1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gildersleeve, Basil Lanneau

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BASIL LANNEAU GILDERSLEEVE (1831– ), American classical scholar, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on the 23rd of October 1831, son of Benjamin Gildersleeve (1791-1875) a Presbyterian evangelist, and editor of the Charleston Christian Observer in 1826-1845, of the Richmond (Va.) Watchman and Observer in 1845-1856, and of The Central Presbyterian in 1856-1860. The son graduated at Princeton in 1849, studied under Franz in Berlin, under Friedrich Ritschl at Bonn and under Schneidewin at Göttingen, where he received his doctor's degree in 1853. From 1856 to 1876 he was professor of Greek in the University of Virginia, holding the chair of Latin also in 1861-1866; and in 1876 he became professor of Greek in the newly founded Johns Hopkins University. In 1880 The American Journal of Philology, a quarterly published by the Johns Hopkins University, was established under his editorial charge, and his strong personality was expressed in the department of the Journal headed “Brief Report” or “Lanx Satura,” and in the earliest years of its publication every petty detail was in his hands. His style in it, as elsewhere, is in striking contrast to that of the typical classical scholar, and accords with his conviction that the true aim of scholarship is “that which is.” He published a Latin Grammar (1867; revised with the co-operation of Gonzalez B. Lodge, 1894 and 1899) and a Latin Series for use in secondary schools (1875), both marked by lucidity of order and mastery of grammatical theory and methods. His edition of Persius (1875) is of great value. But his bent was rather toward Greek than Latin. His special interest in Christian Greek was partly the cause of his editing in 1877 The Apologies of Justin Martyr, “which” (to use his own words) “I used unblushingly as a repository for my syntactical formulae.” Gildersleeve's studies under Franz had no doubt quickened his interest in Greek syntax, and his logic, untrammelled by previous categories, and his marvellous sympathy with the language were displayed in this most unlikely of places. His Syntax of Classic Greek (Part I., 1900, with C. W. E. Miller) collects these formulae. Gildersleeve edited in 1885 The Olympian and Pythian Odes of Pindar, with a brilliant and valuable introduction. His views on the function of grammar were summarized in a paper on The Spiritual Rights of Minute Research delivered at Bryn Mawr on the 16th of June 1895. His collected contributions to literary periodicals appeared in 1890 under the title Essays and Studies Educational and Literary.