CONF: Lutheranism and the Classics

Philipp-Melanchthon-1537

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(please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)

Lutheranism & the Classics, 1 and 2 October, 2010, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

The Age of the Reformation was also the Age of the Renaissance, a period to which the birth of the modern discipline of classics may be traced. The classics provided a rich source for the thought, intellectual undergirding, and polemic of the era. Classics thus became part of the cultural DNA, as it were, of the Reformation and post-Reformation Church in the West. Of particular interest to this conference is the reception of the classics in the Wittenberg (Lutheran) Reformation. There, the darling of the Northern European Renaissance, Philipp Melanchthon, appropriated the classics in the service of the Gospel and drew them to the fore as an integral part of the reformational program in Saxony and much of Northern Europe. Papers at “Lutheranism & the Classics” explore this watershed period in the history of classics reception and its ongoing impact on the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

For more information, visit www.ctsfw.edu/classics. Inquiries may be addressed to one of the three organizers: John Nordling (john.nordling AT ctsfw.edu); Carl Springer (casprin AT siue.edu); Jon Bruss (jonbruss AT yahoo.com).

Vomitorium: Another One Gets it Right

In my never-ending quest to ensure journalists ‘get it right’, from an ABC piece about eating disorders, inter alia:

Contrary to popular belief, vomitoriums were not used by the Roman elite to get rid of their stomach contents. The vomitorium is an architectural structure within the Roman amphitheatre, designed to alleviate crowds by allowing the audience to “spew out” after the show.”

While there have been some historical reports of Romans deliberately vomiting, this was certainly not part of a regular binge-purge cycle and there is no evidence that it was accompanied by a sense of loss of control, cognitive distortions, body shame, or feelings of low self-worth, as seen in those suffering from bulimia.

Kudos to Lydia Jade Turner! Clearly she did some research!

d.m. Herbert H. Huxley

University of Victoria
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From the Canadian Classical Bulletin, with the kind permission of John G. Fitch:

Herbert Henry Huxley, Professor of Latin at the University of Victoria from 1968 to 1979, died on 5 May in Cambridge, England at the age of 93. Educated at Manchester Grammar School and St John’s College, Cambridge, he held positions successively at the Universities of Leeds and Manchester before coming to Canada.

HHH had a wide-ranging interest in Latin verse of all periods, contributing, for example, a useful article on the Latin poems of George Herbert (1593-1633). In 1961 he published a school edition of Books 1 and 4 of Vergil’s Georgics. His real talent, however, lay in writing Latin verses (both translations and original compositions), in a variety of metres, quantitative and accentual. Though his verse is characterised chiefly by its elegance and wit, it takes on real poetic power on those occasions when it deals with love and loss, with mortality and with religious themes. His version of Landor’s “Well I remember how you smiled” is at least as good as the original. Guy Lee identified correctly the “inspired simplicity” of Huxley’s style in a poem like his “Eucharistic Hymn”. “If one can write like that,” commented Lee, “one has not lived in vain.”

Huxley’s mind turned unerringly to the quaint and recherché, perhaps as an antidote to a certain melancholy. Characteristic titles of his publications are “Two Sanskrit Epigrams & Epitaph on an Unknown Female Corpse (Kipling)” and “Sir Winston Churchill, Aeneid VII and the Vocative Case”. He claimed that his paper “It” had the shortest title of any learned article in Classics. Wit was characteristic of his conversation as of his writing. On one occasion a colleague who rejoiced in the surname Currie happened to be late for a faculty meeting. As we waited, “Currie a non currendo” murmured Herbert — a mot that survives though the topic of the meeting is long forgotten.

In relations with colleagues, alas, he could be fierce and even destructive. But he could be charming in company, and was amazingly patient and entertaining with children. He was particularly interested in “town and gown” relations, offering many non-credit courses for mature students and even co-leading a group to Greece. Shortly after coming to Victoria he co-founded the Classical Association of Vancouver Island, which has grown and thrived to this day and is his best Canadian memorial.

d.m. Michel Janon

Crest of the University of Ottawa

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From the Canadian Classical Bulletin, with the kind permission of Daniel M. Millette:

Michel Janon, Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Ottawa from 1986 to 1995, died on May 31st, in Marseilles, France, at the age of 72.  He was educated in Algiers (History and Archaeology, 1964) and earned his doctorate at the Sorbonne (History, 1970).  He held positions within the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) from 1965 to 1970 in Algiers, and from 1970 to 2010 in Aix-en-Provence.  From 1995, he was a member of the Institut de Recherche sur l’Architecture Antique (IRAA), within the CNRS.

Janon was highly specialized in Latin epigraphy and architectural decor, particularly of Narbonensis.  He published two seminal volumes: the first on the Latin Inscriptions of Narbonensis (Fréjus), with J. Gascou, in 1985, and the second on architectonic elements of Narbonne, in 1986.  His other published work followed these research themes.  A second principal area of interest was archaeology, first practicing in Algeria at Cherchell, Tiddis and Lambaesis, and eventually in France, at Fréjus, Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, Gaujac and Orange.  He was an authority on the urban plan and archaeology of Lambaesis, producing an innovative book, with J.-M. Gassend, in 2005.

Michel’s intellect was of the extremely independent kind.  He defended his ideas fiercely, often remaining misunderstood and at times fuelling intense debate.  He expected brilliant work from his students, resulting in high quality research.  For his students and selected colleagues, he could be charming, displaying a joie de vivre that could only be matched by his love of debate.  In his final years, he found happiness through his grandchildren, spending time with his wife Nancy, and painting from his homes in France and Spain.