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Predicting the Future in Greco-Roman Antiquity

Dr Claire Hall

My research centres around the intersection of philosophical notions of prediction with real-world practice in the Greco-Roman and early Christian worlds. My first book focuses on the 3rd century Christian philosopher and exegete Origen of Alexandria, and his approach to prophecy, allegory, and the structure of scripture. Currently, I am working on the philosophical links between scientific prediction and religious prediction in the ancient Greek world. My aim is to show how similar approaches to thinking about knowledge and time underpin Greek understandings of astronomical, astrological, medical, and religious prediction.

I have two further areas of research interest. The first is how ancient Jewish and early Christian writers used pagan debates about human choice and free will, adapting them to different ethical and theological frameworks. The second is the history of event-based (as opposed to horoscopic) astrology and the way in which ordinary people may have used astrological reasoning to structure the major events of their lives. I also run an annual introductory lecture course on Ancient Greek Science for students in faculties across the University.