B.A. Oxford, 1952; M.A., 1955; D.Phil., 1957.
Asst. humanities., Glasgow, 1954-56; lectr. Gk., Bedford Coll. University London, 1956-61; fell. class. langs & lits., Exeter Coll., Oxford, 1961-65; prof. classics U. Reading (Eng.) 1965-74; sr. vis. Fell., Society Humanities, Cornell, 1969-70; Edward Olson Prof. depts.. class. Langs & lits, Philosophy & Early Christian Lit., U. Chicago, 1974-96 ; Chair, Classics Dept., 1975-80; founding chair, Comm. on Anc. Mediterranean World, 1980-92.
Merit and Responsibility. A Study in Greek Values (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960); REVIEWS: RSF XV 1960 319-320 Giannantoni | CW LIII 1960 260 Burrows | CPh LVI 1961 194-197 Levinson | JHS LXXXI 1961 186 Kerferd | CR XI 1961 127-128 Bluck | REG LXXIV 1961 481-484 de Romilly | Mind LXX 1961 568-569 Ralls | JRH I 1961 252-253 Harris | AJP LXXXIII 1962 209-211 Will | Phoenix XVI 1962 205-207 Sparshott | PhilosQ XII 1962 366-367 Bambrough | Philosophy XXXVII 1962 277-279 Robinson | Hermathena XCVII 1963 137-139 Luce | JCS XII 1964 149-151 Shikibu [in Japanese] | Gnomon XXXVIII 1966 724-725 Oehler; “Honour and Punishment in the Homeric Poems,” BICS VII (1960) 23-32; “Friendship and Self-Sufficiency in Homer and Aristotle,” CQ XII (1963) 30-45; La morale dei Greci. Da Omero ad Aristotele, trans. R. Ambrosini; ed. A. Plebe, Bibl. di cultura moderna (Bari: Laterza, 1964) REVIEWS: RMM LXX 1965 116-117 Brunschwig | RF LVIII 1967 471-482 Viano; “Basic Greek Values and the Interpretation of Greek Literature,” PCA LXII (1965) 29-31 “Aristotle and the Best Kind of Tragedy,” CQ XVI (1966) 78-102; “Basic Greek Values in Euripides' Hecuba and Hercules Furens,” CQ XVI (1966) 193-219; “Some Nebulous Thoughts on the Clouds of Aristophanes,” BICS XV (1968) 146-47; “Εὔχομαι, εὐχολή and εὖχος in Homer,” CQ XIX (1969) 20-33; “Threatening, Abusing and Feeling Angry in the Homeric Poems,” JHS LXXXIX (1969) 7-21; “Clouds, Mysteries, Socrates and Plato,” Antichthon IV (1970) 13-24; From the Many to the One. A Study of Personality and Views of Human Nature in the Context of Ancient Greek Society, Values and Beliefs (London: Constable, 1970; Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1970) REVIEWS: AHR LXXVII 1972 1095-1096 Huzar | PhilosQ XXI 1971 260-261 Kerferd | JCS XX 1972 162-166 Wakabayashi ; AJP XCV 1974 67-68 Murphy | CW LXIV 1971 277 Pearson | ACR I 1971 72 MacKendrick | TLS LXX 1971 45; “Homeric Values and Homeric Society,” JHS XCI (1971) 1-14 | JHP XI 1973 397-400 Robinson | PR LXXXII 1973 395-399 Nehamas | JRH VII 1973 362-363 Harris | CR XXIII 1973 208-209 Gulley; Moral Values and Political Behaviour in Ancient Greece, from Homer to the End of the Fifth Century, Ancient Culture & Society (New York: Norton, 1972; London: Chatto & Windus, 1972) REVIEWS: G&R XX 1973 98 Walcot | CW LXVIII 1974 108-110 Green | JHS XCIV 1974 216-217 Austin | Augustinus XIX 1974 96 Capánaga |CPh LXX 1975 65-67 Combellack; “Truth, Κόσμος, and Ἀρετή in the Homeric Poems,” CQ XXII (1972) 5-18; “Homeric Gods and the Values of Homeric Society,” JHS XCII (1972) 1-19 “Ἀρετή, τέχνη, Democracy, and Sophists. Protagoras 316b-328d,” JHS XCIII (1973) 3-12; “Art, Beliefs, and Values in the Later Books of the Iliad,” CP LXX (1975) 239-254; “Merit, Responsibility and Thucydides,” CQ XXV (1975) 209-20; “The Arete of Nicias. Thucydides 7.86,” GRBS XVI (1975) 379-92; “Paralysis and Akrasia in Eth. Nic. 1102 b 16 ff.,” AJP XCVII (1976) 62-64; “Polupragmosune and Minding One's Own Business. A Study in Greek Social and Political Values,” CP LXXI (1976) 301-27; “Callinus 1 and Tyrtaeus 10 as Poetry” HSP LXXXI (1977) 59-97; “Lucretius 1.136-139 and the Problems of Writing Versus Latini,” Phoenix XXXI (1977) 145-58; “Theoria versus Praxis in the Nicomachean Ethics and the Republic,” CP LXXIII (1978) 297-313; “Divine and Human Values in Aeschylus' Seven against Thebes,” A&A 28 (1982) 32-68;“Values, Goals, and Emotions in the Iliad,” CP LXXVII (1982) 292-326; “Form and Content in Gorgias' Helen and Palamedes. Rhetoric, Philosophy, Inconsistency and Invalid Argument in Some Greek Thinkers, II,” in Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy II, ed. J.P. Anton & A. Preus (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1983) 107-128; “Orality and Philosophy,” in