A very interesting announcement from Western Connecticut State University today, for anyone in the area (I think):

Dr. Richard McKim, the fall 2014 Macricostas Chair in Hellenic and Modern Greek Studies at Western Connecticut State University, will discuss the polytheistic vision of life in ancient Greek religion in a lecture on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

McKim, who earned his Ph.D. in classics and philosophy at Princeton University, is a specialist in ancient Greek philosophy who previously served on the classics faculty at the University of Texas at Austin. His lecture, “Back to Polytheism? How Ancient Greek Religion Made Sense of Human Experience,” will be at 5:30 p.m. in Science Building Room 125. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend; a reception will follow the talk.

In describing his lecture, McKim observed that modern debate about religion focuses exclusively on monotheism versus atheism. “The third main alternative in Western tradition, Greek polytheism, has been demoted to the realm of myth, its gods merely colourful characters in a rollicking set of tall tales,” he said. “We forget that Greek religion was once a deeply felt and highly sophisticated worldview that gave meaning to people’s lives.”

“Maybe the Greeks were on to something,” McKim remarked. “What if their polytheistic view of life is in many ways more intuitive, more satisfying and more consistent with our experience than anything that monotheists or atheists can offer?” Through his lecture, he said, “we’ll try to imagine what it was like for the Greeks to believe that the world is full of gods, and in the process raise some questions about our own beliefs.”

McKim, who also holds a bachelor’s degree in classics from the University of Toronto, has published widely on themes ranging from the works of Plato to the gospels and Latin poetry. He complements his passion for the study and teaching of classical culture and philosophy with a diversity of pursuits outside the academic world as a lecturer on cinema and as a music producer, songwriter and composer. He recently completed a rock-based musical, “Down at the Inferno,” inspired by Dante’s vision of hell in “The Divine Comedy.”

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486. McKim’s lecture will be presented by the WCSU School of Arts and Sciences as part of the lecture series sponsored by the foundation of Brookfield industrialist and philanthropist Constantine “Deno” Macricostas and his wife Marie.