Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Paul Shorey Professor of Greek & Chair,

Department of Greek, Latin, & Classical Studies
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899

Office: Thomas 245
Office Phone: (610) 526-5046
Office Hours: MWF 9-10 or by appointment



Current Courses:

Fall 2013

Plato & Thucydides:  Greek 201


Interpreting Mythology: Classical Studies 375/675


Spring 2014

Homer: Greek 104


Eros in Ancient Greek Culture:  Classical Studies 209


Plato’s Phaedrus: Greek 644


Previous Courses


Publications and Projects:


1.     Myths of the Underworld Journey: Plato, Aristophanes, and the ‘Orphic’ Gold Tablets, Cambridge University Press, 2004. (abstract)

Reviews: Bernabé Aestimatio 2006 3: 1-13; des Bouvrie Journal of Religion 2006 86.1: 153-154; Bruss BMCR 2005.04.66; Burkert Gnomon 2007 79.4: 294-297; Clark Hermathena 2005 179: 215-219; Collobert Ancient Philosophy 2007 27.1: 219-223; Halliwell Notre Dame Philosophy Reviews 2005.05.01; Pirenne-Delforge L’Antiquité Classique 2006 75: 429-430; Rice Journal of Hellenic Studies 2006 126: 160-161.


2.     The Orphic Gold Tablets and Greek Religion: Further Along the Path, Cambridge University Press, 2011. (abstract)
[editor, also contributed introduction, critical edition of texts with translations, and one chapter]

Reviews: Eidinow sehepunkte 11 (2011), Nr. 12; Pinchard BMCR 2011.10.54.


3.     Redefining Ancient Orphism: A Study in Greek Religion, Cambridge University Press, 2013. (abstract)


4.     Drawing Down the Moon: Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World (book in preparation, under contract at Princeton University Press) (abstract)


5.     Plato and the Power of Images, (volume edited with Pierre Destrée, planned for Brill).




"Tearing Apart the Zagreus Myth: A Few Disparaging Remarks on Orphism and Original Sin," Classical Antiquity 18.1 (1999), pp. 35-73. (abstract) (article)

"Socrates the Beautiful: Role Reversal and Midwifery in Plato's Symposium," Transactions of the American Philological Association 130 (2000), pp. 261-285. (abstract) (article)

"Did the Mithraists Inhale? - A Technique for Theurgic Ascent in the Mithras Liturgy, the Chaldaean Oracles, and some Mithraic Frescoes," Ancient World 32.1 (2000), pp. 10-24. (abstract) (article)

"Who in Hell is Heracles? Dionysos' Disastrous Disguise in Aristophanes' Frogs," in Initiation in Ancient Greek Rituals and Narratives: New Critical Perspectives, eds. Dodds & Faraone, Routledge 2003, pp. 181-200. (abstract) (article)

"At the Seizure of the Moon: The Absence of the Moon in the Mithras Liturgy," in Prayer, Magic, and the Stars in the Ancient and Late Antique World , eds. Noegel, Walker, & Brannon, Penn State University Press, 2003, pp. 223-239. (abstract) (article)

"Faces of the Moon: Cosmology, Genesis, and the Mithras Liturgy," in Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions, eds. Ra'anan S. Boustan & Annette Yoshiko Reed, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 275-295. (abstract) (article)

"To Sit in Solemn Silence? Thronosis in Ritual, Myth, and Iconography," American Journal of Philology 127 (2006), pp. 347-366. (abstract) (article)

"Extra-ordinary People: Mystai and Magoi, Magicians and Orphics in the Derveni Papyrus," Classical Philology 103 (2008), pp. 16-39. (abstract) (article)

"Recycling Laertes' Shroud: More on Orphism and Original Sin" (article published online at the Center for Hellenic Studies) (abstract)

"Who are you? Mythic Narrative and Identity in the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets," in Mystic Cults in Magna Grecia, ed. Patricia Johnston & Giovanni Casadio, University of Texas Press (2009), pp. 73-94. (abstract) (article)

"A Curious Concoction:  Tradition and Innovation in Olympiodorus' Creation of Mankind" American Journal of Philology 130 (2009), pp. 511–532. (abstract) (article)

