In Memoriam: Albert Henrichs

Albert Henrichs (December 29, 1942 – April 16, 2017)

On June 14, 1969, Albert Henrichs arrived in Vienna from Cologne, carrying four lumps of ancient leather in a cigar box. An expert Austrian conservator gradually unpeeled what turned out to be 192 pages of a tiny book measuring 1.4 x 1.8 inches, written in Greek and dating from the fifth century CE. By evening the following day, Henrichs had transcribed the text. It was a sensation for the history of religion: a detailed tract about Manichaeism, a rival of Christianity, founded in Mesopotamia in the third century by a young mystic called Mani, whose autobiographical account of his divine revelations is quoted in the text. Henrichs was 26. His publication of this astonishing codex, together with Ludwig Koenen, curator of papyri at Cologne, sealed his reputation as a Wunderkind of classical scholarship.

            As a baby, Henrichs was rescued from the carpet-bombing of Cologne to spend his early years in Bad Ems, originally a settlement on the northern border of the Roman empire. After the war, American GIs barracked in a nearby villa made the cherubic toddler their mascot, spoiling him with oranges and peanuts; Henrichs later attributed his affinity for the United States to that early memory from a war-stricken childhood. Subsequently educated at Cologne (PhD 1966), he spent two years working on the papyri collection at the University of Michigan, returning to Cologne for his Habilitation and then moving to Berkeley in 1971. He was appointed with tenure at Harvard in 1973 at the precocious age of thirty. In 1984 he was appointed the tenth Eliot Professor of Greek Literature, the first to have been neither born in the United States nor educated at Harvard.

            Henrichs’ training as a papyrologist afforded him a second sensational coup: the publication of 46 fragments from a second-century papyrus codex containing excerpts from a lurid Greek novel, Phoinikika (“Phoenician Saga”), by an otherwise unknown Lollianos. In it, a frank account of the protagonist’s loss of virginity pales into insignificance beside a subsequent episode, in which the protagonist, having joined a band of robbers in Egypt, participates in an act of human sacrifice and cannibalism, consuming the heart of a murdered boy to seal his oath of allegiance to the gang. All this Henrichs pieced together and explicated from the most daunting jigsaw of broken pieces. Unparalleled command of ancient Greek and its literature, profound knowledge of the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world, and the papyrologist’s tenacious attention to detail were the hallmarks of his scholarship.

            In his latter years, with his halo of white hair and rotund form, Henrichs resembled Silenus, a prominent figure in the boisterous revelry accompanying Dionysus, Henrichs’ favorite god and a persistent theme in his scholarship. In the latter half of the twentieth century, scholarship on Greek religion focused on ritual. Henrichs brought it back to the question of the gods, and what made them so: immortality, anthropomorphism, and power. He showed that the dancing of the tragic chorus, hitherto interpreted as a vestige of the ritual origins of tragedy, is a unique element of each play, crafted by the playwright to reflect an emotional response to the unfolding of the plot. His scholarly publications—nearly 200 in all—always bloomed afresh, rooted in the history of scholarship, which he knew intimately. The reception of Dionysus in modern culture also fascinated him, as did writers and cultural icons as varied as Rilke, Yeats, Mark Twain, Jim Morrison, and Lawrence of Arabia. His writing, whether in his native German or (flawless) English, was clear, compelling, and electric with insight.

            As a teacher, Albert Henrichs was unforgettable. His learning was legendary, and yet in every class he approached the text with the excitement of somebody discovering it for the first time. He taught until shortly before his death, stopping only when he could no longer reach Boylston Hall. At home, his hospitality was worthy of a devotee of Dionysus. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is mourned by generations of devoted students and colleagues the world over, and by his wife, Sarah Nolan; his children by his first marriage, Markus and Helen; their mother, Ursula; and two grandchildren.

Submitted by Kathleen M. Coleman, Harvard University, with gratitude to Sarah Nolan for much vivid detail.

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(Photo: "Candle" by Shawn Carpenter, licensed under CC BY 2.0)   

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Today we wish to introduce a new project: Women in Classics: Conversations. This venture consists of a series of interviews with female professors of Classics, many of whom were the first hired or the first to receive tenure at their institutions in the 1970’s and 1980’s. These academic women blazed a new trail as teachers and scholars at a time when university positions in many fields were overwhelmingly held by men. They did so in a discipline that has been described as “one of the most conservative, hierarchical, and patriarchal of academic fields.” Their experiences, as presented in these interviews, provide colorful, candid snapshots of a critical moment in the history of the discipline.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/15/2019 - 6:19am by Claire Catenaccio.

Information and an RSVP form for our Career Networking Event at this year's annual meeting are now available.

You can read about this event and sign up here:

https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/2020/151/2020-annual-meeting-career-networking-event

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/12/2019 - 11:29am by Erik Shell.

What is the interplay between Classics and literary translation? What are the preparatory actions for launching a new journal that will address problems and lacunae within the field? Adrienne K.H. Rose explores the challenges of beginning a translation journal which will address the philosophies, difficulties, and necessity for diversity within the area of classical translation.

