Joshua Billings

Assistant Professor of Classics and Humanities

Joshua Billings studied at Harvard as an undergraduate (AB, Classics and German; AM, Comparative Literature 2007) and at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in German (MSt 2008) and Classics (DPhil 2011).

He began teaching at Yale in fall 2012, following a year as Research Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge. His research focuses on tragedy, intellectual history, and the classical tradition.

His first book, Genealogy of the Tragic: Greek Tragedy and German Philosophy (Princeton University Press, 2014), traces how Greek tragedy and the concept of “the tragic” become important to conceptions of modernity and to the philosophical thought of German Idealism. He has co-edited volumes of essays entitled Choruses, Ancient and Modern (with Felix Budelmann and Fiona Macintosh, Oxford University Press, 2013) and Tragedy and the Idea of Modernity (with Miriam Leonard; for the OUP Classical Presences series, 2015). He is currently completing a Norton Critical Edition of Aeschylus’ Oresteia (co-edited with Oliver Taplin) and beginning a new book project on “the thinking of representation” in Athenian drama at the end of the fifth century.

Selected articles

  • “Hyperion’s symposium: an erotics of reception”, Classical Receptions Journal 2 (2010), 4–24.
  • “Epic and Tragic Music: the union of the arts in the eighteenth century”, Journal of the History of Ideas 72.1 (2011), 99–117.
  • “Choral dialectics: Hölderlin and Hegel”, in Choral Mediations in Greek Drama, ed. R. Gagné and M. Hopman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 317–38.
  • “An alien body? Choral autonomy around 1800”, in Choruses, Ancient and Modern, ed. J Billings, F. Budelmann, F. Macintosh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 133–49.
  • “The ends of tragedy: Oedipus at Colonus and German Idealism”, Arion 21.1 (2013), 111–29.
  • “Margins of genre: Walter Benjamin and the idea of tragedy”, in Tragedy and the Idea of Modernity, ed. J. Billings and M. Leonard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
Billinhs photo

Interests Greek literature and philosophy (especially tragedy and Plato), literary criticism and theory, German philosophy.

Courses Plato’s Symposium (Greek 411a), Mimesis in Classical Athens (CLSS 869b), Directed Studies Literature (fall), Directed Studies Philosophy (spring).

Contact details

Phelps 203

joshua.billings@yale.edu