In Memoriam: Aryeh Kosman

(Originally posted on haverford.edu)

Aryeh Kosman, Haverford's John Whitehead Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, died early [June 17] of complications following a fall. He was 85.

After receiving his undergraduate and M.A. degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, he briefly studied at Hebrew University before earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He joined the Haverford faculty as an assistant professor in 1962, was promoted to full professor in 1973, became the Whitehead Professor in 1987, and retired in 2010.

"Aryeh was a star in Greek Philosophy," says Joel Yurdin, Haverford associate professor of philosophy. "Many of his articles are required reading for anyone writing on the topic, and they covered virtually every area of the field, including metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science." Such scholarship led to visiting professorships at Princeton, UCLA, and Berkeley and, in 1985, an award for distinguished teaching from the Lindback Foundation. That honor affirmed what, by then, thousands of Fords already knew: Prof. Kosman was thoroughly devoted to his Haverford students.

"I cannot think of Haverford College without thinking of Aryeh Kosman," says Jim Friedman '67. "He embodied the very best of Haverford: brilliant scholarship, deep concern for his students and colleagues, warmth, humor, and an awareness of our collective strengths and foibles. He was my teacher for four years and my friend for almost 60 years. For the last 15 years, we met frequently to discuss philosophy. Sadly the meeting scheduled for today will never take place. Our community has lost one of its luminaries. We will all miss him."

John Parachini '82 remembers Prof. Kosman's course on Aristotle as "an epic experience for any philosophy major in the 1980s. His guidance on how to read Aristotle’s Metaphysics helped me understand the importance of light as the medium for perceiving the world visually and consciously." Tom Navratil '82 took the same class as a philosophy major. "I'd put it among the top tier of all my classes at Haverford for both challenge and benefit."

Larry Tint '67 says he was not "a philosophy guy" while at Haverford, preferring math and science and seeing the humanities as "a necessary step towards graduation." While on that path, he took two classes with Prof. Kosman. "He was the quintessential Haverford professor, completely dedicated to enlightening his students, bringing an enormous knowledge base to the classroom, understanding the needs and limitations of his students, always available and willing to give his time graciously, allowing for divergence of opinion, and doing all of this with a sense of humor worthy of a stand-up comic. I, Haverford, and the world have lost a truly remarkable man." In a Facebook post, Hannah Turner '13 described Prof. Kosman's freshman writing seminar as "a joy," noting how she was "touched that he remembered me at my reunion. I was lucky to learn from him."

An article in the Spring 1976 issue of Haverford's alumni magazine pointed out that philosophy courses were among the College's most popular, with "historians, biologists, and musicians" vying to enroll. That the department was attracting so many non-majors was fine with Prof. Kosman. "Our purpose," he said at the time, "isn't to train philosophy scholars. It's to try to continue the tradition of Rufus Jones, to educate people in a moral way." Profiled again nearly a dozen years later, he said that "(h)uman beings are born with a deep desire to know. Curiosity knows no limits. We must think through an issue and follow the truth wherever it may go. There is no pleasure as deep as thinking."

Aryeh Kosman is survived by his wife, Deborah Roberts, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Haverford, former wife Tracy Kosman, and children Joshua (Nan Wiener), Isaac (Catherine Poisson), Jacob (Julie Urvater) and Hannah, and grandchildren Naomi, Natania, Noah, and Celia.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 18, at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, in Wynnewood, PA. All mourners in attendance will be required to wear masks.

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(Sent on behalf of Athanassios Vergados)

We are pleased to announce the programme of our upcoming conference on ‘Reflections on Language in Early Greece’ that will take place on-line via Zoom on 1st-3rd September 2021. To obtain the zoom details, please register at https://newcastleuniversity.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArdO-uqzwsEtCNY8qTfKAbs9cvCEPsZr17.

Please note that all times are GMT+1 (UK time).

 

 

1st September

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 07/09/2021 - 9:07am by Erik Shell.

AIA and SCS have been working on detailed plans for our 2022 joint Annual Meeting based on the results of our recent survey. Since 60% of respondents expressed a preference for a hybrid meeting, we are planning for our first ever hybrid conference in January 2022. This means speakers will be able to present in person in San Francisco or remotely in each session, and attendees will be able to attend sessions in the hotel or virtually. This is an ambitious undertaking and some elements of the conference cannot easily have a hybrid format; for example, social events will need to be either in person or virtual. However, we aim to make the meeting as hybrid as is feasible given logistics, costs, and staff capacity.  We anticipate a two-tier scale of registration rates, with virtual attendance costing less than in person attendance. There are many details still to be worked out, so please bear with us and we will update you later this Summer and in the Fall.

Members who made submissions to the SCS program committee this spring can expect to receive notification emails about the program committee’s decisions within the next few days.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 07/07/2021 - 6:46am by Helen Cullyer.
The Death of Caesar, Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1867. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Today marks half a year since insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, occupied the Senate chamber, violently assaulted Capitol Police defending the building, and threatened to assassinate the then-Vice President and other elected officials. In recent days, the House of Representatives has approved a plan for a formal investigation — on partisan lines, after Senate Republicans previously blocked the passage of a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission approved by the House in a bipartisan vote.

