Steve Reece grew up in the town of Niigata on the west coast of Northern Japan. He came to the United States in 1977 to go to college, earning a B.A. and M.A. (Classics) at the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. (Classics) at the University of California-Los Angeles. Since then he has taught at UCLA, Texas A&M University, and Vanderbilt University (Mellon Fellow) before coming to St. Olaf College in 1994.
Reece has published a wide variety of articles and book chapters in Homeric studies, New Testament studies, comparative oral traditions, historical linguistics, and language pedagogy. In Homeric studies he is the author of a book about the rituals of ancient Greek hospitality (The Stranger's Welcome: Oral Theory and the Aesthetics of the Homeric Hospitality Scene, University of Michigan Press) and a book on early Greek etymologizing (Homer's Winged Words: Junctural Metanalysis in Homer in the Light of Oral-Formulaic Theory, E.J. Brill Press), for which he received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. In New Testament studies he is the author of a book about Paul's letter-writing conventions (Paul's Large Letters: Paul's Autographic Subscription in the Light of Ancient Epistolary Conventions, Bloomsbury T&T Clark) and a book that reconstructs the educational background of the author of Luke-Acts (The Formal Education of the Author of Luke-Acts, Bloomsbury T&T Clark), for which he received a FaCE grant through the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. He is currently working on a monograph about wordplays on proper names in the New Testament.
Reece has done research at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (Lord Fellowship), the American Academy in Rome (Fulbright Fellowship), the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri (NEH Fellowship), and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. He has lectured broadly, is called on frequently to act as referee for professional journals and university presses, and has been a consultant for IBM, E.J. Brill Press, and the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition.
He has chaired the St. Olaf Department of Classics, served as the faculty representative to the St. Olaf Board of Regents, and served a term as President of the Classical Association of Minnesota. In 2015 Reece was named the O.C. and Patricia Boldt Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities. In the summer of 2010 he participated in the archaeological excavations at Tel Megiddo in northern Israel (photo at right).
In his spare time Reece is a hopeful fisherman, a "wannabee" basketball player, and an indolent bike-rider. Besides being able to speak Japanese with a Tennessee accent, his greatest claims to fame are having climbed a dozen active volcanoes, having crashed into John Lennon on a bicycle, and having served as a consultant for the Hollywood production Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures.
He is married to Rhonda Reece, former Minister of Music at Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield; the photo at left shows them exploring petroglyphs in Colorado. They have a daughter Hannah, a son Taylor, a daughter-in-law Kayli, and two grandchildren Ellie and Teddy.
Courses in 2022-2023: Semester I: Latin 111 (First-Year Latin), Greek 231 (Intermediate Greek), Latin 372 (Roman Historians). Interim: Classics 124 (The Many Faces of Homer). Semester II: Latin 112 (First-Year Latin), Greek 253 (New Testament Greek), Greek 375 (Homer and Greek Epic).