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Stephen Fineberg

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Stephen Fineberg

Szold Distinguished Service Professor of Classics

At Knox Since: 1976


Stephen Fineberg, Szold Distinguished Service Professor of Classics at
Knox College, has been awarded a grant to study valuable Greek art
at the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library.

The grant is the first awarded under a new faculty development program established by the University of Chicago and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). Fineberg will conduct research on ancient Greek vases at the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library.

The grant allows Fineberg to travel to the University of Chicago three times this spring. The University of Chicago, a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest from 1988-2008, established the ACM Faculty Development Grant Program to promote interaction between ACM faculty and the University. Under the five-year program, faculty at ACM member colleges propose research activities that take advantage of the unique resources of the University of Chicago and help advance the scholarly agendas of liberal arts faculty.

"I am studying the Greek myth of Theseus and Ariadne, and the cultural and socio-political issues that the myth expresses," Fineberg said. "Versions of the myth are illustrated on Attic Greek vases, and the major reference works on these vases are so valuable that they are only accessible in person at a major academic research library, such as the Regenstein."

"According to the most prevalent version of the myth, after Ariadne had rescued Theseus from his famous encounter with the Minotaur on Crete, and was on her way back to Athens with Theseus, he unaccountably abandoned her on a small Aegean island," Fineberg said. "Another mythological figure, Dionysos, came to Ariadne's rescue and, it seems, brought her to Athens."

"My research focuses on two questions," Fineberg said. "What is it about Dionysos that suits him above all others for the role of Ariadne's savior? And what links the myth of Theseus and Ariadne to the socio-political context of historical Athens, where artisans represented the myth on painted pottery?"

Fineberg has previously published two scholarly articles on Dionysos and is completing a book on Dionysos in archaic and classical Athens. His humorous paintings and drawings of ducks, inspired by the imagery on ancient Greek vases, have been exhibited at Knox.

A member of the Knox faculty since 1976, Fineberg teaches Greek language and literature. He also has developed interdisciplinary courses on topics that have included "The Impulse Toward Freedom," "Achilles to Captain Kirk," and "Literary Sources of Western Tradition." In December 2007 he led a group of Knox students on a trip to Greece as part of a course in Greek art and archeology.

Fineberg earned his bachelor's degree at St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland, and master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Texas. He has received the American Philological Association Award for Excellence in Teaching of Classics and the Philip Green Wright-Lombard College Prize for Distinguished Teaching at Knox College.

View Stephen Fineberg's faculty page