Mary Lefkowitz, Ph.D.

Mary Lefkowitz, one of the best-known classical scholars in this country, is a graduate of the Brearley School in New York and Wellesley College (1957, Phi Beta Kappa, with honors in Greek). She received her Ph.D. in Classical Philology at Radcliffe College (a.k.a Harvard University) in 1961. She returned to her alma mater as an Instructor in Greek in 1959 and, after serving in various other academic ranks, became the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities in 1979.

Mary Lefkowitz has been awarded fellowships by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Onassis Foundation. She was a Visiting Professor at University of California/Berkeley in 1978 and a Sacher visiting fellow at St. Hilda's College/Oxford in 1979–80, where she has been an Honorary Fellow since 1994. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut) in 1996, which cited her "deep concern for intellectual integrity." In 1999 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Philology by the University of Patras in Greece and, in 2000, an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Grinnell College. In 2004 she received a Radcliffe Graduate Society Medal.

Dr. Lefkowitz’s articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, and The New York Review of Books, and she has been asked to contribute op-eds to The New York Times. She is the author of Not Out of Africa, 1996 (paperback, June 1997) and co-editor with her Wellesley colleague, Guy MacLean Rogers, of Black Athena Revisited, a collection of essays by various scholars (1996). Because they deal with highly controversial theories about the origin of ancient Greek civilization, both books have been widely reviewed and have generated considerable discussion. Dr. Lefkowitz has appeared on national radio talk shows, on CBS television’s 60 Minutes, and was the subject of interviews in The Boston Globe and The Washington Post.

Dr. Lefkowitz’s most recent book is an attempt to restore to the gods to their ever-important role in ancient narratives. According to The New York Times Book Review, the “thought-provoking Greek Gods, Human Lives (2003) is precisely an attempt to write the gods back into Greek myths” and in The Los Angeles Times Book Review, “It is among other things, a salutary tract for our times.” She is also known for her work on women in antiquity (Heroines and Hysterics, 1981; Women in Greek Myth, 1986 [German trans. 1992, Greek trans. 1993]). Women's Life in Greece and Rome, which she co-edited with Maureen B. Fant, (1st Ed. 1982, 2nd Ed. 1992) is the standard source book in the field. Dr. Lefkowitz has also written about the 5th century B.C. Greek lyric poet Pindar (The Victory Ode, 1976 and First-Person Fictions, 1991) and about fiction in ancient biography (The Lives of the Greek Poets, 1981).

Dr. Lefkowitz's two daughters are both Wellesley alumnae ('86 and '90). She lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts with her husband, Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones, a former Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford.

(Official biographical sketch reprinted from Wellesley College website at the URL HCS readers may also wish to read the speech delivered by Dr. Lefkowitz at the University of New Hampshire for the John C. Rouman Classical  Lecture series at the URL

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