Jed W. Atkins

Jed W. Atkins

E. Blake Byrne Associate Professor

(919) 684-2695
Office Hours: 

T 4:00 - 5:00 PM and W1:30-2:30.
Meet by Zoom (link available on course websites and by request).

Cicero; Greek, Roman, and early Christian political and moral philosophy; history of political thought; the modern reception of ancient political thought.

My research focuses on Greek, Roman, and early Christian moral and political thought.  I have a special interest in Roman political philosophy and have published two books in that area.  My book Cicero on Politics and the Limits of Reason explores Cicero's political philosophy in his dialogues The Republic and The Laws.  My second book, Roman Political Thought, provides a thematic guide to Roman political thought and its enduring legacies for modern liberal democracies.  I have also published on topics in Greek ethics and political thought, such as the concepts of politeia, moral conscience, and Stoic cosmopolitanism and natural law theory.  In the area of reception, I've written on the reception of Cicero's teaching on natural right in the 18th century and on the reception of Lucretius by Leo Strauss.  I continue to work on Cicero's philosophy, and I am co-editing (with Thomas Bénatouïl) the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy.  Additionally, I am working on the concept of toleration in early Christian political thought.

I regularly teach undergraduate courses on Greek and Roman political thought.  I teach all levels of Latin and graduate seminars related to my research interests. I also teach in Duke's Visions of Freedom Focus Cluster.  Past and present PhD students have written on the political theology of Plato's Laws, Cicero's Platonic dialogues, Cicero's role in the development of the later republican tradition, and Tacitus' political thought.

Education & Training:

  • Ph.D., University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) 2009

  • M.Phil., University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) 2005

  • B.A., Bowdoin College 2004

Atkins, Jed W. Roman Political Thought. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Atkins, Jed W. Cicero on Politics and the Limits of Reason: The Republic and Laws. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Atkins, Jed. “"How Christianity Changed Singleness".” First Things, vol. 299, no. January 2020, Jan. 2020, pp. 44–50.

Atkins, J. W. “"Ethics and the Orator: The Ciceronian Tradition of Political Morality by Gary A. Remer".” Political Theory, SAGE Publications, 22 Dec. 2017, pp. 1–6.

Atkins, Jed W. “Cicero's Philosophica (Review of Yelena Baraz, A Written Republic. Cicero's Philosophical Politics).” Classical Review, vol. 63, no. 2, Oct. 2013, pp. 417–19. Manual, doi:10.1017/S0009840X13000504. Full Text

Atkins, Jed W. “Leo Strauss's Lucretius and the Art of Writing.” Euphrosyne Studies in Ancient Philosophy, History, and Literature, edited by Peter Burian et al., Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2020, pp. 29–55.

Atkins, J. W. “Natural Law and Civil Religion: De legibus, Book II".” Ciceros Staatsphilosophie, edited by O. Hoeffe, vol. 64, 2017, pp. 167–86.

Atkins, J. W. “Constitution and Empire in Roman Republican Thought.” Rome, Peyking University Press, 2015.

Atkins, Jed W. “Cicero, Marcus Tullius (106–43 BCE).” The Encyclopedia of Political Thought, edited by Michael Gibbons, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, pp. 489–98.

Atkins, Jed W. “Cicero on the Relationship between Plato’s Republic and Laws.” Ancient Approaches to Plato’s Republic, edited by Anne Sheppard, 2013, pp. 15–34. Open Access Copy

Atkins, Jed W. “Tertullian on ‘The Freedom of Religion’.” Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought, vol. 37, no. 1, Brill, Jan. 2020, pp. 145–75. Crossref, doi:10.1163/20512996-12340261. Full Text

Atkins, Jed W. “Book Review: Ethics and the Orator: The Ciceronian Tradition of Political Morality, by Gary A. Remer.” Political Theory, vol. 47, no. 1, SAGE Publications, Feb. 2019, pp. 142–47. Crossref, doi:10.1177/0090591717743974. Full Text

Atkins, Jed W. “Integrity and Conscience in Medical Ethics: A Ciceronian Perspective.Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 62, no. 3, Jan. 2019, pp. 470–88. Epmc, doi:10.1353/pbm.2019.0027. Full Text

Atkins, Jed W., and Charlotte Murgier. “Espoir et empire dans le songe de Scipion.” Cahiers Philosophiques, vol. N°159, no. 4, CAIRN, 2019, pp. 27–27. Crossref, doi:10.3917/caph1.159.0027. Full Text

Atkins, J. W. “Non-domination and the libera res publica in Cicero's Republicanism.” History of European Ideas, vol. 44, no. 6, Aug. 2018, pp. 756–73. Scopus, doi:10.1080/01916599.2018.1513705. Full Text

Atkins, J. W. “Zeno's Republic, plato's Laws, and the early development of stoic natural law theory.” Polis (United Kingdom), vol. 32, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 166–90. Scopus, doi:10.1163/20512996-12340042. Full Text

Atkins, J. W. “Euripides's orestes and the concept of conscience in Greek philosophy.” Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 75, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 1–22. Scopus, doi:10.1353/jhi.2014.0002. Full Text

Atkins, J. W. “A revolutionary doctrine? Cicero's natural right teaching in Mably and Burke.” Classical Receptions Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, Jan. 2014, pp. 177–97. Scopus, doi:10.1093/crj/clt031. Full Text

Atkins, Jed W. Cicero on the Relationship between Plato’s Republic and Laws. Edited by Anne Sheppard, 2013, pp. 15–34. Open Access Copy

Atkins, J. W. “The argument on De Re Publica and the Songe de Scipion (Dream of Scipio).” Etudes Philosophiques, vol. 99, no. 4, Dec. 2011, pp. 455–69. Scopus, doi:10.3917/leph.114.0455. Full Text


Atkins, Jed W. Greek and Roman Political Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Rousselot, P. “A Young Researcher Tackles the De Republica.” Gazette Tulliana, vol. 2, no. Spring, Societe internationale des amis de Ciceron (SIAC), 2010, pp. 5–7.

Atkins, J. W. “Classic Communication.” Duke Magazine, no. Special Issue 2016, pp. 14–15.

Selected Grants

The Christian Origins of Toleration awarded by Princeton University (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2020