"The Children of Earth and Starry Heaven:  The Meaning and Function of the Formula in the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets," in Orfeo y el orfismo: nuevas perspectivas, Alberto Bernabé, Francesc Casadesús y Marco Antonio Santamaría (eds.), Alicante : Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes (2010), pp. 98-121. (abstract) (article)

"The Bright Cypress of the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets: Direction and Illumination in Myths of the Underworld," in Light and Darkness in Ancient Greek & Roman Mythology and Religion. Lexington Books (2010), pp. 221-234. (abstract)

"Orphic Mythology" in Blackwell Companion to Classical Mythology (2010), pp. 73-106. (abstract)

"Blaming the Witch:  Some Reflections upon Unexpected Death," in Women and Gender in Ancient Religions: Interdisciplinary Approaches, ed. S. Ahearne-Kroll & J. Kelhoffer. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck (2010), pp. 241-254. (abstract)

Entries for “Underworld”, “Afterlife”, “Styx” and “Necromancy” in The Homer Encyclopedia, ed. Margalit Finkelberg Wiley-Blackwell (2010).

“Who are you? A brief history of the scholarship” in The Orphic Gold Tablets and Greek Religion, Cambridge (2011), pp. 3-14.

“Texts and Translations” in The Orphic Gold Tablets and Greek Religion, Cambridge (2011), pp. 15-50.

"Sacred Scripture or Oracles for the Dead?  The Semiotic Situation of the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets," in The Orphic Gold Tablets and Greek Religion. Cambridge (2011), pp. 257-270. (abstract)

 “Festivals in the Afterlife:  A New Reading of the Petelia Tablet (OF 476.11)” in Tracing Orpheus. Studies of Orphic Fragments. Herrero de Jáuregui, M., Jiménez San Cristóbal, A., Luján Martínez, E., Hernández, R., Santamaría Álvarez, M., & Torallas Tovar, S. (2011), pp. 185-188.

“Whip Scars on the Naked Soul: Myth and Elenchos in Plato's Gorgias” in Platonic Myths: Status, Uses, and Functions, ed. Collobert, Destrée & Gonzalez, Brill (2012), pp. 165-186. (abstract)

Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World.” In Oxford Bibliographies Online: Classics. Ed. Dee Clayman. New York: Oxford University Press.

“Dionysos in Egypt? Epaphian Dionysos in the Orphic Hymns”, in A. Bernabé, M. Herrero de Jáuregui, A. I. Jiménez San Cristóbal, R. Martín Hernández (eds.), Redefining Dionysos, Walter De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston, 2013, 415 – 432.


“The Ephesia Grammata: Logos Orphaikos or Apolline Alexima pharmaka?” in The Getty Hexameters: Poetry, Magic, and Mysteries in Ancient Selinous, ed. Christopher Faraone & Dirk Obbink (forthcoming Oxford University Press).

“Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered: Erotic Magic in the Greco-Roman World” in Blackwell Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities, ed. T. Hubbard. (forthcoming)

“Persephone and Ļοινή: Recompense for the Powers of the Underworld in the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets and Pindar fr. 133,” in Ritual Texts for the Afterlife, ed., Graf, Fritz, (forthcoming). (abstract)

 “Imagining the Afterlife in Greek Religion” in Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion, eds. Eidinow, Esther & Julia Kindt, (forthcoming Oxford University Press).

“A Lively Afterlife and Beyond:  The Soul in Plato, Homer, and the Orphica,” in Platon et ses prédécesseurs – Psukhź: Les Etudes Platoniciennes (forthcoming).

“Misleading and Unclear to the Many: Allegory in the Derveni Papyrus and the Orphic Theogony of Hieronymus”, in 50 Years of the Discovery of the Derveni Papyrus (1962-2012), ed. Santamaria (forthcoming Oxford University Press).

Entries for “Orphism and Orphica,” “Derveni Papyrus,” “Magic,” “Hecate” and “Curse Tablets” for the Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, ed. Eric Orlin, (forthcoming Routledge).

“There and Back Again: Temporary Immortality in the Mithras Liturgy”, Conversion and Initiation in Antiquity: shifting identities - creating change, ed. Birgitte BŅgh, (forthcoming Peter Lang, Early Christianity in the Context of Antiquity series).



Associate Editor: Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Editorial Board: Religion Compass Graeco-Roman Religions


Curriculum Vitae