Duke University | Classical Studies:

    William A Johnson
  • William A Johnson

  • Professor of Classical Studies
  • Classical Studies
  • 229B Allen Building
  • Campus Box 90103
  • Phone: (919) 684-2082
  • Fax: (919) 681-4262
  • Office Hours: (changes by term); also by chance and by appointment
  • Homepage
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Bio

    William A. Johnson works broadly in the cultural history of Greece and Rome, with particular interest in ancient books, readers, and reading, and with a general interest in how literary pursuits intersect with cultural context in antiquity. He has lectured and published on Plato, Hesiod, Herodotus, Pliny (both Elder and Younger), Gellius, Lucian and on a variety of topics relating to books and readers, both ancient and modern. Some prominent and illustrative examples: "Towards a Sociology of Reading" (American Journal of Philology, 2000), winner of the Gildersleeve Prize; "Reading cultures, Technology, and Education" (in Reading between the Lines, Yale University Press, 2003); his book on the book, Bookrolls and Scribes in Oxyrhynchus, a close study of the artefactual remains of over 400 papyrus bookrolls (University of Toronto Press, 2004); Ancient Literacies, an edited volume exploring new approaches to the topic (Oxford University Press, 2009); and his recent Readers and Reading Culture in the High Empire, a study of elite reading communities under Trajan and the Antonines (Oxford University Press, 2010). Other work has focused on ancient music; he produced the editio princeps for two of the very rare papyrus documents containing ancient Greek music (see classics.uc.edu/music). He teaches a wide range of Greek and Latin topics to undergraduate and graduate audiences; graduate seminars have included studies of literary papyri, Herodotus, Plato, Hesiod, Lucian, Pliny the Younger, Ancient Libraries, and Roman Villa Culture.
  • Research Summary

    Greek historiography; Greek and Roman literature and cultural history; ancient books and readers; ancient music; literary papyri NOTE: See my web page (link above) for a fuller and easier to read curriculum vitae.
  • Education

      • PhD in Classical Philology,
      • Yale University,
      • 1992
      • M.A. in Greek Literature,
      • Department of Classics,
      • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,
      • 1981
      • BA in English Literature & Latin Literature,
      • Oberlin College,
      • 1978
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • Dean's commendation on teaching excellence,
      • Duke University,
      • Spring 2013
      • Dean's commendation on teaching excellence,
      • Duke University,
      • Spring 2011
      • Dean's commendation on teaching excellence,
      • Duke University,
      • Fall 2011
      • Dean's commendation on teaching excellence,
      • Duke University,
      • Spring 2010
      • Dean's commendation on teaching excellence,
      • Duke University,
      • Fall 2010
      • Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship,
      • American Council of Learned Societies,
      • 2005-2006
      • Center for Hellenic Studies,
      • 2003-2004
      • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship,
      • 2003-2004
      • National Humanities Center,
      • 2003-2004
      • Gildersleeve Prize,
      • September, 2000
      • Semple Fund Summer Research Grant,
      • 2000- 2009
      • John D. and Rose H. Jackson Fellowship,
      • 1997
  • Selected Publications

      • W.A. Johnson.
      • Readers and Reading Culture in the High Roman Empire: A Study of Elite Reading Communities.
      • Oxford University Press,
      • 2010, paperback with corrections 2012.
      Publication Description

      Reviews: Times Literary Supplement, July 1, 2011 (Gail Trimble); Classical Journal 2012.02.03 (James Ker);
 American Journal of Philology 132 (Zsuzsanna Várhelyi)
; Classical Philology 106 (Thomas Habinek); Rosetta 10: 94-97 (F. Sapsford); Religious Studies Review 37 (David Reis); The Expository Times 122.10, 2011: 490-91 (L. W. Hurtado); Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.11.37 (Jonathan Mannering); Blogs: Larry Hurtado, Centre for the Study of Christian Origins; Ben Witherington, Ancient Readers and Manuscripts -- William Johnson’s Take; Medieval History Geek 


      • Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome.
      • Oxford University Press,
      • 2009, paperback with corrections 2011.
      Publication Description

      Reviews Journal of Hellenic Studies 102, 2012, 365-7 (Joseph Howley), BMCR 2009.07.65 (Curtis Dozier), CJ Online 2009.09.08 (Scott Farrington)

      • W.A. Johnson.
      • Bookrolls and Scribes in Oxyrhynchus.
      • University of Toronto Press,
      • 2004, paperback reprint 2013.
      Publication Description

      Reviews: Classical Review 56.2, 2006, 485-8 (Silvia Barbantani); Classical World 100.1, 2006, 67-9 (Efrosyni Stigka); Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 43, 2006, 169-73 (Thomas J. Kraus); Archiv für Papyrusforschung 51/1, 2005, 166-7 (Günter Poethke); Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2005 (Susan Stephens); Scriptorium 59, 2005, 63-4 (Martin Wittek) .

