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Peter J. Parsons

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Peter J. Parsons
Regius Professor of Greek
University of Oxford
In office
1989–2003
Preceded bySir Hugh Lloyd-Jones
Succeeded byChristopher Pelling
Personal details
Born
Peter John Parsons

(1936-09-24)24 September 1936
Died16 November 2022(2022-11-16) (aged 86)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
NationalityBritish
Spouse
Barbara
(m. 2006; died 2006)
AwardsFellow of the British Academy (1977)

Peter John Parsons, FBA (24 September 1936 – 16 November 2022) was a British classicist and academic specialising in papyrology. He was Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Oxford from 1989 to 2003.

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Fellow of the British Academy

Fellow of the British Academy

Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. The categories are:Fellows – scholars resident in the United Kingdom Corresponding Fellows – scholars resident overseas Honorary Fellows – an honorary academic title

Papyrology

Papyrology

Papyrology is the study of manuscripts of ancient literature, correspondence, legal archives, etc., preserved on portable media from antiquity, the most common form of which is papyrus, the principal writing material in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Papyrology includes both the translation and interpretation of ancient documents in a variety of languages as well as the care and conservation of rare papyrus originals.

Regius Professor of Greek (Oxford)

Regius Professor of Greek (Oxford)

The Regius Professorship of Greek is a professorship at the University of Oxford in England.

University of Oxford

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two English ancient universities share many common features and are jointly referred to as Oxbridge. Both are ranked among the most prestigious universities in the world.

Early life and education

Parsons was born on 24 September 1936 to Robert John Parsons and Ethel Ada (née Frary).[1] He was educated at Raynes Park County Grammar School, an all-boys grammar school in Wimbledon, London.[1] He sat the Oxford entrance examination in December 1953, and his success meant he was the first in his family to attend university.[2]: 2  From 1954 to 1958, he studied classics at Christ Church, Oxford, where his tutors included John Gould, David Malcolm Lewis and J. Gwyn Griffiths.[3]: 2  He graduated with a double first Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1958:[3]: 2  as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree in 1961.[1]

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Grammar school

Grammar school

A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching Latin, but more recently an academically oriented secondary school, differentiated in recent years from less academic secondary modern schools. The main difference is that a grammar school may select pupils based on academic achievement whereas a secondary modern may not.

Wimbledon, London

Wimbledon, London

Wimbledon is a district and town of Southwest London, England, 7.0 miles (11.3 km) southwest of the centre of London at Charing Cross; it is the main commercial centre of the London Borough of Merton. Wimbledon had a population of 68,187 in 2011 which includes the electoral wards of Abbey, Dundonald, Hillside, Trinity, Village, Raynes Park and Wimbledon Park.

Classics

Classics

Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity. In the Western world, classics traditionally refers to the study of Classical Greek and Roman literature and their related original languages, Ancient Greek and Latin. Classics also includes Greco-Roman philosophy, history, archaeology, anthropology, art, mythology and society as secondary subjects.

Christ Church, Oxford

Christ Church, Oxford

Christ Church is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII, the college is uniquely a joint foundation of the university and the cathedral of the Oxford diocese, Christ Church Cathedral, which both serves as the college chapel and whose dean is ex officio the college head.

John Gould (classicist)

John Gould (classicist)

John Philip Algernon Gould, was a British classical scholar. He specialised in Greek tragedy, but also had wider interests in ancient Greek literature, ancient Greek religion and anthropology. He began his academic career as a research fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge (1949–1953), and then a tutor and student at Christ Church, Oxford (1954–1968). He was Chair of Classics at the University College of Swansea from 1968 to 1974, and the H O Wills Professor of Greek at the University of Bristol from 1974 to 1991.

David Malcolm Lewis

David Malcolm Lewis

David Malcolm Lewis was an English historian who was Professor of Ancient History at the University of Oxford. He is most renowned for his monumental two-volume edition of the inscriptions of Archaic and Classical Athens and Attica. His breadth and depth of knowledge was so widely admired that for decades he was invited by other scholars to comment upon and improve a high proportion of all book manuscripts in the field of Greek history before they went to publication.

J. Gwyn Griffiths

J. Gwyn Griffiths

John Gwyn Griffiths was a Welsh poet, Egyptologist and nationalist political activist who spent the largest span of his career lecturing at Swansea University.

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate program in the arts, or, in some cases, other disciplines. A bachelor of arts degree course is generally completed in three or four years, depending on the country and institution.Degree attainment typically takes four years in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, China, Egypt, Ghana, Greece, Georgia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States and Zambia. Degree attainment typically takes three years in Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Caribbean, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, the Canadian province of Quebec, the United Kingdom and most of the European Union. In Bangladesh, three-year BA (associates) courses are also available.

