Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Paul Shorey Professor of Greek

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 2016


TNT Greek: Greek 010


Plato & Thucydides:  Greek 201


Interpreting Mythology: CSTS 375/675



Previous Courses


Publications and Projects:

(for downloads of publications see the Bryn Mawr Repository)



Myths of the Underworld Journey in Plato, Aristophanes, and the Orphic Gold Tablets: A Path Neither Simple Nor Single 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.


The Orphic Gold Tablets and Greek Religion: Further Along the Path, editor and contributing article and introduction for a collection of new and previously published articles on the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets Cambridge University Press (2011). (abstract)

 Reviews: Eidinow sehepunkte 11 (2011), Nr. 12; Pinchard BMCR 2011.10.54; Bowden, The Classical Review 62.2 (Oct 2012): 374-376.


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

Reviews: Parker BMCR 2014.07.13; Graziosi, Times Literary Supplement 28 May 2014; Rodrigues, Cadmo 23 (2013): 243-245; Cursaru, Revue de métaphysique et de morale 86.1/ 2016.


Plato and the Power of Images, edited by Radcliffe Edmonds and Pierre Destrée, Brill, 2017. [editor, also contributed introduction and one chapter] (conference website with abstracts)


Drawing Down the Moon: Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World (forthcoming Princeton University Press) (abstract)



"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.

"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. Oxford University Press (2013), pp. 97-106.

"Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered: Erotic Magic in the Greco-Roman World" in Blackwell Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities, ed. T. Hubbard. John Wiley & Sons (2013), pp. 282-296.

A Lively Afterlife and Beyond: The Soul in Plato, Homer, and the Orphica. Études platoniciennes 11: Platon et ses prédécesseurs – Psukhź:  (2014) [on line:].

“There and Back Again: Temporary Immortality in the Mithras Liturgy”, Conversion and Initiation in Antiquity: shifting identities - creating change, ed. Birgitte BŅgh,  Peter Lang, Early Christianity in the Context of Antiquity series (2014), pp. 185-201.

Imagining the Afterlife in Greek Religion” in Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion, eds. Eidinow, Esther & Julia Kindt, Oxford University Press (2015), pp. 551-563.

Entries for “Orphism and Orphica,””Orphic Gold Tablets,” “Derveni Papyrus,” “Magic,” “Hecate” and “Curse Tablets” for the Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, ed. Eric Orlin, Routledge (2015).

“Zagreus,” entry in the Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2015 (online:

“When I walked the dark road of Hades: Orphic katabasis and the katabasis of Orpheus,” in Katábasis in Greek Literary Tradition and Religious Thought, ed. Bonnechere & Cursaru. Les Études Classiques 83 (2015), pp. 261-279.

“Alcibiades the Profane: Images of the Mysteries in Plato’s Symposium,” Plato’s Symposium: A Critical Guide, ed. Pierre Destrée & Zina Giannopoulou, Cambridge University Press (2017), pp. 194-215.

“Putting him on a pedestal:  (Re)collection and the use of images in Plato’s Phaedrus,” in Plato & the Power of Images, ed. Radcliffe Edmonds & Pierre Destrée, Brill (2017), pp. 66-87.


“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 Brill).

“Deviant Origins:  Hesiodic Theogony and the Orphica,” in Oxford Handbook of Hesiod, (forthcoming Oxford University Press).

“The Ethics of Afterlife in Ancient Greece,” in Early Greek Ethics, ed. David Wolfsdorf, (forthcoming Oxford University Press).

“Underworld” entry in the Oxford Classical Dictionary. (forthcoming Oxford University Press).

“Greek Magic” entry in the Oxford Classical Dictionary. (forthcoming Oxford University Press).

“Orphic Eschatology” in Eschatology in Antiquity, ed. Hilary F. Marlow, Helen Van Noorden, and Karla Pollmann (forthcoming Routledge).


Associate Editor: Bryn Mawr Classical Review


Curriculum Vitae