North American Scholar

MCDIARMID, John Brodie

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1913-06-06
  • Born City: Toronto
  • Born State/Country: ON
  • Parents: Alexander & Mabel Brodie Simpson
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2002-04-15
  • Death City: Seattle
  • Death State/Country: WA
  • Married: Mary Kahn, 14 November 1942
  • Education:

    B.A. Victoria College, U. of Toronto, 1936; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, 1940.

  • Professional Experience:

    Royal Canadian Navy, 1942-5; instr. to asst. prof. classics, Johns Hopkins, 1945-9; asso. prof. classics, 1949-56; prof. class., U. of Washington, 1956-83; chair, dept. classics, 1949-73 mem. IAS (Princeton) 1952-3, 1957-8; Guggenheim Fell., 1957-8; founding member, ICCSR.

  • Dissertation:

    "Theophrastus and the Pre-Socratics: A Study in Theophrastus' Use of Aristotle" (Johns Hopkins, 1940).

  • Publications:

    “Theophrastus on the Eternity of the World,” TAPA 71 (1940) 239-47; “Note on Heraclitus, Fragment 124,” AJP 62 (1941) 492-4; “Euripides' Ion 1561,” AJP 68 (1947) 86-7; “Theophrastus on the Presocratic Causes,” HSCP 61 (1953) 85-156; “Phantoms in Democritean Terminology, περιπάλαξις and περιπαλάσσεσθαι,” Hermes 86 (1958) 291-8 ; “Theophrastus, De sensibus 66: Democritus' Explanation of Salinity,” AJP 80 (1959) 56-66; “Plato in Theophrastus' De sensibus,” Phronesis 4 (1959) 59-70; “Theophrastus De sensibus 61-62: Democritus' Theory of Weight,” CP 55 (1960) 28-30; “The Manuscripts of Theophrastus' De sensibus,” AGPh 44 (1962) 1-32; “Pindar Olympian 6.82-83. The doxa, the Whetstone, and the Tongue,” AJP 107 (1987) 368-77.

  • Notes:

    Born in Toronto to Scottish immigrants, John Brodie McDiarmid paid for his undergraduate education by teaching English to the immigrant workers on the Frontier Railroad. After significant work as a decoder in the Canadian Navy, he rose to the rank of commander. As a scholar, his research focused primarily on Greek  literature and especially Greek philosophy. His most important publication was "Theophrastus on the Presocratic Causes"in 1953. After his promotion to professor in 1956 he became a United States citizen in 1957. He chaired the department for 24 years during which time he was instrumental in founding the Ph.D. program in Classics, which he initiated in 1960. The John and Mary McDiarmid Lectureship at the University of Washington features speakers selected by the graduate students. Following his retirement in 1983 but remained active in his research and in his interest in the Department, upon whose development he had had such a profound impact. 

  • Sources:

    Stephen Hinds, APA Newsletter (April 2002) 10; DAS 8:327.

  • Author: Stephen Hinds