Shirley Sullivan


YouTube Video on election to the Royal Society of Canada


Bust of PlatoMy areas of research include Homer, early Greek literature, the Pre-Socratic philosophers and Greek tragedy. I am interested in particular in the Archaic Age of Greece (750-450 BCE) with a focus on the history of ideas in that time. I also have worked on the convocation speeches of the philosopher Thomas Reid. This work resulted in a book called The Philosophical Orations of Thomas Reid (1989) in collaboration with D.D. Todd of the SFU philosophy department. On the Pre-Socratic philosophers I have written several articles, focusing especially on Heraclitus. My interest in particular is to show how the thought of the early Greek poets and philosophers shared common features. My articles treat the nature of soul in both Heraclitus and Empedocles. They discuss how these philosophers viewed intellectual activity.

Heraclitus of EphesusMy research also involves a study of how the early Greeks engaged in psychological activity. I have studied the several terms that the Greeks use to designate this activity in the authors of early Greece, including Homer, Hesiod, the elegiac and lyric poets, Pindar, and Bacchylides.

What is fascinating in this regard is that psychological activity in these early authors is fragmented. Several terms designate the seats of intellectual, emotional, and volitional activities. The emergence of psyche as the seat of such activities occurs only long after Homer and Hesiod.  In both these poets psyche is simply the breath that keeps human beings alive.  Psyche acts as a seat of psychological activity only in the dead.  Over time activities assigned to distinct psychic entities gradually came to be associated principally with psyche. By the time of Plato psyche has emerged as the seat of personality in the living person.

PlatoMy work on Homer appears both in several articles and in my book, Psychological Activity in Homer, A Study of Phren (1988). This book examines how Homer viewed psychological activity, especially with regard to phren, the seat of deliberation and decision-making in human beings.

I also discuss Homer and the other authors mentioned above in my book, Psychological and Ethical Ideas, What Early Greeks Say (1995). This book examines in particular the ways in which early authors spoke of the personality and moral behaviour of human beings.

Delphi, TheatreIn my research I next focused on psychological ideas in Greek drama. This research has resulted in the books on Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides (see Publications below). Each book discusses in detail how the dramatists viewed psychological activity within the human person. The books show both how a dramatist’s use of psychological terminology was traditional and how it was new.

My interest centers on the way in which psychological terms came to have new and varied meanings in these three tragedians. What is of greatest interest is the new role ascribed to psyche in the living person. What we see is that the several psychic entities found in earlier writers continue to have a prominent place in the living person. Now, however, psyche begins to have a wide range of function in cognition and emotional processes in the living person.  It has come to resemble the other psychic entities.

Research on Pindar

PindarSome of my research focuses on Pindar (522 -423 BCE) and his use of psychological terminology. My research treats Pindar’s understanding of cognitive and emotional activities in different individuals.  In many ways his references to psychological terms are traditional.  But he too, like the dramatists, begins to assign a greater role to psyche in the living person.  I have also examined the interesting way that Pindar uses the first-person pronoun in his odes.  Is he referring to himself or is he constructing a “fictive I”?  If he constructs a “fictive I,” we may perhaps analyze first-person references as a “means” Pindar uses, appropriate for specific poems.  The use of a fictive I allows him to adopt different stances with regard to the recipient of his odes and the message he wishes to give.St. Teresa of Avila

My other area of research involves the history of Christian spirituality.  I have taught several different courses on this topic.  My special interest is in Carmelite spirituality, especially that of Teresa of Avila and Elizabeth of the Trinity.  I am also interested in St. Ignatius of Loyola.


Books on Christian Spirituality

2013.  The Eucharist, Rainbow of God’s Glory. E-book.

2013.  The Christian Soul, An Immortal Destiny. E-Book.

2013.  Speaking to God, Enhancing Our Personal Prayer. E-Book.

2012.  The Parables of Jesus, Beacons for our Spiritual Journey. E-Book.

2012The Divine Call of Mary.  New York: Alba House Books.  Pp. iv, 89.

