Saturday, January 2, 2016

Spend 2016 with Judith. Or Achilles. Or Muhammed.

Welcome to 2016!  Perhaps one of your New Year's resolutions is: "I'd really like to spend more time reading interesting ancient and medieval literature."  Such a resolution probably won't extend your life the way a quit-smoking resolution will, but it will certainly make 2016 more interesting and enjoyable.

"Judith mit dem Haupt des Holofernes"
(Lucas Cranach)
One nice approach to building a 2016 reading list is to focus on a particular author, text, or corpus.  This gives you the opportunity to really explore a few primary sources in a focused way, with a handful of interesting and helpful secondary sources as your travel companions.  The examples below reflect my personal research interests and tastes, and perhaps they aren't your cup of tea.  If you come up with your own "spend 2016 with an ancient/medieval author/text" list I'd love to see it!  Feel free to post it in the comments section at the bottom.  I've listed five categories -- Greek, Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic -- but there are naturally other fun categories one could build a reading list around.