Master of Arts

Master of Arts

A Master of Arts is the holder of a master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The degree is usually contrasted with that of Master of Science. Those admitted to the degree have typically studied subjects within the scope of the humanities and social sciences, such as history, literature, languages, linguistics, public administration, political science, communication studies, law or diplomacy; however, different universities have different conventions and may also offer the degree for fields typically considered within the natural sciences and mathematics. The degree can be conferred in respect of completing courses and passing examinations, research, or a combination of the two.

Academic career

Having completed his undergraduate degree, Parsons was encouraged by E. R. Dodds to undertake research in either papyrology or Greek religion; he chose the former.[2]: 2  Between 1958 and 1960, he maintained Christ Church, Oxford as his base, while also spending time at the University of Michigan learning documentary papyrology under Herbert Youtie.[2]: 2–3  In 1960, he was appointed to the newly created post of lecturer in papyrology at the University of Oxford.[4] His position at Christ Church was formalised in 1964 when he was made a research student (i.e. a research fellow, "student" being the name of fellows at the college).[2]: 3 [1] He worked on the Oxyrhynchus Papyri with John Rea between 1965 and 1989.[2]: 3 

In 1989, he was appointed Regius Professor of Greek, one of Oxford's most senior professorships, in succession to Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones.[3] Parsons supported the Joint Association of Classical Teachers Greek summer school at Bryanston in Dorset, acting as a tutor on a number of occasions,[5] and he was also Director of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project.[6] He stepped down as Regius Professor in 2003 and was succeeded by Christopher Pelling.[3]

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E. R. Dodds

E. R. Dodds

Eric Robertson Dodds was an Irish classical scholar. He was Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Oxford from 1936 to 1960.

Ancient Greek religion

Ancient Greek religion

Religious practices in ancient Greece encompassed a collection of beliefs, rituals, and mythology, in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. The application of the modern concept of "religion" to ancient cultures has been questioned as anachronistic. The ancient Greeks did not have a word for 'religion' in the modern sense. Likewise, no Greek writer known to us classifies either the gods or the cult practices into separate 'religions'. Instead, for example, Herodotus speaks of the Hellenes as having "common shrines of the gods and sacrifices, and the same kinds of customs."

Christ Church, Oxford

Christ Church, Oxford

Christ Church is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII, the college is uniquely a joint foundation of the university and the cathedral of the Oxford diocese, Christ Church Cathedral, which both serves as the college chapel and whose dean is ex officio the college head.

Herbert Youtie

Herbert Youtie

Herbert Chaim Youtie was an American papyrologist.

Lecturer

Lecturer

Lecturer is an academic rank within many universities, though the meaning of the term varies somewhat from country to country. It generally denotes an academic expert who is hired to teach on a full- or part-time basis. They may also conduct research.

Oxyrhynchus Papyri

Oxyrhynchus Papyri

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri are a group of manuscripts discovered during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by papyrologists Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt at an ancient rubbish dump near Oxyrhynchus in Egypt.

John Rea (papyrologist)

John Rea (papyrologist)

John Rowland Rea, FBA is a British papyrologist. He was Lecturer in Documentary Papyrology at the University of Oxford from 1965 to 1996.

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

Sir Peter Hugh Jefferd Lloyd-Jones FBA was a British classical scholar and Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Oxford.

Joint Association of Classical Teachers

Joint Association of Classical Teachers

The Joint Association of Classical Teachers (JACT) was a UK organisation for the encouragement of the teaching of Classics in schools and universities. It was merged into the Classical Association with effect from 2 January 2015. The JACT Summer Schools Trust (JSST) continues to run the four JACT summer schools.

Bryanston School

Bryanston School

Bryanston School is a public school located next to the village of Bryanston, and near the town of Blandford Forum, in Dorset in South West England. It was founded in 1928. It occupies a palatial country house designed and built in 1889–94 by Richard Norman Shaw, the champion of a renewed academic tradition, for Viscount Portman, the owner of large tracts in the West End of London, in the early version of neo-Georgian style that Sir Edwin Lutyens called "Wrenaissance", to replace an earlier house, and is set in 400 acres (1.6 km2).

Dorset

Dorset

Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester, in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974, the county border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.

Christopher Pelling

Christopher Pelling

Christopher Brendan Reginald Pelling, is a British classical scholar. He was the Regius Professor of Greek, at Christ Church, Oxford, from 2003 to 2015. He was President of the Hellenic Society from 2006 to 2008.