We mustn’t forget the assault on the peaceful transition of power, on the foundations of American democracy itself. And we shouldn’t forget that the insurrection is tied up with racist receptions of ancient Greece and Rome. Some insurrectionists came in Greek or Roman-themed cosplay, after all, and the right has long had a dangerous fascination with Sparta.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 07/06/2021 - 9:57am by T. H. M. Gellar-Goad.

Call for Papers 

Fédération internationale des associations d’études classiques (FIEC)

XVI International Conference, 1–5 August 2022
 

Mexico City 

(Virtual Meeting Format) 

Hesperides Sponsored Session 

"Hesperian Transformations: New Approaches to the Classical Tradition" 

Proposal Deadline: July 12, 2021 

  

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 07/02/2021 - 1:29pm by Erik Shell.
the Delphic oracle as interpreted by Anton van Dale in the 1700 edition of his book De oraculis veterum ethnicorum dissertationes duae

Joseph Fontenrose’s The Delphic Oracle (1978) fundamentally reshaped how we think about Greek oracular divination today. In this book, he argued that the literary evidence for ambiguous verse oracles emanating from Delphi is incommensurate with the epigraphic record. In the Histories, an early and prominent source of oracular lore, Herodotus often quotes vague or ambiguous prophetic verses of the Delphic priestesses that point toward unexpected and ironic moments of fulfillments: the “great empire” that Croesus toppled was, unfortunately, his own (1.86.1). Most inscriptions, however, report oracular pronouncements simply as clear statements of fact: “… it is better [for the Praxiergidai] to put the peplos on [the goddess]…” (Sokolowski, LSCG 15). Fontenrose reasoned that the inscriptions were the more reliable witnesses and concluded from his comparison that most of the famous stories about oracles in works of ancient historiography like Herodotus’ were ahistorical.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/28/2021 - 5:21pm by Daniel J. Crosby.

We are pleased to announce Plato 2022, an interdisciplinary workshop that will investigate the contemporary relevance of Plato’s ethical and political thought. The workshop will be held virtually on June 9-10, 2022. We welcome papers on Plato’s ethical and political thinking and encourage submissions that relate to contemporary events. 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 06/28/2021 - 11:27am by Erik Shell.

Do you teach ancient history, Latin, or any aspect of the ancient world within humanities courses at a community college? Join other community college faculty for the inaugural meeting of a new group convened by the Society for Classical Studies. You can sign up here for the virtual meeting on Thursday July 15, 2021 at 4pm EDT / 3pm CDT / 1pm PDT and also use the form to suggest topics of interest for discussion. Registered attendees will receive the zoom link on July 14th, 24 hours prior to the meeting.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 06/24/2021 - 9:49pm by Helen Cullyer.
Asclepius, his sons, daughters, and Hygeia in the background with a family of worshippers. Votive Relief from the 4th cent. BCE. National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative (AnWoMoCo), launched by the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiative, supports projects that seek to engage broader publics — individuals, groups, and communities — in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean, the global reception of Greek and Roman culture, and the history of teaching and scholarship in the field of classical studies. As part of this initiative, the SCS has funded 111 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks and conferences, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. The initiative welcomes applications from all over the world. To date, it has funded projects in 25 states and 10 countries, including Canada, U.K., Italy, Greece, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 06/24/2021 - 5:17pm by .

Revised 6/17/21 with updated submissions guidelines

As previously announced, Patrice Rankine and Sasha-Mae Eccleston will serve as guest editors of a future issue of TAPA with the theme of race, racism, and Classics (issue 153:1, to appear April 2023). Covid-19 and the global Movement 4 Black Lives have highlighted the extent to which racism is a public health emergency whose reach extends across the Black Atlantic and far beyond. In light of these deeply imbricated developments of 2020, this volume becomes even more timely. A detailed call for papers, along with instructions and deadlines for submission in 2021, follows.

Race and Racism: Beyond the Spectacular

…the “cultural logic” of lynching enables it to emerge and persist throughout the modern era because its violence “fit” within the broader, national cultural developments. This synchronicity captures why I refer to lynching as “spectacular”: the violence made certain cultural developments and tensions visible for Americans to confront.

Jacqueline Goldsby, A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 06/24/2021 - 8:49am by Helen Cullyer.
Scene from Lil Nas X's music video for MONTERO. A distorted image of a landscape with red trees, large ancient statues, and ancient buildings.

On the eve of March 26th, rapper and internet personality Lil Nas X dropped his newest single, “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” which caused immense controversy in its wake. At its heart is a young, gay Black man’s anthem about self-expression, resembling a “coming-out song.” Lil Nas X himself implied this in a letter to his younger self, posted alongside the song’s release. The title references the 2017 film Call Me By Your Name (based on the 2007 André Aciman novel) about the summer relationship between a Classics professor’s son and doctoral student.

This allusion to the film is not the only sidelong glance that Lil Nas X gives to the Classics. One of the first establishing shots of the video shows the landscape of “MONTERO” littered with classically-inspired architecture:

A distorted image of a bleak landscape filled with ancient statues and ruins

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 06/22/2021 - 8:51am by Vanessa Ruth Stovall.

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