Paavo Hohti
Humanist of the day

Paavo Hohti

Paavo Hohti, PhD in Classical philology, forged a career at the helm of the Finnish Cultural Foundation. He speaks for the rounded education offered by the humanities and warns of research in the field becoming of mere instrumental value. Professor Hohti, who has devoted his life to the promotion of art and research, is concerned about trends in research funding. Hohti is charmed by the University’s new Main Library, and after years of foundation work he still considers the University of Helsinki his spiritual home.

Paavo Hohti

Paavo Hohti
Born October 19, 1944, Helsinki

PhD 1976 (Greek and Roman literature), University of Helsinki
Docent 1977–, University of Tampere and University of Helsinki

Managing Director 2004–13, Council of Finnish Foundations
Director 1980–89, Secretary General 1990–2004, Finnish Cultural Foundation
Lecturer in Latin 1971–80, University of Tampere

Board member 2011, Bonier Books Finland
Board of administration member 1990–99, Board of directors 1999–2008
WSOY Board of administration member 1991–99

Research themes and publications:
Studies of the historical writing and rhetoric of ancient Greece and Byzantium, and papyrology.

Acta Byzantina Fennica, editorial work 1985–90

Finnish translation of Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric (1997)

Publications on the activities and history of private foundations

Awards and honours:
Honorary title of professor 2003

First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland, Commander of the Order of the Holy Lamb, Commander, first class, of the Greek Order of Honour

Photo: Ida Pimenoff
Written by Olli Siitonen
Translated by Matthew Billington

Paavo Hohti believes that close relations between professors and students played an increasing role as his studies progressed. In a relatively small group, everybody knew one another and professors were personally involved. Of his Greek Literature teachers, Hohti mentions Henrik Zilliacus and Holger Thesleff.

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As a student, the classical philologist Paavo Hohti was particularly interested in rhetoric and historical writing in the ancient world, two things which Cicero in his day had already considered closely linked. Hohti considers his 1976 doctoral dissertation on the Histories by Herodotus to be his most rewarding experience as a researcher. The central theme of the dissertation is the connection between words and deeds.

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