Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


Joel C. Relihan

Joel C. Relihan

Professor of Classics
Associate Provost

Ph.D., M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1985, 1978
B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1976

Main Interests

My research interests include late classical and early Christian literature (Apuleius, Lucian, romance literature, Augustine, Boethius), medieval Latin literature, and Menippean satire.

I am an active member of Wheaton's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, serving formerly as President from 1999 to 2004 and currently as Chair of the Committee for the Encouragement of Scholarship from 2007.

Research Interests

My first major book, Ancient Menippean Satire (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), both defines the ancient genre of Menippean satire and shows how the genre was Christianized in late antiquity; a sequel to this study was published by University of Notre Dame Press in 2006: The Prisoner's Philosophy: Life and Death in Boethius's Consolation. I have also published a translation of Consolation (Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2001; 2nd revised printing 2004).

My most recent work focused on Apuleius. My translation, also for Hackett Publishing Company, of Apuleius's Metamorphoses (better known as The Golden Ass) appeared late in 2007; a separate edition of an excerpt from this, the famous tale Cupid and Psyche, with new introduction and notes, came out in 2009.

After my service as Associate Provost ends in 2014, I will return to my Menippean roots and begin a wide-ranging literary study, A Handbook of Menippean Satire: Ancient, Medieval, Humanist, Modern, Contemporary. I hope also to work on an edition and translation of the minor works of Apuleius for the Loeb Classical Library (opera minora et dubia et spuria) and on a translation of the Greek story The Ass as an on-line complement to my translation of The Golden Ass.

Teaching Interests

In courses in Classical Civilization, I present broad literary and historical topics that both demonstrate the nature of influential Classical traditions and illustrate their transformations in the late classical and early medieval periods: Tales of Troy; The Ancient Romance; Egypt in the Greco-Roman World; The Ancient Landscape; The Life and Death of the Ancient City. I also teach a full range of language courses in Greek and Latin, from the elementary level through intermediate courses in specific authors to advanced classes in intensive reading and prose composition; I have also directed a tutorial in Coptic. I am teaching an Intermediate/Advanced Latin course this fall, but will not return to full-time classroom teaching until the 2013-14 year, after the completion of my service as Associate Provost.


  • 2009. Apuleius: The Tale of Cupid and Psyche. Translated, with introduction and notes. Hackett Publishing Company.
  • 2007. Apuleius: The Golden Ass. Translated, with introduction and notes. Hackett Publishing Company.
  • 2006. The Prisoner's Philosophy: Life and Death in Boethius's Consolation. University of Notre Dame Press.
  • 2001. Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy. Translated, with introduction and notes. Hackett Publishing Company; 2nd printing, 2004. [Books III.9 through V.6 anthologized in Arthur Hyman, James J. Walsh, and Thomas Williams, edd., Philosophy in the Middle Ages, 3rd ed., Hackett Publishing Company, 2010, pp. 103-137; Book V (prose sections only) anthologized in Steven M. Cahn, ed., Classics of Western Philosophy, 7th ed., Hackett Publishing Company, 2006, pp. 400-410; V.3, V.4, V.5, and V.6.1-32 anthologized in Timothy A. Robinson, ed., God, 2nd ed., Hackett Publishing Company, 2002, pp. 182-95.]
  • 1993. Ancient Menippean Satire. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • 1985. The Montpellier Codex, Part IV: Texts and Translations. Translated with Susan Stakel. Recent Researches in the Music of the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance, Volume VIII. A-R Editions, Inc., Madison, WI.


Student Projects

I have directed or co-directed the following senior honors theses:

  • “Augustine's Confessions and the Origins of Modern Psychology” (Julia Atwood, 2010-11);
  • "A History of the English Translations of Plautus' Menaechmi (Carol-Ann Schneider, 2009-2010);
  • "Euripides' Orestes: A New Translation for Performance" (Michael Balderrama, 2007-2008);
  • "The Three Empires of Vergil's Aeneid: From Voice & Loom to Text" (John Smith-MacDonald, 2007-2008);
  • "The Roman Argonautica: An Adventurous Epic of of Kings and Battles" (Laurel Mulherin, 2004-2005);
  • "Atalanta: The Art of the Storyteller" (Elizabeth "KirAwen" Jarvis, 2004-2005);
  • "Classical Mythology in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings" (John Walsh, English Department, 2000-2001; co-directed with Michael Drout, Dept. of English);
  • "The Death of an Amazon in Greek Literature and Art" (Melissa Upton, 1998-99);
  • "The Relation of Myth and Cult in the Worship of Demeter at Eleusis" (Sarah Sperry, 1995-96);
  • "Sulpicia and Ovid: Woman's Voice and Man's Voice in Roman Erotic Elegy" (Dana Saxon, 1994-95).