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College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Joel P. Christensen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Classics
Department of Philosophy and Classics

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: (210) 458-7721
Office: MH 4.05.30 H

Research area: Greek Epic and Archaic Poetry; Rhetoric and Literary Theory; Linguistics; Myth

  • Biography

    Dr. Christensen received his BA from Brandeis University in Classics and English and his PhD in Classics from New York University, earning an additional Certificate in Poetics and Theory. He is actively engaged in research that explores the development of literature and language in ancient Greece. His dissertation, "The Failure of Speech: Rhetoric and Politics in the Iliad", an examination of the Iliad's internal conception of effective speech and the political importance of language, has developed into a series of articles on the use of language in Homer and the relationship between our Iliad  and a putative poetic tradition.

    In addition to explorations of language in the Iliad, Dr. Christensen also collaborates with E.T.E. Barker (Open University, U. K.) on rivalry and generic relationships in Archaic Greek poetry. Together they have published articles on the new Archilochus fragment, Oedipus in the Odyssey and are in the midst of a long-term project on the use of Theban myths in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Barker and Christensen have published a Beginner’s Guide to Homer and plan to publish their second book (Homer’s Thebes) within the next few years. In conjunction with his teaching and research interests, Dr. Christensen also writes on myth and its relationship with literary representations: he has published on the Gilgamesh poems, Greek myth and modern science fiction. In addition to being an active researcher, Dr. Christensen also has interests in New Media and conventional publications; he has recently started serving as the book review editor for The Classical Journal.

  • Recent Courses

    • Greek Courses: GRK1114, GRK1124, GRK2113
    • Myth: CLA2323 (Introduction to Mythology) and CLA3023 (Myth and Literature)
    • Literature: CLA3053 (Tragedy; Epic)
    • History: CLA3513 (Athens and Sparta; Alexander and the Hellenistic World)
  • Research in Progress

    • Beginner’s Guide to Homer (with E. T. E. Barker), One World Publications (July, 2013). View on Amazon.
    • “Innovation and Tradition Revisited: The Near-Synonymy of Homeric ΑΜΥΝΩ and ΑΛΕΞΩ as a Case Study in Homeric Composition.” The Classical Journal 108.3, 257-296. Stable URL.
    • “Ares: ἀΐδηλος: On the Text of Iliad 5.757 and 5.872.” Classical Philology 107.3, 230-238. Stable URL.
    • “First-Person Futures in Homer.” American Journal of Philology 131, 543-71. Stable URL.