After a long absence, a bit of reflection on the past few months is in order.
This spring, I took four classes, in addition to TAing an ancient history course and doing some editorial work for the Library of Early Christianity. I was quite busy, but it turned out to be a fun semester.
My only straight-forward translation course was Survey of Greek Literature, which I greatly enjoyed. We started with Homer and Hesiod, and then did some Pindar and Bacchylides. After a spell in the pre-Socratics, we then did some Plato (the myth of Ur and the myth in the Phaedo). Following this, we read some Tragedy: some from Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes and then from Euripides’ Phoenissae. We concluded with Aristophanes’ Pax, though we’d hoped to get a bit farther. The course added depth and breadth to my knowledge of classical Greek lit. It can be frustrating to skip around so much, but I enjoyed covering a huge swath of material rather quickly. For my final research paper I wrote about Gregory’s use of Sophocles and Euripides in his long autobiographical poem, De Vita Sua. I’ll be presenting a version of this paper this fall at the CAAS meeting in Washington, DC, along with several other CUA folks, in a panel on the reception of Sophocles.
I also took Greek Prose Composition, which was a detailed review of Greek Grammar paired with English->Greek translation exercises. This was enormously helpful, especially as much of my grammatical knowledge was self-taught, and hence patchy.
My Latin course for the term was Latin Textual Criticism. This was an introduction to both theory of textual criticism and the praxis of creating an edition. We worked on a sermon by Robert Grosseteste, who was bishop of Lincoln from 1235-1253. I was able to give presentations for the class on a variety of digital tools, including Juxta and the Classical Text Editor. I’d made some forays into editing before, but this was the first time I went all the way from mss reproductions to complete text and apparatus. As I hope to edit texts eventually, I’m quite thankful for the experience.
My final course was an introduction to Patristic Theology. We started with the apostolic fathers, and got up through about Boethius in the West, and Iconoclasm in the East. I was familiar with much of the material, but I also learned plenty. A knowledge of Greek is enormously helpful when studying the theology of the period: nearly all the difficult vocabulary and concepts are Greek words.
This summer, I’m spending most of my time preparing for my MA comprehensive exams. I’ll be taking the Greek exam in the fall, which comprises passages for translations drawn from classical authors and a series of essay questions on literature and history. I’ll do the Latin test the following spring. The reading list is quite extensive, but I’m enjoying working through it. I recently finished Aeschylus’ Choephoroi and book 1 of Herodotus, along with Odyssey 19 and 23. I’m currently reading Thucydides book 1, which has me enthralled. Thucydides is difficult, sometimes maddeningly so, but he’s also brilliant and a terrific pleasure to read (when I can figure out what he’s actually saying!). I’m also working through Aeschylus’ Eumenides with several of my συμμαθηταί, and re-reading Euripides’ Alcestis with a friend. There’s plenty to keep me busy on the Greek front!
Of course, my temptation is always to neglect Latin in favor of Greek. As I’ll be teaching an intermediate Latin course later in the summer, I can’t neglect it entirely, so I’m currently reading through Aeneid IV with several condiscipuli. I’ll also be going to the conuenticulum dickonsoniense in July, a spoken Latin workshop in Pennsylvania. I’m very excited about that: I know that the immersion in Latin will greatly enhance my facility in the language, and hopefully stoke my passion too.
I’m also continuing to work on Library of Early Christianity material. I’m also trying to translate steadily more of the exegetical material on Luke attributed to Eusebius of Caesarea. I’ve been meaning to post some of that here, but have yet to get around to it.