Paul Shorey

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Paul Shorey
Professor Paul Shorey.jpg
Professor Shorey, circa 1909.
Born(1857-08-03)August 3, 1857
Davenport, Iowa, United States
DiedApril 24, 1934(1934-04-24) (aged 76)
Chicago, Illinois, U. S.
Alma materUniversity of Chicago

Paul Shorey Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D. (August 3, 1857 – April 24, 1934) was an American classical scholar.


Shorey was born at Davenport, Iowa. After graduating from Harvard in 1878, he studied in Europe at Leipzig, Bonn, Athens, and Munich (Ph.D., 1884). He was a professor at several institutions from 1885 onward. Professor Shorey served at Bryn Mawr College (1885–92), then principally at the University of Chicago. In 1901-02 he was professor in the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece, and in 1913-14 he was Roosevelt Lecturer in the University of Berlin. Professor Shorey was made a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. From 1908 he was managing editor of Classical Philology.

He died in Chicago. After his death, one of many articles published about him asserted that he knew all 15,693 lines of the Iliad by heart.[1]

The Roosevelt Lectureship[edit]

The Roosevelt Lecturership involved giving a series of public lectures. In these, Shorey addressed American culture and literature. Besides the public lectures, however, the Roosevelt Lecturer was required to give a seminar in his own special field of study. As a notable Platonic scholar, Shorey naturally offered to conduct a seminar on Plato. He had not reckoned on the views of American scholarship held by the principal German classicist, Enno Friedrich Wichard Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, who held sway in Berlin. Wilamowitz had no intention of allowing Shorey any scope on Plato:

'In a letter to Diels of 8 May 1912 ... he wrote that he considered it 'grotesque that the editor of a Chicago journal be brought to Berlin to teach us philology'. ... Wilamowitz could not of course know that Shorey would later refer to his Platon as a 'historical novel' (What Plato Said 1933 p2.), but could have been aware that in a 1911 article in the Nation ... Shorey had named him in a list of German scholars whose 'big ambitious books ... cannot be trusted' (392). Wilamowitz was no more receptive to Shorey's next suggestion, of Pindar, since the two differed on metrical questions. In th end, permission was given for a seminar on the De Anima'.[2]

As Sprague points out, Wilamowitz had not reckoned on Shorey's view that 'Aristotle is a Platonist au fond'.[3] In the seminar he explained the relevance, in his view, of Plato's Theaetetus, Phaedo, Republic, Euthydemus, Sophist. Politicus, Meno, and Philebus to a full and exact understanding of De Anima. Sprague comments: 'I am afraid I find it irresistible to remark that Wilamowitz did not really succeed in preventing Shorey from giving a Plato seminar'.[4]



  • De Platonis Idearum Doctrina. Munich: Theodor Askermann, 1884.
  • The Assault on Humanism. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Company, 1917.
  • The Unity of Plato's Thought. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1903.
  • Sophocles. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1931.
  • What Plato Said. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1933.
  • Platonism, Ancient and Modern. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1938.
  • Selected Papers, 2 Vols. New York: Garland Pub., 1980.
  • The Roosevelt Lectures of Paul Shorey: (1913–1914). Hildesheim: G. Olms Verlag, 1995.


Selected articles

Other publications

  • Pope's translation of The Iliad of Homer, with an introduction and notes by Paul Shorey, 1899.
  • "Herodotus." In: The New International Encyclopædia, Vol. X, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1906, pp. 14–15.
  • "Homer." In: The New International Encyclopædia, Vol. X, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1906, pp. 166–168.
  • "Pindar." In: The New International Encyclopædia, Vol. XVI, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1906, pp. 31–32.
  • "Plato." In: The New International Encyclopædia, Vol. XVI, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1906, 101–104.
  • Marion Mills Miller (ed.), The Classics, Greek and Latim, with an introduction by Paul Shorey, 1909.


A house in University of Chicago College housing is named in Shorey's honor. Shorey House was located in Pierce Tower until that building's demolition in 2013 and is now located in International House.[5]

Shorey's student, Harold F. Cherniss, was a well-known historian of ancient philosophy at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and defended Shorey's unitarian interpretation of Plato in several influential books. Shorey's views thus became a central theme of later debates over Plato and Aristotle.


  1. ^ "Paul Shorey 1857–1934." Classical Philology 29, no. 3 (Jul., 1934): 185-188.
  2. ^ Rosamund Kent Sprague, Review of The Roosevelt Lectures of Paul Shorey 1913-14, tr. E.C. Reinke, ed. W.W. Briggs and E.C. Kopff, Hildesheim, 1995: Ancient Philosophy, 17.1, 1997: 207
  3. ^ Sprague: 208
  4. ^ Sprague: 208
  5. ^ "University of Chicago". Archived from the original on 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2014-06-06.


Further reading[edit]

  • Bonner, Robert J. (1934). "Paul Shorey," The Classical Journal, Vol. 29, No. 9, pp. 641–643.
  • Norlin, George (1934). "Paul Shorey–The Teacher," Classical Philology, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 188–191.
  • Putnam, Emily James (1938). "Paul Shorey," The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 161, pp. 795–804.

External links[edit]