Sunday, August 14, 2016


Charismatic Chaos

Roger S. Bagnall, "Alan Edouard Samuel (1932-2008)," Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 46 (2009) 7-9 (at 8-9):
He was also a gifted teacher, even if not always in conventional ways. I remember vividly how he would come into class at Yale juggling a cup of coffee, a stack of Loebs, a cigarette, and some papers, proceeding to talk about some stretch of classical Greek history in what seemed like a largely impromptu performance, not always apparently very well organized, but full of original insights. He seemed to assume that opening up the ancient text, quoting it, and explaining its problems as if in a scholarly discussion would work with an undergraduate class, and for the most part it did. One might, without great exaggeration, describe the method as charismatic chaos.

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