North American Scholar

FRIEDLÄNDER, Paul

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1882-03-21
  • Born City: Berlin
  • Born State/Country: Germany
  • Parents: Maximilian, a businessman, & Clara Schidlower F.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1968-12-10
  • Death City: Los Angeles
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Charlotte (née Friedlander), 24 April 1920.
  • Education:

    Ph.D. Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (Berlin), 1905; habil., 1911; LL.D. UCLA, 1960.

  • Professional Experience:

    Ao. prof. Berlin, 1915-20; o. prof. U. Marburg, 1920-32; Halle, 1932-5; lctr. Gk. Johns Hopkins, 1939-40; asst. prof, to prof. UCLA, 1940-9; corr. mem. Heidelberg & Bavarian Acad. Sci.

  • Dissertation:

    “Argolica: Quaestiones ad Graecorum historiam fabularem pertinentes” (Berlin, 1905)

  • Publications:

    “Herakles: Sagengeschichtliche Untersuchungen,” Philologische Untersuchungen 19 (Berlin, 1907); Johannes von Gaza und Paulus Silentiarius: Kunstbeschreibungen justinianischer Zeit (Habilitationsschrift) (Leipzig & Berlin, 1912; repr. Hildesheim, 1968); Platon I: Eidos, Paideia, Dialogos (Berlin, 1928); //: Die platonischen Schriften (Berlin, 1930); “The Pattern of Sound and Atomistic Theory in Lucretius,” AJP 62 (1941) 16-34; “A New Epigram by Damagetus,” AJP 63 (1942) 78-82; “Heracliti Frag. 1224,” ibid., 336; “Socrates Enters Rome,” AJP 66 (1945) 337-51; Epigrammata: Greek Inscriptions in Verse from the Beginnings to the Persian Wars, with H. B. Hoffleit (Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1948); Plato I An Introduction, trans. Hans Meyerhoff (London, 1958; rev. ed. Princeton, 1968), II (1964), III (1968); Studien zur antiken Literatur und Kunst (Berlin 1969) (with portrait & bibliography).Papers: Spec. Coll., University Research Library, UCLA.

  • Notes:

    Friedländer studied under the greatest classical scholars of modern times, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff at Berlin, Franz Buecheler, Hermann Usener and the archaeologist Georg Loeschcke at Bonn. He hesitated between philology and archaeology but followed Loeschcke's advice to become “a philologist with strong archaeological interests.” Two wars interrupted his career. He volunteered in 1914 and because of Wilamowitz's intervention at the top became one of the very few Jewish officers in the German army of World War I. He served on the Eastern Front and was decorated with the Iron Cross. His twelve years at Marburg were the most productive of his life. He there became friends with Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Robert Curtius, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Martin Heidegger and Leo Spitzer. After three years at Halle he was removed from his post for racial reasons. He lived privately in Berlin until imprisoned in 1938 at the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. He was released because of the efforts of the theologian Bultmann and granted permission to leave the country. After brief service at the Hopkins, he was made assistant professor at UCLA in 1940 aged 58. Only in 1945 did one of the greatest Hellenists of his generation become full professor in Los Angeles. He retired four years later to end his days as professor emeritus with a monthly pension of $58.00. He survived on West German Wiedergutmachung. His writings are varied and almost consistently excellent. Wilamowitz disapproved of his Herakles. The books best known to American readers are his edition with translation and commentary of 178 Greek verse inscriptions and his three-volume Plato. In the latter he strove unsuccessfully for a compromise between Wilamowitz's biographical approach and the attempts of the George Circle to see Plato as a Gestalt, a timeless figure. He belonged to the diaspora of the 1930s that did so much for the cause of American classics. He was a gentle, self-effacing, and introspective man. He was never embittered by his undeserved banishment. The pity is that he could have achieved so much more if things had been different.

  • Sources:

    Winfried Bühler, Gnomon 41 (1969) 619-23; Rudolf Bultmann, “Paul Friedlander (1882-1968)/Professor der Klassischen Philologie,” Marburger Gelehrte in der ersten Halfte des 20. Jahrhunderts, ed. Ingeborg Schnack (Marburg, 1977), 91-2 (with portrait); William M. Calder III, “The Credo of a New Generation: Paul Friedlander to Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff,” A&A 25 (1980) 90-102. For his contribution to Platonic studies, see E. N. Tigerstedt, Interpreting Plato (Uppsala, 1977), 49-50, 126.

  • Author: William M. Calder III