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J. Rufus Fears (March 7, 1945 - October 6, 2012) was an American historian, scholar, teacher, and author on the subjects of ancient history, the history of liberty, and the lessons of history. He is best known for his many lectures for the Teaching Company.
Fears joined the OU faculty in 1990, serving as professor of classics. Fears was the David Ross Boyd Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, where he held the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. Among his numerous honors and award for teaching, Fears was selected three times by OU students as Professor of the Year and was named by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence as recipient of the Medal for Excellence in College and University Teaching. Fears earned his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in history and classics at Emory University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Prior to coming to OU, Fears held teaching positions at Indiana University and Boston University, where he served as Chair of the Department of Classical Studies. At Indiana University he was selected four times by IU students as Professor of the Year, and there was not a lecture hall on campus large enough to seat the thousands of students who attempted to signed up for his courses in both history and political science.
In addition to being a professor, Fears also wrote books and monographs including, “The Cult of Jupiter and Roman Imperial Ideology” and "The Theology of Victory at Rome.” He edited a three-volume edition of “Selected Writings of Lord Acton,” and had released more than a dozen titles for The Great Courses lecture series. Fears also taught a Great Books course offered through OU Outreach’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to Senior Citizens in both Norman, Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Fears lectured across the country and was a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries Show. He was writing a book entitled Dangerous Delusions: Why We Ignore the Lessons of History at Our Risk. Fears died on October 6, 2012.
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