2011The Stations of the Cross. New York: Alba House Books.  Pp. 80.

2009A Gaze of Love: Finding God Within. New York: Alba House Books. Pp. xiv, 122.

2008Praying the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. New York: Alba House Books.  Pp. xx, 210.

2008A Practical Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing.  Pp. 93.

2004A Companion to the Liturgy of the Hours, Morning and Evening Prayer. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing. Pp. ii, 205.

2002Transformed by Love: The Soul’s Journey to God in Teresa of Avila, Mother Aloysius, and Elizabeth of the Trinity.  New York and London: New City Press.  Pp. vi, 125.  A “Spiritual Book Associates” of Notre Dame, Indiana, Main Selection.

Articles on Christian Spirituality in Refereed Journals

1. 2019.  “Praying the Lord’s Prayer in the Inner Room,” Mount Carmel 67: 80-85.

2. 2017.  “St. Elizabeth’s Prayer to the Trinity,” Dhyana (Journal of Spirituality, India) 18: 92-106.

3. 2015.  “The Poetic Beauty of the “Lord’s Prayer in Greek: Reflections of a Classicist,” Crux 51: 28-35.

4. 2014.  “The Treasure of St. Teresa’s Bookmark,” Mount Carmel 63: 58-63.

5.  2009. “An Experience of God’s Presence: Praying the Psalms in a Carmelite Way,” Mount Carmel 57, 53-57.  Invited article.

6.  2008. “Journey to the Centre of the Soul in Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Elizabeth of the Trinity, Part Two” Spirituality 14, 277-284.

7.  2008. “Journey to the Centre of the Soul in Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Elizabeth of the Trinity, Part One” Spirituality 14, 227-232

8.  2008. “Encounter with God within,” Mount Carmel 56, 21-26.  Invited article.

9.  2004. “Into the Divine Presence: Elizabeth in the Radiance of Teresa,” Mount Carmel 52, 29-34.  Invited article.

10.  2003. “The Conversion of Edith Stein: Milestones in her Search for Truth,” Mount Carmel 51, 13-19.  Invited article.

11.  2002. “Conversion Experiences of John Henry Newman,” Newman Rambler 6, 24-26.

12.  2002. “Blessed Elizabeth’s ‘Prayer to the Trinity’: A Commentary, Part 2,” Spirituality 8, 154-159.

13.  2002. “Blessed Elizabeth’s ‘Prayer to the Trinity’: A Commentary, Part 1,” Spirituality 8, 87-90.

14. 2002. “Desires: Guidance from St. John of the Cross,” Spiritual Life 48, 88-94.

15. 2001. “The Castle of Teresa of Avila: The Inward and Outward Journey,” Magistra 7, 85–96.

Books on Greek Philosophy and Drama

2000Euripides’ Use of Psychological Terminology.   Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press. Pp. xii, 234.

1999. Sophocles’ Use of Psychological Terminology: Old and New.  Ottawa: Carleton University Press. Pp. xii, 290.

1997Aeschylus’ Use of Psychological Terminology: Traditional and New.   Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press. Pp. xi, 288.

1995. Psychological and Ethical Ideas: What Early Greeks Say.  Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill. Pp. xii, 262.  Mnemosyne Supplement, 144.

1989.  The Philosophical Orations of Thomas Reid.  Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.  Pp. ii, 89.  (With Dr. D.D. Todd)

1988Psychological Activity in Homer: A Study of Phrēn.  Ottawa: Carleton University Press. Pp. ix, 303.

Articles on Greek Philosophy in Refereed Journals and Books

1.    2003. “Psyché in Pindar, Nemean 9.32 and 69,” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 81, 5-10.

2.    2003.  “Kardia in Pindar, Olympians 5.2,” Studi italiani di filología classica 23, 124-128.

3.    2002. “Aspects of the “Fictive I” in Pindar: Address to Psychic Entities,” Emerita 70, 83-102.

4.    2002. “Noos in Pindar, Pythian 6.47 and 51.” Evphrosyne: Revista de filología clássica 30, 367-370.

