North American Scholar
PEEBLES, Bernard Mann
Study at Hampden-Sydney, 1921-2; B.A. U. Virginia, 1926; A.M. Harvard, 1928; Ph.D., 1940; fell. AAR, 1932-4.
- Professional Experience:
Instr. U. Virginia, 1928-9; instr. Gk. & Lat. Fordham, 1934-5; instr. Gk. & Lat. Harvard, 1937-9; asst. prof. Gk. & Lat. Fordham, 1939-40; tutor St. John's Coll. (Annapolis, MD), 1941-2; 1945-8; asso. prof, to prof. Gk. & Lat. Catholic U. (Washington, DC), 1948-71; chair dept., 1962-70; sr. Ictr., 1971-2; ed. dir., The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (FOTC), 1968-75; co-edit., Traditio; mem. Cath. Commn. for Intell. & Cult. Affairs, 1950-70.
"De Sulpici Severi operum Martinianorum textus priscis fontibus" (Harvard, 1940).
Servianorum in Vergilii carmina commentariorum editionis Harvardianae volumen II, ed. with E. K. Rand et al., Special Publications of the APA 1 (Lancaster, PA, 1946); Sulpicius Severus: His Writings (trans.) in Niceta of Remesiana et al., The Fathers of the Church 7 (New York, 1949; repr. Washington, DC, 1970); The Poet Prudentius, Boston College Candlemas Lectures in Christian Literature 2 (New York, 1951); "The Ad Maronis Mausoleum: Petrarch's Virgil and Two Fifteenth-Century Manuscripts," Studies Ullman, 169-98; s.v. "Bible," IV.13, "Latin Versions," The New Catholic Encyclopedia 2 (New York, 1967) 436-56.
Bernard Mann Peebles was a philologist, an acute textual critic and literary scholar, and chairman of the Department of Greek and Latin at The Catholic University of America from 1962 to 1970. The range of his scholarly concerns was remarkably extensive. Throughout his career he maintained an interest in Sulpicius Severus, the biographer of Marin of Tours and contemporary of Augustine. His first publication of a Severan article was in 1934; he translated Sulpicius' Writings as a major portion of the seventh volume of FOTC; and was involved in the preparation of a critical edition of Severus' Vita Sancti Martini for the Corpus Christianorum at the time of his death. His lively interest in textual studies appears as well in his service as co-editor with E.K. Rand of the second volume of the Serviani in Vergilii Carmina Commentarii. His book, The Poet Prudentius, constitutes a sensitive, careful, and valuable literary analysis. His article on Latin versions of the Bible in the New Catholic Encyclopedia is a model of its kind, as are his writings on the same topic in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. He contributed far more to many of the dissertations in the Catholic University Patristic Studies than his title as reader might indicate.The breadth of Peebles' scholarship is revealed in the eight articles he contributed to the New Catholic Encyclopedia in addition to that on Latin versions of the Bible; all vitae, they range from that on Statius to one of Giuseppe De Luca (d. 1962) and of course include the article on Sulpicius. Peebles was a keen investigator and a superior philologist, with a notable talent for emendation and a fine insight into linguistic nuance. He was as no less at home in current French, Italian, or English usage than in the Latin and vernaculars of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. As one of the Amici Thomae Mori he presented some two dozen contributions over 17 issues of their bulletin, Moreana. As a Petrarchan, he dealt with Petrarch's espousal of the tradition of a visit of St. Paul to Virgil's tomb at Puteoli. Peebles was jaunty, with a ready smile and a wide circle of friends of every age, manner, and social standing. His life style was simple; he was much more interested in others than in himself. Professorial in appearance, he was never without his large knapsack stuffed with books, the tools of his trade. Perhaps his very effort ever to be exact and painstaking in thought and in expression could result at times in a certain obscurity. But his devotion to knowledge, which he grasped as a totality, his helpfulness to all his many friends and associates, and the gentleness of a nature free of academic astringency were never obscured. His tragic murder on the steps of his home was a tragic end to the life of a gentle generous man.
Germain Marc'hadour, Moreana 17 (1977) 79-88; Robert T. Meyer, The New Catholic Encyclopedia 17 (Supplement: Change in the Church, New York, 1979) 496; WhAm 7:448.
- Author: Michael P. McHugh