North American Scholar

HOFFLEIT, Herbert Benno

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1905-07-16
  • Born City: New Castle
  • Born State/Country: PA
  • Parents: Frederick, a laborer, & Kate Sanio H.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1981-08-03
  • Death City: Los Angeles
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Julia Norfleet Daniel, 28 June 1946.
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1924; A.M., 1925; Ph.D., 1927.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. to prof, class. UCLA, 1927-73.

  • Dissertation:

    “Quo modo originem mali Plato tractaverit” (Harvard, 1927)

  • Publications:

    “An Un-Platonic Theory of Evil in Plato,” AJP 58 (1937) 45-58; “A Latin Medical Manuscript,” Studies Rand, 133-41; Epigrammata: Greek Inscriptions in Verse from the Beginnings to the Persian Wars, with Paul Friedländer (Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1948); Plutarch. Moralia Vol. VIII Table-Talk, Books IV-VI (trans.) (Books I-III by P. A. Clement), LCL (Cambridge & London, 1969).

  • Notes:

    Hoffleit was born into a German-speaking family and spoke fluent German all his life. A brilliant student at Harvard, he gained his doctorate at age 21. He then joined the faculty at the still young UCLA, which indeed had not yet moved to its permanent location in Westwood; this was to be his sole academic post. A scholar of extreme modesty and self-effacement, he did not seek fame through voluminous publication; yet his collection of Greek epigrams with commentaries, done with Paul Friedlander, is skillfully crafted, and his work on part of Plutarch's table talk shows his subtle knowledge of Greek through elegant translations and exegetical notes.He was always willing to assist scholars from other fields, and much of his contribution is embodied in the publications of others (for example E. L. Griggs' edition of Coleridge's letters). He taught a wide range of courses and was kind and indulgent to students and encouraging to younger colleagues as his department moved from its tiny beginnings to maturity. He and his wife were devoted musicians and played violin and piano together respectively. They often entertained visiting scholars in their spacious home overlooking the Pacific.

  • Sources:

    U. of California In Memoriam (1985) 190-1; WhWh 1978-9:1520-1.

  • Author: Mortimer Chambers