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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The SCS, consistent with its Statement on Professional Ethics, which addresses discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity, stands fully in support of transgender classicists. It condemms any harassment and bullying of anyone who is transgender or who advocates for transgender rights.

approved by the SCS Board, 4/30/21

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Fri, 04/30/2021 - 12:52pm by Helen Cullyer.

The Department of Latin at the University of Basel, in collaboration with the foundation PLuS, is pleased to invite applications for the new round of the Basel Fellowships in Latin Literature. The fellowship programme offers an opportunity for early career researchers as well as established scholars to pursue their research in the framework of a fully funded visit of up to three months at the Departement Altertumswissenschaften of the University of Basel. During their stay Fellows are entitled to make full use of the excellent resources of the University Library as well as the departmental library, Bibliothek Altertumswissenschaften, one of the world’s leading research libraries for the study of the ancient Mediterranean civilisations.

Closing date for applications for spring and autumn 2022 (full term: 21 Feb until 03 June 2022 or 19 Sept until 23 Dec 2022 respectively) is 01 September 2021.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 04/27/2021 - 1:09pm by Erik Shell.

Congratulations to all the newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The 252 new members include several who are classicists:

CLASS IV – Humanities and Arts

SECTION 1 – PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES

RELIGIOUS STUDIES

  • Fritz Graf, The Ohio State University
  • Teresa Morgan (IHM), University of Oxford

SECTION 3 – LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE STUDIES

  • Ruth Scodel, University of Michigan

SECTION 5 – VISUAL ARTS

  • Paul Zanker (IHM), German Archaeological Institute

CLASS V – Leadership, Policy, and Communications

SECTION 3 – EDUCATIONAL AND ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP

  • Joy Connolly, American Council of Learned Societies

You can view the whole list of newly elected members here.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 04/25/2021 - 8:10am by Helen Cullyer.
Roman Forum

SCS congratulates the 2021-22 Rome Prize Winners in Ancient Studies, announced by the American Academy in Rome on April 23, 2021:

Sasha-Mae Eccleston
National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize

Kevin Ennis
Samuel H. Kress Foundation/Helen M. Woodruff-Archaeological Institute of America Rome Prize

Grace Funsten
Emeline Hill Richardson/Arthur Ross Rome Prize

John Izzo
Millicent Mercer Johnsen Rome Prize

Adriana Maria Vazquez
Andrew Heiskell/Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Rome Prize

You can view the full announcement and list of all Rome prize winners and Italian fellows here.

Image: "Roman Forum" by Benson Kua is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Sat, 04/24/2021 - 3:21pm by Helen Cullyer.
Hades abducting Persephone. Fresco in the small royal tomb at Vergina, Macedonia, Greece. 340 BCE.

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative, 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 98 projects in 25 states and 10 countries, 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.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 04/23/2021 - 9:59am by .
NEH Logo

April, 2021

Below is a list of the most recent NEH grantees and their Classically-themed projects. The NEH helps fund a number of SCS initiatives, and their support affects the field of Classics at a national and local level.

Grantees

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  • Jennifer Bryan (Oberlin College) - "Chaucer's Ovidian Arts: Poetic Influence and Innovation at the Beginning of English Literature"
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View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 04/21/2021 - 2:23pm by Erik Shell.
Roman portraiture fresco of a young man with a papyrus scroll, from Herculaneum, 1st century AD. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

When I came back to the classroom in 2016, after an interlude career as a mental health counselor, I noticed systemic problems in the field of Classics that I had previously normalized. At the pre-collegiate level, Classics is not only elitist, but also exclusive in a way that has made it a racialized space. Mock slave auctions, for example, were held as fundraisers under the Junior Classical League brand as late as 2019 and still have not been formally banned. Instructional materials present slavery with the same rhetoric as Lost Cause white supremacists. At the JCL convention this year, the piece for the boys’ dramatic oration was a selection from Ars Amatoria, and the theme for the “couples costume” contest regularly involved rapist-victim dyads.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 04/21/2021 - 10:01am by Danielle Bostick.

The Classics Program of Hunter College (CUNY) announces the rescheduled conference on Theognis and the Theognidea. The conference will now be virtual. It will run from April 28th (Wednesday) through April 30th (Friday) from 12-3:30 PM. (NB, the first day starts at 11:45AM and the last day runs to 4PM.) The conference is open and free. Registration is required.

 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 04/19/2021 - 9:43am by Erik Shell.

Howard University is the only HBCU in the United States with a Classics Department, which has been a part of the institution since its inception in 1867. SCS has recently received the following news from the Department:

"Howard University has decided to close the Department of Classics as part of its prioritization efforts and is currently negotiating with the faculty of Classics and with other units in the College as to how they might best reposition and repurpose our programs and personnel. These discussions have been cordial, and the faculty remains hopeful that the department can be kept intact at some level, with its faculty and programs still in place." 

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Fri, 04/16/2021 - 8:52am by Helen Cullyer.
Relief found in Neumagen near Trier, a teacher with three discipuli (180-185 AD). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

As a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin this spring, working on a book on Roman diversity, I've been wondering how German classicists are experiencing current debates about diversifying our field. To find out, I spoke with Dr. Katharina Wesselmann, a professor in the Northern German city of Kiel who has also taught high school and university in Basel, Switzerland. The fact that she specializes in “didactics” — the teaching of ancient Greek and Latin — is one mark of the differences between our two national classics traditions. In Germany, Latin and Greek are regularly offered at the advanced secondary schools known as Gymnasiums. So more Germans than Americans are familiar with the classical languages, and those who pursue university degrees in classics can find employment teaching high school.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 04/15/2021 - 11:12am by Nandini Pandey.

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