Early Latin translators, including Cicero (De optimo genere oratorum iv. 13-v.14), Horace (Ars poetica II.128-44), Quintilian (Institutio Oratoria X.xi 1-11; X.v.1-5), and Jerome (Chronicle 1-2) distinguish between the act of word for word––or literal translation––and literary translation. The latter type of translation prioritizes senses, aesthetics, and rhetorical verve. However, language pedagogy in Classics departments emphasize the first type of translation, word for word, and often stop short of encouraging more literary pursuits. In fact, creative translations that deviate from translationese (a kind of literal, affected translation style from which the reader may deduce the exact parsing of the original word) is actively discouraged.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 6:29am by Adrienne K.H. Rose.

This is a reminder from the SCS Office that members hoping to register at the reduced Early Registration rate for the Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. must do so on or before this Friday, November 8th.

If you find you are unable to register or in need of any help please contact our registration vendor at aia-scs@showcare.com

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 11/06/2019 - 10:58am by Erik Shell.

2020 Annual Meeting: Seminars

*Sign up period ending soon!*

For the first time since 2016, the SCS will be holding four seminars at this year’s annual meeting.

Seminars as a rule concentrate on more narrowly focused topics and aim at extensive discussion. In order to allow the time to be spent mainly on discussion, the SCS publishes a notice about the session in advance, and organizers distribute copies of the papers (normally three or four in number) to be discussed to those who request them.  Attendance at a seminar will, if necessary, be limited to the first 25 people who sign up. Seminars are normally three hours in length. Registered meeting attendees may sign up at no additional cost for one or more of these seminars during the month of October.

Third Paper Session, Friday, January 3, 1:45-4:45 PM

State Elite? Senators, Emperors and Roman Political Culture 25BCE-400CE (Seminar)
John Weisweiler, St John's College, University of Cambridge, Organizer

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:21am by Erik Shell.

"WARNING: Storm Approaching": Weather, the Environment, and Natural Disasters in the Ancient Mediterranean

24th Annual Classics Graduate Student Colloquium, University of Virginia
March 21, 2020

Keynote Speaker: Clara Bosak-Schroeder (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Scientific, aesthetic, and religious conceptions of weather events appear throughout Classical antiquity, as the Greeks and Romans attempted to make sense of environmental phenomena. Often, these events were explained as expressions of divine wrath or favor. Storms and natural disasters figured as literary devices, for example to delay narrative action or as metaphors for the cyclic nature of human life. Climate, broadly defined, was thought to determine national character, and weather played a critical role in military expeditions. Recently, scholars have made considerable advances in applying principles of bioarchaeology to the study of the ancient world. Hand in hand with these, theorists working with the tools of ecocriticism envision a humanities broader than humans, accounting for the whole natural world.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 2:55pm by Erik Shell.

Modern cinema and Greek tragedy illustrate that few things elicit a fear more profound than parents killing children. Horror movies have often grappled with figures of “monstrous” mothers in particular, from the obsessive, hypochondriac Sonia Kaspbrack in Stephen King's IT (1986), to the lonely, murderous Olivia Crain in Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House (2018). In Greek tragedy, too, mothers are often monsters: women like Medea, Agave or Althaea are all tragic examples of women who have killed their children. In both genres, these gestures of extreme violence are meant to shock and unsettle the audience by pushing back against “normal” familial bonds, bringing into question relationships of gender, the body and motherhood.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 5:16am by Justin Lorenzo Biggi.

The Outreach Prize Committee is delighted to award the 2019 Outreach Prize of the Society for Classical Studies to Dr. Salvador Bartera, Assistant Professor of Classics and Dr. Donna Clevinger, Professor of Communication and Theatre at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi.  For the past five years, Professors Bartera and Clevinger have organized “Classical Week” at MSU, which includes a two-night run of an ancient comedy or tragedy and a colloquium about an aspect of the performance. This joint venture of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and the Shakouls Honors College showcases the interdisciplinarity of the event, in which Dr. Clevinger choreographs and directs the production, Dr. Bartera serves as dramaturge, and both collaborate on the colloquium.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 10/31/2019 - 9:09am by Erik Shell.

The Classics Program of the Department of Classical and Oriental Studies at Hunter College invites you to the Annual E. Adelaide Hahn Lecture.

Speaker: Emily Greenwood, Professor of Classics, Yale University

Friday November 8, 2019

  • Pre-Lecture Reception: 5:30-6:00 pm
  • Lecture: 6:00-7:00 pm “Verso Poetics: Black Women Poets and Classics”
  • Post-Lecture Reception: 7:00-7:30 pm

Location: Hunter College, 695 Park Ave., NY, NY 10065

8th floor Faculty / Staff Dining Room, Hunter West Building, 68th St. and Lexington Ave.

This event is open to the public. If you are a guest at Hunter, please bring a picture ID and stop at the Welcome Desk in the lobby of Hunter West Building, SW corner of 68th St. & Lex. (Then take the elevator to the 8th floor or the escalator to 3 and then the elevator to 8.)

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View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 10/28/2019 - 10:15am by Erik Shell.

The deadline to apply for the TLL Fellowship is November 8, 2019. The application includes many parts, and so should be started early.

Applications must be received by the deadline of Friday, November 8, 2019, at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Applications should be submitted as e-mail attachments to Dr. Helen Cullyer, Executive Director, Society for Classical Studies, xd@classicalstudies.org.

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 10/25/2019 - 8:15am by Erik Shell.

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