Dr Alexandre Johnston

Academic Background

I went to school in Strasbourg, France, and studied for an MA (Honours) in Classics at Edinburgh and the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich (2008-12) before returning to Edinburgh, first for an MSc by Research (2012-13), and then for a PhD (2013-17), funded by the Carnegie Trust. Before coming to Oxford, I spent two years at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (2017-19) as a Leverhulme postdoctoral fellow. I have also held short-term research fellowships in Verona, Venice, and Jena.  

I was a Junior Research Fellow at University College (2019-23) before starting as a Departmental Lecturer in October 2023.

Research Interests

My research focuses on archaic and classical Greek thought and religion, as well as on comparative approaches between early Greece and the ancient Near East. I am currently finishing my first book, on religion in Sophocles' tragedies and early Greek thought. I am also co-editing volumes on divine and human agency in ancient Greek thought and on the gods in literature in Greece and the Near East. I am now beginning a new project entitled "Healing Gods: Medicine, Religion and Rationality in Early Greece and the Ancient Near East".

Research Keywords

Early Greek thought - Greek religion - Greek literature - intellectual history - connections with the ancient Near East


"Helen’s Agency and the Gods in Homer and Euripides”, forthcoming in A. Maganuco, A. Rodighiero & G. Scavello (eds), Epica e tragedia greca II (Lexis Supplements), Venice: Edizioni Ca’Foscari (accepted).

Review: A. Kelly & C. Metcalf (eds), Gods and Mortals in Early Greek and Near Eastern Mythology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2021), Classical Review 73.1 (2023), 18-21.

“Irony and the Limits of Knowledge in Homer and Sophocles”, in A. Maganuco, A. Rodighiero & G. Scavello (eds), Epica e tragedia greca I (Lexis Supplements 11), Venice: Edizioni Ca’Foscari (2022), 199-220.

“‘Horse race, rich in woes’: Orestes’ Chariot Race and the Erinyes in Sophocles’ Electra”, Journal of Hellenic Studies 141 (2021), 197-215.

Review: R. Seaford, Tragedy, Ritual and Money in Ancient Greece, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2018), Journal of Hellenic Studies 141 (2021), 249-50.

Review: C. Stray, C. B. R. Pelling & S. J. Harrison (eds), Rediscovering E. R. Dodds: Scholarship, Education, Poetry, and the Paranormal, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2019), Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2020.11.43).

(co-edited with F. Loughlin) Antiquity and Enlightenment Culture: New Approaches and Perspectives (Metaforms: Studies in the Reception of Classical Antiquity 17), Leiden: Brill.

“Knowledge, Suffering and the Performance of Wisdom in Solon’s Elegy to the Muses and the Babylonian Poem of the Righteous Sufferer”, Cambridge Classical Journal 65 (2019), 63-83.

Review: F. Budelmann & T. Phillips (eds), Textual Events, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2018), Classical Review 69.2 (2019), 357-60.

“‘Poet of Hope’: Elpis in Pindar”, in G. Kazantzidis & D. Spatharas (eds), Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art, Berlin: De Gruyter (2018), 35-52.