The Department of Classics is delighted to announce the promotion of Professor David Blank to the rank of Distinguished Professor. As friends of the department know, Professor Blank is an internationally renowned scholar of ancient philosophy and particularly of the Herculaneum papyri and the philosophical study of language in ancient Greece and Rome. His prolific and important scholarship has revealed the influence of ancient philosophical schools on ancient linguistic theory. Much of his recent work has focused on the carbonized fragments of papyrus rolls found in the remains of an aristocratic library in Herculaneum and buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. These fragments preserve previously unknown works of the 1st century BCE Epicurean philosopher Philodemus as well as parts of the magnum opus of his school’s founder, Epicurus, and Professor Blank is (among other projects) working to reconstruct and publish Book 8 of Philodemus On Rhetoric. Other recent work has made new contributions to our understanding of the Roman polymath Varro, particularly his great work on the history of the Latin language (de lingua latina). Professor Blank is also a tireless contributor to the service work of the department and university, and has just created an entirely new lower-division course on Ancient Medicine (taught for the first time in 2020). His colleagues and students send him many congratulations on this achievement.
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