In Memoriam, John W. Rettig

A recent painful loss to our profession came with the death of John Rettig.  He was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He graduated magna cum laude from the Honors A.B. Program at Xavier University in 1953 and was awarded the M.A. in Classics the following year.  The next two years were given to military duties, which he fulfilled while stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco.  After separation from the army, he returned home and taught English and Latin for four years in the Cincinnati public school system, but then returned to formal studies at The Ohio State University, where he earned the Ph D. in 1963.  His work on his dissertation, “The Latinity of Martin of Braga”, under the direction of Professor Clarence Forbes, seems to have set the stage for his future primary research interest, the Church Fathers.

John began his college teaching career as an instructor in Greek and Latin at Catholic University of America.  After three years he became assistant professor of classics at Duquesne University.  In 1968 he had the opportunity to return to Xavier and his home town.  He remained at Xavier until his retirement in 1996.  He became an invaluable colleague as he took on a wide variety of courses in the Latin and Greek authors as well as courses in English, especially his Introduction to the Church Fathers.  He also showed a willingness to share the burdens of administration, most obviously in his ten years as department chair and director of the Honors A. B. Program.  In his dealings with students, parents, colleagues, and the general public, he remained an active and effective champion of the educational value of the liberal arts and sciences and especially of the classics.

A continuing project over much of his career was his work on the translation of the St. Augustine’s 124 sermons commenting on the Gospel of St. John.   This work came to fruition between 1988 and 1995 with In Joannis evangelium tractatus, published in five volumes with introduction and explanatory notes in the Fathers of the Church series.  The fifth and final volume added ten sermons on St. John’s first epistle to the last thirteen tractates.  His broad knowledge of Augustine’s thought, his deep understanding of his Latin, and the ability to represent clearly the sometimes difficult passages in the text made these volumes a most welcome contribution to the study of this influential Church Father.

Although John was indeed highly respected because of his research activity, his students will tell you that they first think of him as an excellent teacher.  He had the most welcome ability to be kind, thoughtful, and entertaining in the classroom, while at the same time imparting a clear understanding of the subtleties of the Latin and Greek languages, thereby providing a deeper insight into the words of the great classical authors.  The students  worked hard in his classes, but the majority enjoyed doing so.  We all hope that our brighter students, when we guide them through the writings of the Greeks and Romans, will develop a great love and appreciation for the ancient masters.  Those who enjoyed the guidance of John Rettig were fortunate indeed.

The John W. Rettig Lecture, which brings internationally known scholars to Xavier’s campus each fall, is held in honor of John Rettig’s contribution to classics and to Xavier.

Robert J. Murray

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The new Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities worldwide with the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in new and meaningful ways. As part of this initiative the SCS has been funding a variety of projects ranging from reading groups comparing ancient to modern leadership practices to collaborations with artists in theater, music, and dance. In this post we focus on digital projects that engage with ancient texts and discuss the study of Classics during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:55am by .

Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants, January – April 2020

Some of our short-term fellowship and Classics Everywhere award winners are deferring use of their awards until Fall 2020 or 2021 owing to COVID-19. However, we congratulate everyone who was awarded a scholarship, fellowship or grant this spring, and we thank our selection committees for their hard work.

TLL Fellowship:

Amy Koenig

Pearson Fellowship:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

Please see below a message from the SCS President, followed by a listing of 2020 graduates:

With in-person celebrations ruled out by the coronavirus pandemic, the Society for Classical Studies is proud to recognize the many graduates at all levels across North America who have chosen to make serious and sustained study of the ancient Mediterranean world a significant part of their education.  For those who are earning PhD’s, we welcome the new contributions to knowledge that each of you has made, and we pledge our support and guidance as you negotiate an even more challenging professional landscape than you signed up for.  We warmly salute all degree-recipients who are pursuing careers in the vital enterprise of K-12 education.  For those who are going in other directions, we take great satisfaction in the variety of paths you will be following.  We hope the classical world will remain an important part of your lives, and we invite you to visit our website, read our blog, and join the SCS as “Friends of Classics.”  And we count on you as lifelong advocates for the value of studying Greco-Roman and ancient Mediterranean history and culture: please take every opportunity to spread the word that the ancient world still presents us with new questions to investigate and with multiple points of reference for thinking through our present-day concerns.  Heartfelt congratulations to all!

