Sunday, 17 December 2017 Contact us

It’s all ‘Greek’ to me…

Atheism

Back to the Divinity School and… it’s obviously an unlucky charm for today.
The title of this afternoon’s talk Battling the Gods: Atheism in The Ancient World proved irresistible, while the speaker’s pedigree was 24-carat.
And as icing on the cake, the event was also packed, so there was a great sense of… anticipation.
But for some reason, it just didn’t ‘click’.
The talk was given by Professor Tim Whitmarsh, who chose to explain why atheism is far from a modern manifestation; and how the intelligentsia of this era were in fact openly doubtful about the existence of the Gods.
And boy-oh-boy did it look promising.
Sadly however, it just didn’t deliver the goods (and even it did, it all got lost a bit in the hugely academic way it was presented).
I liked the speaker, and really, really wanted to get immersed in the subject of his talk, but it just proved too scholarly.
If the audience had been made up of Classics or Greek History undergraduates it would have made sense, but to the layman - and I recognise how stupid a criticism this will sound about a literary festival - his vocabulary was stuffed full of words that were just… too long.
So I sat there and strained to try and keep up - like I do when I watch University Challenge - but on this occasion, I don’t think I scored a single point.

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford HSBC Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner BBC World Service International radio partner BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner British Academy HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture Galileo Foundation Italian Cultural Institute Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Ian and Carol Sellars Lady Hatch Emily Rose and James Marrow George Warren Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Marshall Maserati Festival courtesy cars The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Eynsham Hall Said Business School Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Corpus Christi College The Queen’s College The Queen's College St John’s College St John's College Jesus College Hertford College Exeter College Exeter College St Hilda’s College Keble College Keble College Oxford University Press Princeton University Press Oxford Brookes University Oxford Cultural Collective K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ashmolean Museum Floris of London University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Macdonald Bear Hotel Conference Oxford Critchleys Liaison Financial Services The Litmus Partnership British Humanist Association The Sheldonian Theatre Felicity Bryan Associates The Royal Society of Literature Oxford University Museum of Natural History The Story Museum Oxford City Council City Audio Visual OX magazine

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival 2018 partners & sponsors

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford HSBC Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner BBC World Service International radio partner BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner British Academy HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture Galileo Foundation Italian Cultural Institute Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Ian and Carol Sellars Lady Hatch Emily Rose and James Marrow George Warren Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Marshall Maserati Festival courtesy cars The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Eynsham Hall Said Business School Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Corpus Christi College The Queen’s College The Queen's College St John’s College St John's College Jesus College Hertford College Exeter College Exeter College St Hilda’s College Keble College Keble College Oxford University Press Princeton University Press Oxford Brookes University Oxford Cultural Collective K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ashmolean Museum Floris of London University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Macdonald Bear Hotel Conference Oxford Critchleys Liaison Financial Services The Litmus Partnership British Humanist Association The Sheldonian Theatre Felicity Bryan Associates The Royal Society of Literature Oxford University Museum of Natural History The Story Museum Oxford City Council City Audio Visual OX magazine