Religion or Magic?: Scholar to Speak on Ancient Greek Philosopher Apollonius
January 6, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Roshan Abraham, assistant professor of classics and religious
studies at Washington University in St. Louis, will speak at Illinois Wesleyan University
as part of the Ides Lecture and Performance Series on Friday, January 15 at 4 p.m.
in the Beckman Auditorium of The Ames Library (1 Ames Plaza, Bloomington).
Abraham specializes in the study of Greco-Roman and early Christian religions. His
talk, “Apollonius of Tyana: Between Magic and Religion,” will explore perceptions
of the Greek philosopher Apollonius from the town of Tyrana, who was a contemporary
of Jesus of Nazareth in the first century.
Receiving a bachelor’s degree in English and classical languages from the University
of Kansas in 20002, Abraham earned a doctorate in classical studies from the University
of Pennsylvania in 2009. One of his areas of graduate research focused on the perception
of ascetic practices as religious ritual or magic.
Abraham’s work looks to the time of the Roman occupation of Greece, when philosophers
such as Apollonius who studied asceticism – characterized by abstinence and a rejection
of worldly pleasures – were often considered magicians, and a threat to the traditional
political and religious authority living in Greece.
For his scholarly endeavors, Abraham has been awarded the Mellon Fellowship for Humanistic
Studies and the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship. He is currently writing articles on
several other philosophers; as well as creating a historical and literary commentary
on Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius of Tyana, which is being drafted in collaboration with Jaap-Jan Flinterman of the University
of Amsterdam and Graeme Miles of the University of Tasmania.
The Ides is a lecture and performance series that is presented each month by the Greek
and Roman Studies Department. For additional information, contact the Director of
Greek and Roman Studies Nancy Sultan at (309) 556-3173.
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960