Richard Frothingham, Emeritus Professor
Office: Stabler Hall, Room 307
Office Hours: None
(however, I welcome phone calls to my home telephone: 501-663-2243)
I began teaching here in 1962, just five years after this institution adopted a four-year degree program and changed its name from Little Rock Junior College to Little Rock University. For my first nine years here, 1962-1971, I was the only full-time faculty member in the philosophy and religious studies. I became this department’s first chair in 1970 (before that, the smaller departments did not have chairs), and I held that office until 1979. New full-time faculty members were added in 1971, 1973, and 1975, bringing the total of full-time faculty members up to four (the same as it is today). I retired in 1986.
A philosophical quotation that I never tire of pondering is Heidegger’s question, from the very end of his lecture, “What Is Metaphysics?” (1929): Warum ist ueberhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts?
(”Why are there beings at all, and not rather nothing?”) But my wife Mary tells me that she often hears me spouting two other sayings: (1) the time-management maxim, “Consolidate your trips,” and (2) the military maxim, “When you use your reserve, you don’t have a reserve.”
During my early years on this campus, 1962-1971, I taught just about every the course that the Department offered, on both its philosophy and religious studies sides, at least once. I also regularly taught sections of the English Department’s yearlong World Masterpieces course (now called World Literature). When the availability of other faculty members, both full-time and part-time, enabled me to do so, I tended to concentrate on philosophy rather than religious studies, and within philosophy to teach courses on the history of philosophy. My knowledge of the Greek language and my course work at Columbia with John Herman Randall Jr. and Paul Kristeller gave me good preparation for teaching Greek Philosophy; and my course work with Paul Tillich at Union Theological Seminary gave me good preparation for teaching Existentialism. After retiring in 1986, I continued to teach part-time for fourteen years, through 2000, typically teaching one course during each fall semester. In retirement I taught courses in which I was highly interested: Ancient (Greek) Philosophy, Existentialism, and the History of Christian Thought. Since 2000, I have stepped down from teaching, at least for a few years, in order to have more time available for some research and writing projects in which I am engaged.
I am actively engaged in writing an autobiography covering the first 20 years of my life. As a high school student, I spent over a year and a half keeping a detailed journal; and the more than 600 pages of journal entries that I accumulated are a valued resource as I work on this project. As of late October 2002, I have completed first drafts of 22 chapters out of around 28 chapters that I am planning to write.
I am translating and annotating previously untranslated German poetical epigrams by Daniel von Czepko (1605-1660), who was influenced by the mysticism of Meister Eckhart and Jacob Boehme. Here is a sample epigram by Czepko, in Alexandrine meter, in my translation: With your back turned to it, the bright sun’s out of view. But who is doing that? Is it the sun or you?
I am also translating and annotating previously untranslated German poetical epigrams by Friedrich von Logau (1604-1655), who is celebrated for his wit. Here is a sample epigram by Logau in my translation: One day, when Udus stepped outside, This message on his door he spied: “God mercy to this house has shown: That drunk has still not burned it down.” Here is my annotation of Logau’s epigram: In Latin, udus means wet, moist, or damp; but in [the great Latin epigrammatic poet] Martial (5, 84, line 5) it means boozy (Ker and Bailey translations of Martial).
Areas of Specialization: Philosophy of Religion, Greek Philosophy, Existentialism.
Representative Professional Activities:
- “John H. Dietrich’s Theism,” Religious Humanism, Vol. 22, No. 4
- “John H. Dietrich: From Humanism to Theism,” The Unitarian Universalist Christian, Vol. 42, No. 1
- Ten biographical-critical essays on Colonial religious writers, in American Writers Before 1800: A Biographical and Critical Dictionary, 3 volumes, edited by James A. Levernier and Douglas R. Wilmes (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press).
- “Orwell’s 1984, Part I, Chapter VIII,” The Explicator, Vol. 29, No. 5
- The Unitarianism of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1967. Ph. D. Dissertation. Sermons in The Chaplain
- Articles in Monday Morning (journal for Presbyterian leaders). Book Reviews in Union Seminary Quarterly Review, Free Inquiry, and The Unitarian Universalist Christian.
Ph.D. Religion 1964 (concentration in philosophy of religion)
Columbia University, 1964
B.D. Theology 1951(specialization in systematic and historical theology)
Oberlin College, OH
B.A. Philosophy 1948
The College of Wooster, OH