5.    2002. “References to «mind» in Pindar, Pythians 5.” Athenaeum 90, 548-553.

6.    2001. “Etor in Pindar, Olympians 4, 25.” Studi italiani di filología classica 19, 32-37.

7.    2001. “Pindar, Pythians 5: the Fictive I.” Studi italiani di filología classica 19,158-166.

8.    2001.  “Phren and Planning: Pindar, Nemeans 1:27,” Prometheus 27, 211-216.

9.    2001.  “Thumos in Pindar, Pythians 9:30 and 96,” Eos 88, 25-30.

10. 2000.  “Euripides’ Hippolytus: A Study of Psychological Terminology (Part 1),” Studi Italiani Filologia Classica  18, 15-52.

11. 2000.  “Euripides’ Hippolytus: A Study of Psychological Terminology (Part 2),” Studi Italiani Filologia Classica  18, 149-195.

12. 1997. “’Dark’ Mind and Heart in Aeschylus.” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 75, 59-67.

13. 1997. “The Effects of Wine on Psychic Entities in Early Greek Poetry.” Eirene: studia graeca et latina 33, 9-18.

14. 1996. “Disturbances of the Mind and Heart in Early Greek Poetry.” L’Antiquité Classique 65, 31-51.

15. 1996. “The Psychic Term ‘ētor’: its Nature and Relation to Person in Homer and the Homeric Hymns,” Emérita 64, 11-20.

16. 1996. “Metaphorical Uses of Psychological Terminology in Early Poetry: Evidence for Distinctive Meanings of the Terms.” Studi Italiani Filologia Classica NS 14, 129-151.

17. 1996. “The role of ‘Ker’ in Homer and Homeric Hymns.” Evphrosyne: Revista de filología clássica 24, 9-31.

18. 1995. “Kradiē, Ētor, and Kēr in Poetry after Homer,” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 73, 17-38.

19. 1995. “What’s there in a Heart?” Kradie in Homer and the Homeric Hymns”.” Evphrosyne: Revista de filología clássica 23, 9-25.

20.  1995.  “The Relationship of Speech and Psychic Entities in Early Greek Poetry,” Prometheus  21, 228-240.

21.  1995. “The Mind and Heart of Zeus in the Poetry of Hesiod,” Archiv fur Begriffsgeschichte 38, 34-47.

22. 1994. “Love’s effects on Psychic Entities in Early Greek Poetry.” Eirene: studia graeca et latina 30, 23-36.

23.  1994. “The Mind and Heart of Zeus in Hesiod and the Greek Lyric Poets,” Archiv fur Begriffsgeschichte 37, 101-126.

24.  1994. “The Relationship of Person and Phrenes in the Greek Lyric Poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides),” Studi italiani di filología classica 12, 12-37, 149-174.

25.  1994. “The Removal of Psychic Entities in Early Greek Poetry,” Eos 82, 189-199.

26.  1994. “Self” and Psychic Entities in Early Greek Epic,” Eos 82,  5-16.

27. 1993. “Person and in Thumos the Poetry of Hesiod.” Emerita 61, 15-40.

28. 1993. “The Role of Person and Thumos in Pindar and Bacchylides.” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 71, 46-68.

29. 1991. “The Wider Meaning of Psyche in Pindar and Bacchylides.” Studi italiana Filologia clasica, Series 9,163-183.

30. 1990. “The Psychic Term Noos in the Poetry of Hesiod.” Glotta 68, 68-85.

31. 1990. “An Analysis of the Psychic Term Noos in Pindar and Bacchylides,” Glotta 68, 179-202.

32. 1989.  “The Psychic Term Noos in Homer and the Homeric Hymns,” Studi italiana Filologia clasica, Series 3, 152-195.

33. 1989.  “Phrenes in Hesiod.” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 67.1, 5-17.

34. 1989. “The Extended Use of Psyche in the Greek Lyric Poets.” La Parola del Passato 44, 241-262.

