Thursday, January 17, 2019

On ancient Greek

PHILOLOGY: Greek to Me. The Comma Queen on the pleasures of a different alphabet (Mary Norris, The New Yorker).
A few years ago, in the Frankfurt airport on the way home from Greece, I bought a copy of Virginia Woolf’s “The Common Reader,” which includes her essay “On Not Knowing Greek.” I already had the book at home, but I was impressed that anything by Woolf was considered airport reading. When I was about ten years old, my father, a pragmatic man, had refused to let me study Latin, and for some reason I assumed that “On Not Knowing Greek” was about how Woolf’s father, too, had prevented his daughter from studying a dead language. I pictured young Virginia Stephen sulking in a room of her own, an indecipherable alphabet streaming through her consciousness, while her father and her brother, downstairs in the library, feasted on Plato and Aristotle.

Well, apparently I had read only the title of the essay. Of course Virginia Woolf knew Greek. ...
Of course she did. Sean Connery also makes a cameo appearance.

This article is not specifically about ancient Judaism, but it is full of fun facts about ancient Greek. HT Philo scholar Ellen Birnbaum.

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