Benjamin Folit-Weinberg

Dr Benjamin Folit-Weinberg

PhD, Mphil, BA x 2

    • BS8 1TB

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    Personal profile

    Research interests

    I completed my BAs (Classics, Comparative Literature) at Brown University, read for an MA at the University of Bristol, and received an MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge. From 2017-2019, I was a Dahlem Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin; since 2019, I have been the A.G. Leventis Fellow at the Institute for Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bristol.

    My interests lie at the intersection of what are traditionally classified as ancient poetry and drama, ancient philosophy, and the history of thought. More specifically, I examine how poetic imagery and items of everyday language underpin foundational concepts in Western thought. My primary research agenda focuses on the imagery of the hodos, the road, route, way, or journey. My monograph Homer, Parmenides, and the Road to Demonstration (Cambridge University Press, 2022) explores how Parmenides’ pioneering invention of extended deductive argumentation, a bedrock of Western claims to knowledge, is deeply indebted to his use of road imagery and his relationship to Homer. I am currently working on a second monograph that broadens my analysis of road imagery across a range of archaic and classical Greek cultural production, including epic and lyric poetry, prose historiography, and drama; of particular note is the role that roads play in structuring the semiotics of the dramatic stage, which is formed from and at the intersection of two roads, the eisodoi. Finally, I am also exploring the importance of road imagery for Plato’s development of his ontological and epistemological systems; when taken together with my book on Homer and Parmenides, this study will chart the emergence of the concept ‘method’ from the image of the hodos and will show how Western philosophy has its roots in poetry and poetic imagery.

    I am also interested in exploring how technology can help us engage with texts in new and unexpected ways. I am currently leading a collaborative project that applies Natural Language Processing techniques to the plays of Sophocles, which are noted for their frequent repetition of thematically-charged words. The premise of this project is that exploring different modes of visualizing data can reveal new facets of these dramas and thus play a valuable heuristic role in the development of scholarship on Sophocles.

    I am also committed to Outreach, and work closely with the renowned Bristol Classics Hub to encourage the study of classical antiquity in state-run schools and to support the study of classical subjects in schools across the region. I deliver workshops on a range of topics to local schools, and am keen to hear from schools that would be interested in developing or supplementing their Classics curriculum.


    Structured keywords and research groupings

    • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


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