice International University

2003: Collège de France

2006: Université Paris IV Sorbonne

2009: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

2015: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Kosmos Summer University, Kosmos Fellow

2017: École Normale Supérieure, Paris

2019: Peking University, Beijing

Selected Publications

Doubting Thomas. Cambridge Mass./London: Harvard University Press (2005).

(Ed.). Aporemata. 5 Bde., Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1997-2001, 1. Collecting fragments = Fragmente Sammeln (1997); 2. Editing texts = Texte edieren (1998); 4. Commentaries = Kommentare (1999); 5. Historicization = Historisierung (2001); 6. Disciplining classics = Altertumswissenschaften als Beruf (6/2001).

(Ed.) The Classical Tradition. Cambridge Mass./London: Harvard University Press (2010). With Anthony Grafton and Salvatore Settis.

(Ed.) Canonical Texts and Scholarly Practices. Cambridge University Press (2016). With Anthony Grafton. 

(Ed.) Early Greek Philosophy. Vol. 1-9, Cambridge Mass./London: Harvard University Press (2016). (Loeb Classical Library 524). With André Laks.

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