Thursday, January 5, 2017

Greeker than the Greeks: Sodomy and Allegory

I use this blog as a clearing house.  All in all, it serves this function well.  Things that would sit moldering, at least get perched on the lip of being read by others. I also get to bring back works from literal death; I take a moribund text and pump it with air.

So, here is my master’s thesis, submitted in 1995.  It was written on a word processing machine.  The letters embossed in real print.  It was unfair, nearly immoral, for the Boston University Philosophy Department to have a PhD program.  Even in 1995, teaching jobs were hard to come by (about 50% of philosophy PhDs never got a job in their field) and today it is far worse.  The Humanities are an employment graveyard.  Program which accept more student than can possibly get employment resemble little more than a pyramid scheme.

This, coupled with the haughty, denigrating attitudes of some professors toward graduate students (a common enough phenomenon, I now realize, which still does not make it right) made jumping ship with a masters  one of my wisest life choices.  I went my way, they went theirs; they puttered about about Scottish philosophy; I did my work. In the end, it was a productive divoice.

The title of the thesis is taken from Joyce’s Ulysses, where Stephen is warned that Bloom is “Greeker than the Greeks,” here a reference, probably, to sodomy.  In my thesis, it fits with the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria’s project to interpret Judaism as a far purer example of Hellenic philosophy than Greek philosophy itself.

So here it is:

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