B.A. Columbia, 1949; M.A. 1950; Ph.D., Cornell, 1953
Instr. Greek & Latin, Columbia, 1954-58; vis. lectr. Carleton U., Ottawa, Can., 1958-9; vis. asst. prof. U. Missouri-Columbia, 1959-60; mem. Faculty Indiana U. 1960-93; prof. classical studies & comp. lit., 1968-93; assoc. chmn, class. Studies, 1976-78; chair, Class. Stud.,1985-93; vis. prof. classics & comp. lit., U. Cal Berkeley, 1971-2; vis. Scholar Harvard, 1981-2; regional chair, dist. IX Woodrow Wilson Nat. Fellowship Found., 1969; rep. to adv. Council AAR 1965- Fulbright scholar, Vienna, 1953-4; ACLS/IBM Corp. fellow, 1965-6; chair comm. on placement APA 1980-2.
“Cassiodorus, De Anima, (Cornell, 1954).
“The Manuscripts of Cassiodorus De anima,” Traditio 15 (1959) 385-387; “Magni Aurelii Cassiodori senatoris liber De anima,” Traditio 16 (1960) 39-109; “Ecclesiam adunare in Cassiodorus,” RecTh 28 (1961) 333-334; “Two Manuscripts in the Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana,” TAPA 92 (1961) 220-238; “Metrical Problems in the First Arezzo Hymn of Hilary of Poitiers,” Traditio 19 (1963) 460-466; Lateinische Metrik, with M. Ostwald, trans. H. Ahrens. Studienhefte zur Altertumswiss. ; VIII (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962; 2nd ed. 1980) REVS: LEC XXXI 1963 433 Lavency | Gnomon XXXV 1963 420-422 Drexter | MH XX 1963 248 Delz | AC XXXII 1963 702 van de Woestijne | Latomus XXII 1963 540-541 Perret; RPh XXXVIII 1964 159 André | CW LVII 1964 349 Pohlsander | Gymnasium LXXI 1964 486-488 Pfister | AAHG XVI 1963 233 Weissengruber | DLZ LXXXV 1964 407-408 Rupprecht; Mnemosyne XVIII 1965 401-403 Koster; Gymnasium LXXXVIII 1981 460 Radke; The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry, with M. Ostwald & T.G. Rosenmeyer (London: Methuen, 1963rev. ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980). REVS: Gnomon XXXV 1963 740-742 Korzeniewski | Latomus XXII 1963 540-541 Perret | RPh XXXVIII 1964 322-324 Soubiran | CR XIV 1964 303-305 Parker | CW LVII 1964 349 Pohlsander | REG LXXVII 1964 317 Guiraud | REA LXVI 1964 147 Irigoin | RBPh XLII 1964 694 Cousin | RSC XII 1964 77 d'Agostino | Latinitas XII 1964 244 Del Re | Mnemosyne XVIII 1965 401-403 Koster | Phoenix XIX 1965 153-159 Herington | PACA XI 1968 67-68 Guite | CJ LXXVIII 1982 71-72 Fleming “Reflections on Metrics by Computer,” RELO 2 (1968) 1-11; F. Nietzsche, “On the Theory of Quantitative Rhythm,” (trans.) Arion 6 (1967) 233-243; “A Note on Xenophon Historia Graeca II,3,20,” RhM 112 (1969) 13-16; “The Emperor's New Clothes,” RELO 4 (1969) 31-49; “Agido, Hagesichora, and the Chorus Alcman 1.37 ff. PMG,” in Antidosis. Festschrift für Walther Kraus zum 70. Geburtstag ed. R. Hanslik, A. Lesky & H. Schwabl (Wien: Böhlau, 1972) 124-138; Opera, I: Variarum libri XII ; De anima, Variarum libri, ed. A.J. Fridh; De anima ed. Halporn, Corpus Christian. Ser Lat. XCVI (Turnholt: Brepols, 1973). REVS: StudOv III 1975 393-394 Hevia Ballina; “A New Fragment of Durham, Cathedral Library MS B. II.30,” CPh 69 (1974) 124; “Saint Augustine Sermon 104 and the Epulae Venerales,” JbAC 19 (1976) 82-108; “Pandectes, Pandecta, and the Cassiodorian Commentary on the Psalms,” RBen 90 (1980) 290-300; “The Manuscripts of Cassiodorus' Expositio Psalmorum,” “Traditio 37 (1981) 388-396; “The Skeptical Electra,” HSCP 87 (1983) 101-118; “A Note on Praxilla fr. 754 PMG,” Hermes 111 (1983) 499-500; Passio sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis, Bryn Mawr Commentaries (Bryn Mawr: Bryn Mawr College, 1984). REVS: Helmantica 40 (1989) 490-491 José Ortall; “The Editing of Patristic Texts: The Case of Cassiodorus,” REAug 30,1 (1984), 107-126;; “Further on the Early English Manuscripts of Cassiodorus' Expositio Psalmorum,” CP 80 (1985) 46-50; “Cassiodorus' Citations from the Canticum Canticorum and the Composition of the Expositio Psalmorum,” RBen 95 (1985) 169-184; “Cassiodorus' Commentary on Psalms 20 and 21; Text and Context,” REAug 32 (1986) 92-102; “The Modern Edition of Cassiodorus' Psalm Commentary,” Texte & Textkritik: Eine Aufsatzsammlung , ed. Jürgen Dummer (Berlin: Akad.-Verl., 1987) 239-247; “Literary History and Generic Expectations in the Passio and Acta Perpetuae,” VChr 45 (1991) 223-241; “Roman Comedy and Greek Models,” in Theater and Society in the Classical World ed. Ruth Scodel (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993) 191-213; “Early Printed Editions of Cassiodorus De anima,”Traditio 51 (1996) 295-296; Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning and Cassiodorus On the Soul (trans.), intro. by Mark Vessey (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2004). REVS: Sehepunkte 5,6 (2005) n.p. David Paniagua Aguilar | JThS n.s. 59,1 (2008): 449-450 Clare Stancliffe.