35. 1989.  “A Study of Phrenes in Pindar and Bacchylides,” Glotta 67, 148-189.

36. 1989. “A Study of the Psychic Term Noos in the Greek Lyric Poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides).” Emerita 57,129-168.

37. 1988. “Noos and Vision: Five passages in the Greek Lyric Poets.” Symbolae Osloenses 63.1, 7-17.

38. 1988. “An Analysis of Phrenes in the Greek Lyric Poets (Excluding Pindar and Bacchylides).” Glotta 66,126-62.

39. 1988.  “A Multi-Faceted Term: Psyche in Homer, the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod,” Studi italiani di Filologia classica Serie 3,151-180.

40. 1987Prapides in Homer.” Glotta 65, 182-193.

41. 1985. “The Nature of Phren in Empedocles” in Studi di filosofia preplatonica.  Naples: Bibliopolis, 119-136.

42. 1984. “The Sophon as an Aspect of the Divine in Heraclitus” in Greek Poetry and Philosophy: Studies in honour of Leonard Woodbury.  Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 285-301.

44. 1982.  “A Strand of Thought in Pindar, Olympians 7,” Transactions of the American Philological Association 112, 215-223.

45. 1981. “The Function of Thumos in Hesiod and the Greek Lyric Poets, Glotta 59, 147-155.

46. 1980. “How a Person relates to Noos in Homer, Hesiod, and the Greek Lyric Poets.” Glotta 58, 33-44.

47. 1980. “How a Person Relates to Thumos in Homer.” Indogermanische Forschungen 85, 138-50.

48. 1979. “A Person’s Relation to Phren in Homer, Hesiod, and the Greek Lyric Poets.” Glotta 57, 159-173.

49. 1979.  “A Person’s Relation to Psyche in Homer, Hesiod, and the Greek Lyric Poets.” Glotta 57, 30-39.

50.  1979. “Logos of Psyche in Heraclitus,” Rivista storicadell’Antichità 9, 89-93.

51. 1978. “The Phren of the Noos in Xenophanes’ God,” Symbolae Osloenses 53, 25-39.

52. 1978. “What Death Brings in Heraclitus,”  Gymnasium 85, 501-510.

53. 1978. “Heraclitus the Riddler,” Antike und Abendland , 24, 40-42.

54. 1977. “Noos Precedes Phren in Greek Lyric Poetry.” L’Antiquite Classique 46, 41-51.

55. 1977. “Daimon Parallels the Holy Phrên in Empedocles.” Phronesis, 22, 175-190.

56. 1977. “An Echo of Homer in Pindar, Pythians 4.” Transactions of the American Philological Association 107, 93-101.

57. 1977. “-phrōn Epithets of thumos.” Glotta 55, 178-182.

58. 1977“Thumos and Psyche in Heraclitus,” Rivista storicadell’Antichità 25, 353-359.

59. 1974“‘Daimon’ as a Force Shaping ‘Ethos’ in Heraclitus,” Phoenix 28, 390-407.

60. 1973. Doctoral Dissertation.  The Notion of Self in Xenophanes and Heraclitus. University of Toronto.

61. 1968. Masters Thesis. “Democritus and Epicurus: Soul, Thought, and Theory of Knowledge.”  University of British Columbia.

Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of British Columbia, 2008 —
Professor of Classics, University of British Columbia, 1989-2008.
Associate Professor of Classics, University of British Columbia, 1978-1988.
Assistant Professor of Classics, University of British Columbia, 1973-1977.
PhD (Classics), University of Toronto, 1973.
MA (Theological Studies-Biblical Languages), Regent College, 2019.
MA (Classics), University of British Columbia, 1968.
BA (Honours Latin) University of British Columbia, 1966.

Grants, Honours, Prizes
2003. Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Scholarship In Classics).
2003. Killam Research Prize (Research in Classics).
2002. Killam Teaching Prize (Excellence in Teaching).
1973-2005. Several SSHRC Grants for Research.
1966. Governor General’s Gold Medal (Top student in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences).