My main research focus is the Bibliotheke of Diodorus Siculus. Diodorus, a contemporary of Julius Caesar, is the author of one of the longest and most important ancient histories to survive, yet paradoxically has received relatively little attention from modern scholars. The Bibliotheke was originally in 40 books, of which 15 have survived intact. Diodorus conceived the Bibliotheke as a universal history, covering all of known history across all peoples. Of the surviving books, 1-5 cover the myths and early history of the Egyptians, Indians, Persians, and other "barbarian" peoples along with the myths of the Greeks. Books 11-20 provide a historical narrative of the years 480-302 BC, and the fragments of the remaining books often provide important information about the Hellenistic period and the Roman Republic.
In spite of his importance, Diodorus has not always fared well at the hands of modern scholars. Because he was writing about events largely outside his own lifetime, he was dependent on earlier written sources. Almost all of these written sources are now lost, but starting in the 19th century scholars began attempting to reconstruct them by using Diodorus' text. Diodorus was treated as a "mere epitomizer" who "mechanically abridged" his earlier sources. This type of scholarship, which is known as Quellenforschung, dominated studies of Diodorus from the 19th century until very recently, but it has a strong tendency to minimize and denigrate Diodorus' own contribution to the work that, after all, he wrote.
My approach to Diodorus is very different. First, I am re-evaluating the traditional assumptions about what sources he used, and how he used them. I am finding that, contrary to the traditional views, Diodorus does far more than simply abridge one source, then another. Rather, the parts of the Bibliotheke which I have examined so far clearly show that Diodorus is often mixing multiple sources. Even when he does appear to be relying on a single source for a given section of his work, Diodorus reworks it to better fit in with his own ideas and theories about history and the historical process. This research has already led to two published articles, "The Sources of Diodorus Siculus, Book 1," in Classical Quarterly, and "Diodorus and Megasthenes: A Reappraisal," in Classical Philology.
However, my approach to Diodorus goes well beyond the traditional studies of sources. Because most of the work on Diodorus has dealt with his sources, there has been very little scholarship on his own thinking and contributions to the field of historiography. Currently I am working on a monograph that will help rectify this. In particular, I want to show how Diodorus' inclusion of topics such as mythology, ethnography, geography, and scientific explanations fit into his world-view and the intellectual climate of his time, and what messages he is trying to convey to his audience with them. I have presented a paper with some of my findings so far at the first-ever international conference devoted to Diodorus, held in Glasgow in the summer of 2011.