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mischa hooker

Mischa A. Hooker

Continuing Lecturer of Classics

I was first entranced by aspects of the ancient world through archaeology, mythology, and linguistics; as a child, I loved looking at books showing ancient artifacts from lost civilizations, reading stories about Greek gods, and learning about the decipherment of strange writing systems. Latin was not an option at my high school, but there were many books around the house: My father had studied Greek (and linguistics) in college, and my mom had studied Latin.

When I went to college at the University of Calgary (1989), I found what seemed like the perfect program to encompass my interests: "Classical and Early Christian Studies" as a major within the Classics department gave me the opportunity to learn Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and to study Classical literature as well as the history and literature of early Judaism and Christianity as well.

I went to graduate school at the University of Cincinnati (1993), to pursue a program that again combined the study of Classical philology with early Judaism and Christianity, and ended up deciding to work on the Sibylline Oracles for my dissertation; this collection of prophetic Greek hexameters was the perfect nexus of possibilities: based on an ancient Greek seer, similar to the Delphic Pythia, and appearing as a character in Vergil's epic, the Sibyl had inspired a whole tradition of texts, some pagan, some Jewish, some Christian, and quoted by various authors for various purposes. I also spent a year in Jerusalem during graduate school to continue my education in Hebrew.

I began teaching at the University of Memphis before I had finished my thesis; but eventually I did finish (2007)—by which point I begun a year-long teaching position at Loyola University in Chicago. After that, I came to Augustana (2008).

I have taught Greek and Latin language and literature at all levels in these various institutions, as well as courses in Mythology, surveys of Greek and Latin literature in translation, Greek and Roman Religion; at Augustana I have had the privilege of introducing an LSFY 102 course studying the life and aftermath of Alexander the Great, and a course in Late Antique literature, CLAS 365 ("Angels and Demons").

As for research, I have continued to pursue the study of the meeting places of Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian traditions, with conference presentations on oracle collections such as the Tübingen Theosophy, citations of oracles and other pagan sources in early Christian texts, and more recently the little-known Biblical interpreter Polychronius of Apamea.

In 2014, I published a text and translation of Origen of Alexandria's interpretations of the book of Ezekiel, a project that also enabled me to delve more deeply into manuscripts and textual criticism. I have recently been working on a translation with commentary of a work called "On the Months," by an early Byzantine writer known as John Lydus; this work is a wide-ranging exploration of the Roman calendar, religious festivals, philosophy, mythology, numerology, history and science.

I have also been involved in the stage productions of Greek tragedies (and other plays) in Lincoln Park (Rock Island) with the Genesius Guild company; and this past year, I also played roles in two Roman plays of Shakespeare—Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra—as well as in another, set in ancient Greece (Timon of Athens), with the Prenzie Players in Davenport.

My latest, perhaps most entertaining project is a video game I have been developing to help students learn Latin better; with luck, that will keep progressing too!

Specializations: Classics

Education

  • B.A., University of Calgary
  • M.A., Ph.D., Cincinnati