Deborah J Lyons

Deborah J Lyons
Miami University | MU · Department of Classics



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I am currently working on a project entitled, "Immortality and its Discontents," which explores ancient Greek conceptions of the immortality of the gods. I argue that the anthropomorphism of the Greek gods is in tension with their immortality, with the result that a certain taint of mortality clings to the Greek conception of eternal life. We see this in the motif of the god or goddess who cannot save a mortal child or lover.


Publications (7)
Inspired by anthropological writing on reciprocity and kinship, this book applies the idea of gendered wealth to ancient Greek myth for the first time, and also highlights the importance of the sister-brother bond in the Classical world. Copyright
A familiar theme in Greek myth is that of the deadly gift that passes between a man and a woman. Analysis of exchanges between men and women reveals the gendered nature of exchange in ancient Greek mythic thinking. Using the anthropological categories of male and female wealth (with examples drawn from many cultures), it is possible to arrive at an...
GREEK RELIGION - Parker (R.)On Greek Religion. (Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 60.) Pp. xviii + 309, ills. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2011. Paper, US$29.95 (Cased, US$75). ISBN: 978-0-8014-7735-5 (978-0-8014-4948-2 hbk). - Volume 63 Issue 2 - Deborah Lyons


Cited By


Project (1)
In Greek myth, the blessedness of the gods’ eternal life is a constant foil for ephemeral human life. Despite the attractiveness of immortality, the myths reveal its impossibility as a satisfactory outcome for human beings, perhaps because it vitiates the very category of the human. In mythic treatments of immortality, two contradictory impulses collide, one attempting to negate the reality and necessity of death while the other embraces humanity with all of its limits and losses.