John M. Rist was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He completed the Classical Tripos, Part 1 and Part 2, the latter with a specialization in ancient philosophy, in 1958 and 1959; he proceeded to the MA in 1963. He taught Greek at University College in the University of Toronto from 1959 to 1969. From 1969 to 1980 he was Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto. From 1980 to 1983 he was Regius Professor of Classics at the University of Aberdeen, and from 1983 to 1996 he returned to the University of Toronto as Professor of Classics and Philosophy, with a cross-appointment to St. Michael’s College from 1983 to 1990. He become Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto in 1997 and has been part-time Visiting Professor at the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome since 1998.
In 1976 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 1991 he was elected a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. In 1995 he was the Lady Davis Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Professor Rist’s publications include the following books: Man, Soul and Body: Essays in Ancient Thought from Plato to Dionysius (1996), Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized (1994), The Mind of Aristotle (1989), Platonism and Its Christian Heritage (1985), Human Value: A Study of Ancient Philosophical Ethics (1982), On the Independence of Matthew and Mark (1978), The Stoics (1978), Epicurus: An Introduction (1972), Stoic Philosophy (1969), Plotinus: The Road to Reality (1967), and Eros and Psyche: Studies in Plato, Plotinus and Origen (1964). He has also published some eighty articles on ancient Greek philosophy, Hellenistic philosophy, Plotinus and Neoplatonism, Patristics, and medieval philosophy. To mention only a few of Professor Rist’s many articles, among the most important there are: “The Nature and Background of Basil’s ‘Neoplatonism,’” in Basil of Caesarea: Christian, Humanist, Ascetic, ed. P. J. Fedwick (1981); “Where Else?” in Philosophers Who Believe, ed. Kelly J. Clark (1993); “Plotinus and Christian Philosophy,” in The Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, ed. L. P. Gerson (1996); and “Platonic Soul, Aristotelian Form, Christian Person,” in Self, Soul and Body in Religious Experience, ed. A. Baumgarten, J. Assmann, and G. G. Stroumsa (1998).