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 on Homeric studies, New Testament studies, comparative oral traditions, historical linguistics, and pedagogy. 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 etymology (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. His latest book, Paul's Large Letters: Paul's Autographic Subscription in the Light of Ancient Epistolary Conventions, was published in 2016 by Bloomsbury T&T Clark. He is currently engaged in a long-term project on allusions to classical literature in Luke-Acts and the letters of Paul, for which he received a FaCE grant through the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.
Reece has done research at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (Lord Fellowship), the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri (NEH Fellowship), the American Academy in Rome (Fulbright 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 for three years, 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 and having served as a consultant for the Hollywood production of 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 son Taylor, a daughter-in-law Kayli, a newborn granddaughter Ellie (asleep in photo at right), and a daughter Hannah.
Courses in 2020-2021: Semester I: on leave. Semester II: Greek and Roman Myth; Homer and Greek Epic; Greek 112.