Dr. Jonathan David

Assistant Professor of History


Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2006 (History)

M.A., The Pennsylvania State University, 2000 (History and Religious Studies)

B.A., Miami University, 1998 (Classics; History; Religion)

Fields of Interest:

Ancient Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Civilizations

Classical and Biblical Historiography

Archaeology of the Mediterranean World

Courses in Development:

  • Ancient Israel in Its Near Eastern Context
  • A History of Archaeology
  • Homer and the Historians
  • Roman Judea
  • Warfare in Ancient Greece and the Near East

Current Research:

My present project focuses on the earliest writing of history in ancient Greece, particularly the work of the historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus (c. 480-420 BCE). This ongoing study is a comprehensive treatment of his methodological reliance upon physical memorials, both for his initial inquiry and for his formal composition. My analysis considers the conceptual and communicative relationships between the visible remains and the individual informant testimonies recorded by Herodotus. It also involves much evidence from modern archaeological examinations of the particular sanctuaries, monuments, cities, and other locations of special interest to the historian. By incorporating new findings from other fields, such as studies in oral tradition, social memory, and textual source criticism, my project delineates a new working model of Herodotus' research methodology.


  • "A Huge Bowl and a Fancy Shirt: Spartan Politics and Memory in the Achaemenid Periphery." In East Meets West in the Axial Age: Proceedings of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Henry F. Sawyer Seminar. Volume I, edited by M.J. Adams, M.E. Cohen, B. Halpern, and K. Sacks. Leiden: E.J. Brill, forthcoming.
  • "The Exclusion of Women in the Mithraic Mysteries: Ancient or Modern?" Numen 47.2 (2000): 121-141.

Professional Paper Presentations:

"Thermopylae and the Sparta Myth in Contemporary Imagination." Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies/Eta Sigma Phi (invited lecture), Creighton University. Omaha, Nebraska. April 2007.

"Reopening the Hot Gates: New Spartan Ideals in the 21st Century." Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations Annual Meeting. Albuquerque, New Mexico. February 2007.

"Maiandrian Bias and the Monuments in Herodotus' Samian Logoi." American Philological Association Annual Meeting. Montreal, Canada. January 2006.

"Annalistic Narrative Style and Herodotus' Sources for Barbarian Royal Histories." American Philological Association Annual Meeting. Boston, Massachusetts. January 2005.

"Herodotus and the Memphite Ptah Temple: A Study in Source Citation and Attribution." American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting. San Antonio, Texas. November 2004.

"Iconatrophy: Herodotus' Perception of Barbarian Monuments of the Hermus Watershed." American Philological Association Annual Meeting. San Francisco, California. January 2004.

"Persian Propaganda and Herodotean Inquiry: The Accession Stories of Darius Hystaspes." American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting. Atlanta, Georgia. November 2003.

"The Rape of Theseus: Peisistratid Propagation of a New Athenian Mythology." American Philological Association Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. January 2002.

"The Intersection of Gender and Religion in Plotinus and Porphyry." American Philological Association Annual Meeting. San Diego, California. January 2001.

"What has Eleusis to do with Memphis? On the Origin of the Hellenistic Isis Cult in Ptolemaic Egypt." Classical Association of the Middle West and South Annual Meeting. Cleveland, Ohio. April 1999.

Grants and Awards:

  • Hill Dissertation Fellowship, Penn State University (2004)
  • Mark and Lucy MacMillan Stitzer Endowment Fellowship (2003-2004)
  • Isabel F. Knight Graduate Enrichment Fund in History, Penn State University (2003)
  • Charles and Harriet Pencak Award for Research, Penn State University (2003)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2002-2003)
  • Etu Zen Sun Award for Outstanding Teaching, Penn State University (2001)
  • Research and Graduate Studies Office Travel Grants, Penn State University (2000-2005)
  • University Scholar Grant, Penn State University (1998-2000)
  • Dorot Foundation Research Travel Grants (1998, 2000)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society (1998)
  • Joseph F. Hogan Research Scholar Fellowship (1997-1998)

Professional Memberships:

American Historical Association

American Philological Association

American School of Classical Studies at Athens

American Schools of Oriental Research

Archaeological Institute of America

Association of Ancient Historians

Phi Beta Kappa