      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "The Oxyrhynchus Distributions in America: Papyri and Ethics."
      • BASP
      • (2012 (appeared Fall 2013))
      • .
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Ancient Bookrolls as Media."
      • Making Critique: A New Paradigm.
      • Ed. Katherine Hayles, Jessica Pressman.
      • University of Minnesota Press,
      • 2013.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Libraries and Reading Culture in the High Empire."
      • Ancient Libraries.
      • Ed. Greg Woolf.
      • Cambridge University Press,
      • 2013.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Pliny Ep. 9.36 and Demosthenes' Cave."
      • Classical World
      • (2013)
      • .
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Cicero and Tyrannio: Mens addita videtur meis aedibus (ad Atticum iv.8.2)."
      • Classical World
      • 105
      • .4
      • (2012)
      • :
      • 471-77.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Teaching the Children How to Read: The Syllabary."
      • Classical Journal
      • 106
      • (2011)
      • :
      • 445-463.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "The Ancient Book."
      • The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology.
      • Ed. Roger Bagnall.
      • Oxford University Press,
      • 2009.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Hesiod's Theogony: Reading the Proem as a Priamel."
      • Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies
      • 46
      • (2008)
      • :
      • 231-235.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "The Posidippus Papyrus: Bookroll and Reader."
      • The New Posidippus: A Hellenistic Poetry Book.
      • Ed. Kathryn Gutzwiller.
      • Oxford University Press,
      • 2005.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Reading cultures and education."
      • Reading Between the Lines: New Perspectives on Foreign Language Literacies.
      • Ed. P. Patrikis.
      • Yale University Press,
      • 2002.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "New instrumental music from Graeco-Roman Egypt."
      • Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists
      • 37
      • (2001)
      • :
      • 17-36.
      • (Appeared 2001)
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Musical Evenings in the Early Empire: New Evidence from a Greek Papyrus with Musical Notation."
      • Journal of Hellenic Studies
      • 120
      • (2000)
      • :
      • 57-85.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Toward a sociology of reading in classical antiquity."
      • American Journal of Philology
      • 121
      • (2000)
      • :
      • 593-627.
      • (Appeared 2001. Winner of the 2000 Gildersleeve Prize.)
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Dramatic Frame and Philosophic Idea in Plato."
      • The American Journal of Philology
      • 119
      • (1998)
      • :
      • 577-598.
      • W.A. Johnson.
      • "Oral Performance and the Composition of Herodotus' Histories."
      • Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies
      • 35
      • (1994)
      • :
      • 229-254.
      • (appeared Fall 1995)
  • View All Publications
  • Teaching

    • CLST 181SK.01
      • GREEK CIV: ORIGINS OF THE WEST
      • DKU Conf 1095
      • MWTh 02:30 PM-04:10 PM
  • Morgantina 1
  • Acropolis
  • Kathy Chu, Propylaea
  • TaraLynnMcKenna_Theater at Segesta
  • Roman Forum 1
  • site
  • Paestum 2
  • Hadrian's Villa 2
  • Pompeii 1
  • barbara blachut dig in azoria crete in 2013
  • Paestum 1
  • Morgantina 2
  • TaraLynnMcKenna_Augustus Swoon
  • p70609351
  • Jake 1
  • Pompeii 2
  • Jake 2
  • Hadrian's Villa 1
  • Pantheon 2
  • Agrigento 2
  • elizabethrudisill knossos
  • TaraLynnMcKenna_Canopus Hadrian's Villa
  • Agrigento 3
  • Trench tour at Azoria, 2013
  • dig in azoria crete in 2013
  • Rome
  • pottery
  • papyrus