September 16, 2009

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Erwin Cook will give the talk, "Epiphany in the 'Odyssey,' the 'Homeric Hymn to Demeter' and Eleusinian Cult," on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Gardner Lecture Hall of the Dana Engineering Building at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is the first event in this semester's Humanities Institute, "Concepts in Context: Excavating Ancient Aegean Culture." It is co-sponsored by the Humanities Residential College and the department of classics.

Common mythological patterns
Cook, who is the T.F. Murchison Distinguished Professor of Classical Studies at Trinity University, will discuss the common mythological patterns behind both the "Odyssey" and the "Homeric Hymn to Demeter," and he will also posit a direct relationship between the two works in terms of influence.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to hear an internationally distinguished scholar discuss the importance of the 'Odyssey' and its place in mythic traditions, as well as in its relation to other works of cultural significance, like the 'Homeric Hymn to Demeter,' a poem which was important in religious worship of the goddess Demeter from very early times," said Stephanie Larson, associate professor of classics at Bucknell.

Outstanding author
With the Trinity faculty since 2003, Cook received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of The Odyssey in Athens: Myths of Cultural Origins, selected as "One of the Outstanding Academic Books of 1996" by Choice. His research and teaching interests include Greek epic, archaic Greek history, Greek religion and comparative mythology.

The next event in the Humanities Institute series will be held Thursday, Oct. 22. John McK. Camp II, director of excavations at the Athenian Agora, will give the talk, "Democracy in the Ancient Athenian Agora," at 7 p.m. in the Gardner Lecture Hall, Dana Engineering Building.  There will be two additional lectures in this series in the spring semester.

The Charles H. Watts II Humanities Institute lecture series was established in 2006 by the CTW Foundation and its officers to honor the memory of Bucknell's 11th president. The Institute honors President Watts' love of the humanities, his dedication to learning, and his exceptional leadership at Bucknell by providing annual support for the interdisciplinary study of a selected topic of interest in the humanities.

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