Personal life and death

In 2006, Parsons married Barbara Macleod (née Montagna); she died the same year.[1] Barbara was the widow of Colin William MacLeod (1943–1981), a classical scholar at Christ Church, Oxford.[7]

On 16 November 2022, Parsons died at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, at the age of 86.[8][8]

Honours

In 1977, Parsons was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA).[4] In 2007, he was awarded the John D. Criticos Prize by the London Hellenic Society for his book City of the Sharp-Nosed-Fish: Greek Lives in Roman Egypt.[6] In 2019, Parsons was awarded the Kenyon Medal by the British Academy.[9]

A conference was held in Oxford in September 2006 to celebrate his 70th birthday. An associated Festschrift was published in 2011, titled "Culture in pieces: essays on ancient texts in honour of Peter Parsons", and edited by Dirk Obbink and Richard Rutherford.[10]

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Fellow of the British Academy

Fellow of the British Academy

Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. The categories are:Fellows – scholars resident in the United Kingdom Corresponding Fellows – scholars resident overseas Honorary Fellows – an honorary academic title

Kenyon Medal

Kenyon Medal

The Kenyon Medal is awarded every two years by the British Academy 'in recognition of work in the field of classical studies and archaeology'. The medal was endowed by Sir Frederic Kenyon and was first awarded in 1957.

British Academy

British Academy

The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and the social sciences. It was established in 1902 and received its royal charter in the same year. It is now a fellowship of more than 1,000 leading scholars spanning all disciplines across the humanities and social sciences and a funding body for research projects across the United Kingdom. The academy is a self-governing and independent registered charity, based at 10–11 Carlton House Terrace in London.

Festschrift

Festschrift

In academia, a Festschrift is a book honoring a respected person, especially an academic, and presented during their lifetime. It generally takes the form of an edited volume, containing contributions from the honoree's colleagues, former pupils, and friends. Festschriften are often titled something like Essays in Honour of... or Essays Presented to....

Dirk Obbink

Dirk Obbink

Dirk D. Obbink is an American papyrologist and classicist. He was Lecturer in Papyrology and Greek Literature in the Faculty of Classics at Oxford University until 6 February 2021, and was the head of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project until August 2016. Obbink was also a fellow and tutor in Greek at Christ Church Oxford, from which role he was suspended in October 2019, as a result of allegations that he had stolen some of the Oxyrhynchus papyri and sold them to the Museum of the Bible.

Selected works

  • Barns, J. W. B.; Parsons, P. J.; Rea, John; Turner, E. G. (1966). The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Part XXXI. London: Egypt Exploration Society.
  • Lloyd-Jones, Hugh; Parsons, Peter, eds. (1983). Supplementum Hellenisticum. Berolini: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3110081718.
  • Parsons, Peter (2007). City of the sharp-nosed fish: Greek lives in Roman Egypt. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0297645887.
  • Bowman, A. K.; Coles, R. A.; Gonis, N.; Obbink, D. D.; Parsons, P. J., eds. (2007). Oxyrhynchus: a city and its texts. London: Egypt Exploration Society. ISBN 978-0856981777.
  • Parsons, Peter John; Maehler, Herwig; Maltomini, Francesca, eds. (2014). The Vienna Epigrams Papyrus (G 40611). Berlin: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3110354522.

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Source: "Peter J. Parsons", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_J._Parsons.

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References
  1. ^ a b c d e "Parsons, Prof. Peter John, (born 24 Sept. 1936), Regius Professor of Greek, University of Oxford, 1989–2003; Student of Christ Church, Oxford, 1964–2003". Who's Who 2022. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rutherford, Richard; Obbink, Dirk (2011). "Introduction". In Obbink, Dirk; Rutherford, Richard (eds.). Culture in pieces: essays on ancient texts in honour of Peter Parsons. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1–19. ISBN 9780199292011.
  3. ^ a b c d "Culture in pieces". Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project. University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  4. ^ a b "PARSONS, Professor Peter". British Academy Fellows. British Academy. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  5. ^ James Morwood (2013). "The JACT Greek Summer School" (PDF). Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  6. ^ a b "The 2007 Prize". London Hellenic Prize. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  7. ^ Lloyd-Jones, Hugh (1982). "Colin William Macleod (26. 6. 43-17. 12. 81)". Gnomon. 54 (4): 413–415. ISSN 0017-1417. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Death Notice: Peter John Parsons". Oxford Mail. 24 November 2022. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Kenyon Medal". British Academy. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  10. ^ Obbink, Dirk; Rutherford, Richard, eds. (2011). Culture in pieces: essays on ancient texts in honour of Peter Parsons. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199292011.
Academic offices
Preceded by Regius Professor of Greek
University of Oxford

1989 to 2003
Succeeded by

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