Jim Halporn was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island and carried his accent from there for his whole life — much of it spent far from there. His mother Louisa taught English in the public schools. His father Robert brought much of the influence of his Gymnasium education and Viennese values to educating his son. (Much later, in retirement, Robert moved to Bloomington, where he took a number of Latin and Greek classes with his son’s Indiana University colleagues.) After a year at St. John’s College, Jim entered Columbia College with the full intention of becoming a chemist, despite his strong interest in literature — from childhood he was a constant reader of anything at hand. That interest, the year at St. John’s, and the first-year humanities courses at Columbia influenced his decision by his senior year to major in classics rather than chemistry. He then concentrated on Latin and started Greek in order to prepare for the Masters degree program at Columbia; following that, he earned his Ph.D. at Cornell. His previous scientific training and inclination gave him a discipline and focus that was an asset to his linguistic and philological future. While at Columbia, he was coxswain for the junior varsity crew. Chosen for his very lightweight physique, his winter training consisted of smoking and playing cards while the oarsmen worked out. He was bemused to have earned a letter in the sport. Jim's experiences – both as a student and as a teacher of the Columbia humanities core — informed his teaching style and expectations throughout his career. He liked to talk, and he liked to provoke or elicit discussion from his students. Jim had studied under Gilbert Highet, that gifted teacher and scholar of the classics, and thought he had his best lessons in how to teach from him. One of his undergraduate students says, “He was an amusing and very engaging teacher — unsentimental, shrewdly critical, and just. He took pleasure in his students’ peculiarities, and never pressed us into a conventional mold.” When Jim entered the field of classics his interests were more philological than literary and he edited the text of Cassiodorus' treatise De Anima for his dissertation. This set him on the course of study of early Church Fathers and late antiquity that dominated his research activity. He often strayed into other areas of classics, however, during a distinguished career as a Latin scholar at Indiana University where he taught from 1960 to 1993 and served as chair from 1985 to 1993. As scholar, Jim made significant contributions in three areas: editions and translations of works by Cassiodorus; Latin meter; and Roman comedy. His edition of De Anima by Cassiodorus is still the standard edition, quoted by everyone who has occasion to mention Cassiodorus and the remarkable age of Theoderic. In retirement he completed his translation of Cassiodorus’ Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning and On the Soul. Two months before his death he submitted a detailed and positive review of a work on Cassiodorus to a grateful university press editor. It must have given him satisfaction to be recognized as the reigning expert in this area, and to feel that with that report he was passing the torch to a worthy scholar of the next generation. Of his work on metrics, the best known to several generations of grateful students at all levels is the clear and succinct co-authored handbook The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry. The contributions of Jim and Martin Oswald to that work were translated into German in 1962 as Lateinische Metrik; the rubric beneath the title — Berechtigte Übersetzung aus dem Amerikanischen — must have amused him as a linguist. Jim’s interest in Roman comedy may have been inspired in part by his maternal grandfather, a Yiddish playwright, who played scenes with him as a young child. Jim passed his expertise in that area down to the graduate students whom he taught, including Sander Goldberg — Jim supervised his special author work on Terence and his dissertation on Menander. Jim left deep impressions on other graduate students he taught and supervised. John Wright, another of his Ph.D. students, credits Jim with turning him into a scholar — “it's all thanks to him.” From his experiences as an M.A. student, Brent Froberg recalls that Jim “gave our written work the kind of sandpapering that it needed so that we could write clear, persuasive prose.” While that “sandpapering” sometimes drew blood, metaphorically, both in the heavily red-penned results and in battered egos, those who persevered emerged with polished work, which led in turn to jobs, publications, and successful careers. In the mainframe era of computers (1960s), Jim explored their use in the humanities but was often critical of some of the early applications which he considered too crude for the useful analysis of literary texts. He was, however, quite impressed by the sophisticated digital tools that now support classical scholarship. At the last APA meeting he attended, he discovered electronic devices on display among the publishers' exhibits. He heard Virgil being read on an iPod and bought one immediately after returning home. Following that, he embraced all things “i” and loaded his devices with apps. After retiring from Indiana University, Jim moved with his wife Barbara to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was head of the Widener Library’s Collection Development Department. He was actively involved with the Harvard Classics Department as an adjunct professor for almost twenty years, attending talks and conferences, serving on the committee of at least one doctoral student, participating faithfully in a number of graduate seminars, catching up with journals in the Smyth Classical Library, and attending monthly faculty-student lunches, including the one in October, weeks before his death. A voracious reader since childhood, a haunter of large research libraries since college — how fitting that he was able in retirement to spend so many pleasant and satisfying days in the Widener stacks!
WhAm 46 (1990-91) 1361; DAS 10:110; Boston Globe (18 Nov. 2011); personal reminiscences of Kathleen Coleman and Barbara Halporn.
AUTHORBetty Rose Nagle