Getting to Grips with the Gods: Re-Thinking Religion in Ancient Greek Literature

How can we use poetry and drama to find out more about ancient Greek understandings of the gods? In this academic talk, Dr Emma Greensmith tells us about the huge role that ancient Greek poets such as Homer played in shaping people’s ideas of the gods – both in their time and long after their deaths! She helps us decode a papyrus fragment (found inside an Egyptian mummy!), which makes a case for the existence of atheism in the ancient world. Whether or not you have studied Classics before, this talk will help you develop knowledge and essential skills for subjects including religious studies, literature, and languages.

Watch Dr Greensmith’s talk below! You can find links to the further resources she mentions underneath the video.

Further resources

Talk by Dr Emma Greensmith, Tutorial Fellow in Classics at St John’s College, for the St John’s Inspire Programme Summer School.  

Dr Emma Greensmith, Tutorial Fellow in Classics

Dr Emma Greensmith is a Classicist specialising in ancient Greek literature and cultural history. She is Tutorial Fellow in Classics at St John’s College, Oxford and Associate Professor in Classical Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford. Before joining St John’s, Dr Greensmith held a Research Fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge. Prior to then, she was Visiting Assistant Professor of the Classics at Colgate University, New York (2017-18). She wrote her doctorate as part of the AHRC-funded collaborative project ‘Imperial Greek Epic: A Cultural History’ at the University of Cambridge (2014-17). Dr Greensmith is passionately committed to improving access to Classics, and finding the best ways to communicate the importance and value of Classics in today’s society.

Share with us!

We would love to see any examples of work that you do during your Inspire Summer School. This can be a photo of something you have made, a picture you have drawn, some written work (e.g. the start of a speech, or the answer to a question we asked), or some thoughts you have about what you have learnt! Submit your work to us through this form.

All pupils who share their work with us by August 31 2021 will receive a certificate of participation in the summer school and will be entered into a prize draw! A £10 Amazon voucher will be awarded to each winning entry, selected randomly from all submissions. If you give us permission, your entry may be shared on Inspire Digital and our social media alongside your first name.