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RUNIA, David Theunis

RUNIA, Professor David Theunis

Prof. David Runia, 2016.

Prof. David Runia, 2016.

Classical Scholar, Professor David Runia, one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on the philosophy of the classical world, has published extensively on his interest areas and taught widely, both in Europe and Australia. He has a specific interest in the Jewish philosopher, Philo (c.20BCE-c.50CE) of Alexandria and the Platonist tradition.

Currently (2017), he is a Professional Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He retired as Master of Queen's College in 2016. David has been recognised as one of the leading commentators on early Greek philosophy and Judaeo-Christian thought.

He studied Classics at the University of Melbourne receiving his BA (Hons) in 1974 and his MA in 1977. He also successfully studied for a Diploma in Education in 1977. He then studied at the Free University, Amsterdam gaining his D Litt in 1983. The thesis he submitted was entitled ‘Philo of Alexandria and the Timaeus of Plato’ . He then became Huygens Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Pure Research (NOW) from 1985 to 1990. He was also at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton in 1986 and 1987 as well as becoming a Visiting Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University ANU), Canberra in 1987.

In 1990, he became Von Humboldt Stipendiary at the Westfalische Wilhelms-Universtat in Munster, Germany. The following year, 1991, he was appointed Professor Extraordinarius in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at Leiden University in the Netherlands before being appointed Chair of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at Leiden University in 1992. He was subsequently Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at Leiden from 1995 to 1999. He was awarded Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (FAHA) in 1999. Appointed Master of Queen’s College in 2001, he returned to Australia in 2002 to take up his positions at the University of Melbourne. In 2003, he was awarded a Doctorate of Letters by the University of Melbourne.

He has been editor of the publication ‘The Studia Philonica Annual: Studies in Hellenistic Judaism’ since its inception in 1989 and has been co-editor of the journal, ‘Vigilae Christianae: A Review of Early Christian Life and Language’ , and also of the series ‘Philosophia Antiqua’ as well as being a member of the editorial board of ‘Amsterdam Studies in Jewish Thought’. He was elected Correspondent of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 and Scaliger Fellow at the University Library Leiden, Netherlands, in 2007.

David Runia was born in the Noord Oost Polder in the Netherlands on 14 December 1951 and emigrated to Melbourne with his parents in the 1950s. He attended Newtown State School before becoming a day student at Geelong College from February 1962 to December 1968. At the University of Melbourne he was a resident of Queen’s College. His father, Rev D Klaas Runia (1926-2006), was a Professor of Systematic Theology at the Reformed Theological College (RTC) in Geelong from 1956 until his return to the Netherlands in 1971.

The RTC was founded in 1954 by Professor Alexander Barkley, pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Geelong. In 1954, the RTC purchased the only remaining wing of the original 1857 Geelong Grammar School from where it operated for almost 40 years before acquiring, in 1999, part of the former Geelong Grammar Highton Campus at Waurn Ponds next to Deakin University.

Professor David Runia was inducted into the OGCA Gallery of Notable Collegians in 2016. He was described by the OGCA:
'David is an outstanding scholar, who was Chair of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at Leiden University and is now a Professorial Fellow at Melbourne University. Many younger Old Collegians may know him from his role as Master of Queen's College. David is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and Correspondent of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.'

Sources: The Studia Philonica Annual. accessed 3 April 2008; University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies; Ad Astra July 2016 p44. OGC 1965.
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