Tuesday, December 18, 2018

RIP Walter E.H. Cockle (1939–2018)


I was very sorry to hear via an announcement on the Papy-L discussion list that Walter E.H. Cockle has passed away on 6 December 2018.

I first met Walter at the Fifth Birmingham Colloquium of Textual Criticism in 2007 where I presented a paper (and he was chairing the session). I then met him at several successive colloquia.

During these meetings I have had the pleasure of sitting next to Walter on several occasions, as in this image from the closing banquet of the seventh colloquium in 2011, where Walter is giving a smile to the photographer, Edgar Ebojo (more pics here).

I always enjoyed talking to Walter, who was one of the most erudite scholars I have ever met – like a living encyclopedia, who knew his references in detail (place and year of publication, etc). He could talk at length about various historical events not only relating to antiquity for that matter. But most exciting for me was to hear about his experiences from excavations in Oxyrhynchus.

Walter also edited several New Testament papyri and an uncial from Oxyrhynchus including P. Oxy. 4445 (P106), P.Oxy. 4446 (P107), P.Oxy. 4447 (P108) and P.Oxy 4448 (P109), all in OP LXV (1998); P.Oxy. 4494 (P110), P. Oxy 4495 (P111), P.Oxy 4496 (P112), P.Oxy. 4497 (P113), P.Oxy. 4498 (P114), P.Oxy. 4500 (0308) in OP LXVI. Is there anyone who has edited as many NT papyri as he did (I have not checked this)?

Not only an excellent ancient historian, papyrologist and colleague has left us, but a very warm and kind person who will be missed by many. The funeral will be held on 21 December.

Here is the obituary from Papy-L list (Dorothy J. Thompson):
2 DECEMBER 1939 – 6 DECEMBER 2018

We are sorry to inform you that Walter passed away, aged 79, on Thursday, 6 December after several months of illness. His funeral will take place on the Friday before Christmas, 21 December, at 1.30 pm at St Mary Magdalene, Latimer, Bucks HP5 1UG.

If you want to let the family know that you’re coming, or if you need directions to the funeral, please contact Helen: helenmcockle@gmail.com, but don’t feel you have to contact them in advance. Everyone is very welcome.

After the service and the burial in the churchyard, there will be tea close by in the Cheyne Room at Latimer House.

Flowers are welcome if you wish, or donations - payable to the Mountain Bothies Association or the Society of Antiquaries of London – c/o James Peddle Ltd, 10 Moneyhill Parade, Uxbridge Road, Rickmansworth, WD3 7BE, tel. 01923 772013.

The focus of Walter’s career in the Department of Greek and Latin at University College London (1964-2002) was work on the conservation and publication of papyri from the Oxyrhynchus collection. He published a variety of articles on the Graeco-Roman period of Egypt and a good number of texts in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, as well as his edition of Euripides’ Hypsipyle. He participated in seven seasons of excavations from 1987 to 1993, excavating at a Roman fort and granite quarries at Mons Claudianus in the Red Sea Mountains of Egypt as a member of an international team. The experience combined his enthusiasm for the written material of the ancient Greek and Roman world with his love of life in remote and sometimes harsh environments. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1987.

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