Friday, 26 November 2010


Glancing at Osborn's book on google books (just to see what I'm getting!), I think it already looks promising. This is the opening:
Clement was a traveller, always moving on. He invites Greeks to desert to God's side and to enjoy the danger of change [...]. In his quest for knowledge, he left home and travelled to teachers around the eastern Mediterranean, moving from Italy to Egypt.
Of these [teachers], one, an Ionian, lived in Greece, two others who came from Coele-Syria and Egypt respectively were in Magna Graecia. Others were in the east - one was from Assyria, and the other a Hebrew from Palestine. I found the last of them where he was hiding in Egypt. Here I came to rest. He was a real Sicilian bee who drew from the flowers of the apostolic and prophetic meadow and who engendered a purity of knowledge in the soul of his hearers.
He remained in Alexandria until in 202 persecution drove him to Palestine, where he died.
So Clement himself was a traveller and an exile. I guess we should have known!


I've decided that I want to know more about Clement of Alexandria, so I've ordered Eric Osborn's 2005 book, which is published by Cambridge University Press. It's billed as a study of how Clement fused Classical and Christian culture in his theology, so it sounds the right kind of thing! When it arrives, I think I might try to post-as-I-read. I'd like to get blogging more regularly again.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

lyric meters

This is just the contents of the last email I sent you but it struck me that it might turn out to be important at more than a practical level, so I thought I'd post it on the blog in order to make sure that it was included.


OK, I've done a bit of digging on the subject of metrical analysis and it turns out that there is a commentary on the Helen by Bill Allan, who teaches Classics at the University of Oxford. This was published in 2008 and reviewed in the Bryn Mawr Review in 2009. What's really interesting is that the review identifies metrical analysis as a particularly strong feature of Allan's commentary and uses his account of the very passage you are working on as an example of how perceptive he is:
Elucidation of lyric meters, and the connection of these meters to their literary context, is also a noteworthy and positive feature of Allan's commentary. Comprehensive metrical analysis is given at the start of each choral ode or exchange with a dramatis persona, along with a discussion of the content of the passage and its relationship to the play as a whole. For example, about the choral parodos at vv. 164-252, Allan identifies the iambo-trochaic exchange between Helen and the chorus as a "form of antiphonal lament which the fifth-century audience can relate to the antiphonal dirges...of their own mourning rituals" (166). Consistently and sensitively tying meter to context proves to be a valuable contribution both for scholars of the tragedy, and for newcomers to Euripidean lyric who may be yet unaware of the power and importance of these often difficult passages.
I've just ordered a second-hand copy of this through Amazon. I did think about having it sent direct to you but I'd quite like a copy myself for when i come to write about this stuff, so I thought I'd get a copy for myself and then I can tell you want he says about the relevant sections of the text.