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

The Arabic and Latin Glossary (hereafter al-gloss) is a free, online dictionary of the vocabulary used by medieval translators, primarily working in eleventh- to thirteenth-century Italy and Spain, to render the Arabic versions of Greek scientific and philosophical texts and original Arabic compositions into Latin. It is parallel, in terms of its scholarly goals and methodology, to the database Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum (hereafter gloss-ga), which is also run out of Germany but by a different team. In this review, I will refer to gloss-ga because it offers a point of comparison for assessing al-gloss’ editorial decisions and accessibility.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/22/2020 - 3:23pm by .
Books

Loeb Classical Library Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Classics

2021-2023

The Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library Foundation announce funding of four two-year postdoctoral fellowships to be held in the academic years 2021–2023. [A further four fellowships will be funded for the academic years 2022–2024] The details for the first round of competition for these fellowships are as follows:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 2:30pm by Helen Cullyer.

Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A. in Education Policy from NYU. Erik has been working part-time on his degree while working full-time for SCS in many roles. He runs the the Placement Service, works on social media and our website, coordinates our departmental membership program, edits video, and does so many other things. Thank you, Erik, for everything you do for SCS and its members, and congratulations on a well-deserved Masters degree!

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/20/2020 - 8:09am by Helen Cullyer.

Have you ever thought about a terminal MA in Classics?

I have to confess, I hadn’t before coming to teach at Boston College, where we have such a graduate program. I had firsthand experience with Classics BAs in colleges that only granted undergraduate degrees, BAs and MAs in PhD-granting departments — heck, even a combined BA/MA program. But a freestanding MA degree that was a purposeful end goal rather than an add-on, an along-the-way, or a no-more-thanks? It never crossed my mind. To judge from the conversations that I’ve had since joining a department with a terminal MA program, I think that’s true of a lot of Classics faculty, as well as for a lot of students. And I also think that has led to some unfortunate misunderstandings about terminal MAs and their contributions, both to the field as a whole and to the personal and professional development of individual students.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 8:26am by Christopher Polt.

Barbara K. Gold is Edward North Professor of Classics at Hamilton College, Emerita. She received her B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1966, her master’s degree in 1968 and her doctorate in 1975, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on Greek and Roman literature, particularly Roman elegy, lyric, and satire; medieval literature, culture, and history; Roman social history; women in the ancient world; and feminist criticism. A prolific author and recipient of numerous grants and awards, Professor Gold was the first woman editor of The American Journal of Philology from 2000 to 2008 and is currently Vice President for Professional Matters of the Society for Classical Studies. She has also served on numerous college committees and was Associate Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College (1997-2001).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/08/2020 - 5:01am by Claire Catenaccio.

THE ERICH S. GRUEN PRIZE

On behalf of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS), the Erich S. Gruen Prize Committee invites all graduate students in North America to enter the first annual competition for the best graduate research paper on multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean. This year the prize will be a cash award of $500. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 6:55am by Erik Shell.

(From Anthony Preus and Caleb Cohoe)

Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy Network Facebook group has been set up as a forum for scholars working in any area of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, from Thales of Miletus through to Boethius and Byzantium. All members are encouraged to share ancient philosophy related events, questions, books and articles (including their own), and teaching materials. Any scholar with an interest in ancient philosophy, whatever their academic discipline, is welcome to join. Caleb will generally be able to respond to membership requests within 24 hours. 

He'll still be posting events and other key information on my ancient philosophy events calendar. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/06/2020 - 12:52pm by Erik Shell.

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Please see below a message from the SCS President, followed by a list
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Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A.

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