Language and Thought in Early Greek Philosophy, ed. K. Robb (La Salle, IL: Hegeler Inst., 1983) 207-227; Poetic Craft in the Early Greek Elegists (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985) REVIEWS: G&R XXXIII 1986 203-204 Parker; CW LXXX 1987 226 Herington; CR XXXVII 1987 3-5 Fowler; LEC LV 1987 350-351 Marcotta; Phoenix XLI 1987 193-196 Bers; Mnemosyne XLIII 1990 168-174 Verdenius; “The ‘Morality’ of Homer,” CP LXXXII (1987) 311-22; “Human Nature in the Philosophical Ethics of Ancient Greece and Today,” in Congresso internacional As humanidades greco-latinas e la civilização do universal. Actas (Coimbra: Inst. de estudos cláss. da Fac. de letras, 1988) 337-69; “The Connection between Aristotle's Ethics and Politics,” in A Companion to Aristotle's Politics, ed. David Keyt & Fred D. Miller (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991) 75-93; “Amicizia e auto-sufficienza in Omero e Aristotele” in Amicizia e concordia: etica, fisica, politica in età preplatonica, ed. Emidio Spinelli (Roma: EUROMA La Goliardica, 2006) 11-44. FESTSCHRIFT: The Greeks and Us: Essays in Honor of Arthur W.H. Adkins, ed. Robert B. Louden and Paul Schollmeier (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).
Arthur Adkins was raised in Leicester, England and was a student of E.R. Dodds at Oxford. Before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1974, he held faculty positions at Glasgow, Bedford College, University of London, Exeter College, Oxford, and Reading. In 1969-70 he was a senior fellow in the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University. While at Chicago he chaired the department and was a founder of the Committee on the Ancient Mediterranean World (1979-92). During this time he also directed two different National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminars for College Teachers “Greek Values, Greek Society and the Interpretation of Greek Texts” (1978) and “Ancient Greek Values and Modern Values” (1985). Beginning with his first book, Merit and Responsibility: A Study in Greek Values Adkins’ writings sparked continuous debate among a wide range of scholars concerning the overall characterization of ancient Greek ethics, the relationship between the various periods and the sources of ancient Greek moral thought, and the extent, nature and causes of the differences between ancient and modern moral values. Additionally, his works have fueled the expected methodological skirmishes among specialists concerning the best way to approach the study of ancient Greek values. Adkins persistently defended his position in subsequent books such as From the Many to the One: A Study of Personality and Views of Human Nature in the Context of Ancient Greek Society, Values, and Beliefs, Moral Values and Political Behavior in Ancient Greece: from Homer to the End of the Fifth Century, and an impressive and continuous array of articles and critical reviews. He also wrote an important book on Greek poetry, Poetic Craft in the Early Greek Elegists. A Festschrift stemming from papers originally presented at a symposium in honor of his sixty-fifth birthday, held at the University of Chicago on April 8-9, 1994, was published in late 1996. Although known as a classicist, Adkins' writings always revealed a strong concern for the kinds of conceptual issues regarding the uses of language and shifts in word meaning that have engrossed twentieth century ordinary language philosophers. Additionally, he always insisted that moral conceptual schemes can only be correctly understood if one possesses solid empirical knowledge of the larger world-views that create them. These broader, interdisciplinary concerns helped to win him a wide readership, one that includes not only classicists and philosophers but also historically-oriented social scientists pursuing cross-cultural comparisons, scholars of comparative religion, legal systems, and intellectual history, and, indeed, all who share a serious interest in ancient Greek values. Besides being an eminent scholar, Adkins was also an excellent teacher who offered much of himself to his students. Many remember the warm love and kindness which he showed others.
APA Newsletter (June 1996) 12; WHWasWH 11 (1993-96)
AUTHORMichael Boylan & Robert B. Louden