Thursday, March 31, 2011

Science & Religion Lecture today! "Mysteries of the Delphic Oracle"

A quick note as things are a bit crazy here (I have just returned from a fantastic meeting in London - and will have a post on it soon). In the mean time, here is a reminder that we have our Hampshire College Science & Religion Lecture by archaeologist John Hale today at 5:30pm. If you are in the area, join us in exploring the mysteries of the Delphic oracle. Here are the details:

Hampshire College Lecture Series on Science & Religion Presents

Mysteries of the Delphic Oracle
Ancient Religion, Modern Science
Dr. John R. Hale

Thursday, March 31, 2011
5:30p.m., Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
Hampshire College

The Delphic Oracle was the most influential religious site in the ancient Greek world.  Speaking from a tripod in a crypt under the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the priestess called the Pythia acted as a medium for the god, and spoke the divine prophecies while in a state of trance or possession.  The testimony of eye-witnesses linked the oracle's prophetic power to geological features in the rock under the temple: a mysterious chasm or cleft, a natural vapor or gaseous emission, and a sacred spring.  Although long doubted by modern scholars, these ancient traditions have recently been put to the test by an interdisciplinary team of researchers -- a geologist, an archaeologist, a chemist, and a toxocologist -- with surprising results.

Dr. John R. Hale received his Ph.D. in archaeology from the University of Cambridge in 1979. He has conducted fieldwork in England, Scandinavia, Portugal, Greece and the Ohio River Valley, and is currently director of liberal studies at the University of Louisville, where he is studying such diverse subjects as ancient ships and naval warfare, and the geological origins of the Delphic Oracle. Professor Hale's work has been published in Scientific American, Antiquity, The Classical Bulletin, and the Journal of Roman Archaeology.

For more information on the Lecture Series, please visit


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