Jay Bregman

Emeritus Professor of History

I teach all the courses offered by the department on the ancient classical Mediterranean world and its culture, with particular attention to the transition from the ancient to the medieval world, and Greek religions of that era, known as late antiquity. Currently I teach the introductory survey of European Civilization I (HTY 105), two one semester advanced level courses on Greece and Rome (HTY 401,402), and alternating every other year a one semester course on Classical Mythology and the Greek and Roman influences on N. American civilization (HTY 433, 434). I have taught Senior Seminars and the End of the Ancient World, Conflict of Religions in Later Antiquity, Who Are the Greeks?, The Classical Tradition and Philosophy of History. I also have a background in Music and Musicology and I teach a course every Spring Semester on the History of Jazz (HTY 484)
My research has focused on the religious transformation of the Hellenic world in the centuries leading up to and following the Christianization of the Roman Empire. More recently on the influence of thet late antique “philosophical religion”, Neoplatonism, on American thought, especially New England Transcendentalism and its offshoots. I have attended five National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars in the areas of my expertise. I am on the board of directors of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies and a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Association of Ancient Historians.

Representative Publications:

  • “From the Neoplatonizing Christian Gnosticism of Philip K. Dick to the Neoplatonizing Hermetic Gnosticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson”, Platonic Pathways: Selected Papers from the Fourteenth Annual of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. Ed. John F. Finamore and Danielle A. Layne. The Prometheus Trust, Bream, Lydney, Gloucestershire, UK 2018, 261-76.
  • “Synesius of Cyrene”, A History of Mind and Body in Late Antiquity. Ed. Anna Marmodoro and Sophie Cartwright. Cambridge (CUP) 2018, 321-42.
  • Synesius of Cyrene, Philosopher Bishop. University of California Press Series on the Transformation of the Classical Heritage, Berkeley, LA, 1982.

Recent Articles:

  • “Elements of the Emperor Julian’s Theology”
  • “Julian the Byzantine and Synesius the Hellene”
  • “Alcott’s Transcendental Neoplatonism”
  • “Neoplatonism and American Aesthetics” (forthcoming)