Sarah Iles Johnston

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Sarah Iles Johnston, 2016

Sarah Iles Johnston (born 25 October 1957) is an American academic working at The Ohio State University. She is primarily known for her contribution to Classics, and in particular her research into Ancient Greek beliefs about what happened after death and how the dead and the living could interact, magic, divination and myths.[1] Especially in her later work, she includes comparisons between ancient Greek ideas and practices and those of other cultures, both Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean.


Johnston attended the University of Kansas where she received her B.S. in Journalism in 1979, followed shortly by her B.A. in Classics in 1980. She then attended Cornell University, where she also worked as a teaching assistant, to complete her M.A. in Classics in 1983, and her PhD in 1987.


Johnston began her teaching career proper when she accepted the post of lecturer in classics at Princeton University, where she worked from 1987 to 1988. Subsequently, she has held a number of positions at the Ohio State University, including assistant professor of classics (1988–1995), associate professor of Greek and Latin (1995-2000) and professor of Greek and Latin (2000-). In 2011 she was named Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of Religion at Ohio State, and in 2017 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Religion. She holds professorships in Ohio State's Departments of Classics and of Comparative Studies.

She also was the founding director of the Center For the Study of Religion at Ohio State (2006–2010).

Her books include Ancient Greek Divination (2008) and Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets (2007, with Fritz Graf), Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece (1999) and Hekate Soteira (1990). Additionally, she has also been an editor for a number of collections including Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (2004) and Ancient Religions (2007), and has authored a number of articles and essays for Classical journals.[2]



  • The Story of Myth (Harvard Univ. Press: forthcoming 2018).
  • Ancient Greek Divination (Wiley-Blackwell: 2008).
  • With Fritz Graf, Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets (Routledge: 2007; second edition 2013).
  • Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece (University of California Press: 1999).
  • Hekate Soteira (Amer. Class. Studies #21) (Scholars' Press: 1990; now published by Oxford University Press).

Edited volumes[edit]

  • Narrating Religion (MacMillan: 2017).
  • Ancient Religions (Harvard University Press: 2007).
  • Co-Editor (with Peter T. Struck) Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination. Religions in the Greco-Roman World. vol. 155 (Brill: 2005).
  • Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (Harvard University Press: 2004).
  • Co-Editor (with James J. Clauss) Medea: Essays on Medea in Myth, Literature, Philosophy and Art (Princeton University Press: 1997).


  1. ^ "Johnston, Sarah Iles". Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  2. ^ "Sarah Iles Johnston". Department of Classics. 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2017-07-14.

External links[edit]