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Obituary of  Mark A. Brandes

Professor Mark A. Brandes died on November 14th, 2011 at Freiburg in Breisgau (Germany). He was 82. Although frail for some time, his mind remained lucid and clear until the end.

He was born in 1929 in Frankenau (near Kassel in Germany) where he attended primary school. 1940 to 1949 he attended the Gymnasium Philippinum in Marburg. Already in his youth he exhibited a great hunger for art, literature, history, languages, music, and philosophy. Not only was the scope of his knowledge (in German called klassische Bildung) truly impressive, but also his fluent command of at least six modern languages including Arabic.

His interest in archaeology was initiated and stirred by the esteemed excavator of Uruk, Professor Heinrich Lenzen, who was a friend of his parents and became a lifelong friend of Professor Brandes. After he received his high school diploma (Abitur) he studied Classical Archaeology, Greek and Latin philology, Ancient History, Art History, Philosophy, and Assyriology at the universities of Tübingen (1950-1953) and Heidelberg (1953-1954 and 1956-1959), and at Athens (1954-1955) He received his doctorate in 1959 from the University of Heidelberg with a thesis on Orientalische und archaisch-griechische Kesselattaschen aus Bronze in Gestalt geflügelter Menschenprotome, a study that decades later would be called an 'interdisciplinary' work.

He worked at the German Archaeological Institute in Rome from 1959-1960 (post-graduate fellow), followed by a travel fellowship from the German Archaeological Institute (1960-1961) during which he went to France, Italy, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Greece.

From 1961 to 1965 he was consultant for archaeology at the German Archaeological Institute Baghdad and a member of the Uruk-Warka expedition team, contributing to the Vorläufige Bericht über die von der Notgemeinschaft der deutschen Wissenschaft in Uruk(-Warka) unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB).

Although Professor Brandes would have had much to contribute to our discipline, he was somewhat reluctant to publish his ideas, although it would have been highly valuable as evidenced by his seminars and discussions. Perhaps this lack of interest in publishing was due to his extreme perfectionism; another reason was a particular fear of criticism by one colleague whom he considered his "arch enemy". His Untersuchungen zur Komposition der Stiftmosaiken an der Pfeilerhalle der Schicht IVa in Uruk-Warka, published in 1968 (Baghdader Mitteilungen, Beihefte 1), is an example of his methodological erudition and how he ventured far beyond what colleagues would have dared.

From 1966-1968 Brandes received a grant from the German Science Foundation to work on his 'habilitation' (highest academic qualification, obligatory for tenured positions) on 'Seal Impressions from the Archaic Building Levels in Uruk-Warka'. Based on this he received the venia legendi (right to teach) in 1968 at the University of Freiburg in Breisgau (Germany), where he taught until retirement in 1995.

As one of professor Karl Schefold's main interest was the connections between archaic Greece and the Ancient Near East, he was instrumental in bringing Professor Brandes to Basel University in 1968 (where he taught until 1978), encouraging his students to take courses with Brandes. Schefold and Brandes were also active in introducing interdisciplinary workshops with participation of  professors in Egyptology, Classical Philology, Ancient History, Ethnology/Anthropology and others disciplines, for example, a Zoologist would be invited for the workshop on 'Mensch and Tier' (humans and animals).

He was a demanding teacher, with strong emphasis on methodological clarity as well as heeding even minor details, but also taught us to critique published works. He always prepared himself on the topic of student papers, interrupting when one tried to 'cheat' or circumvent a difficult issue, but also appreciated it when a student discovered something that had escaped his attention. Students who majored in Ancient Near Eastern archaeology were obliged to learn Sumerian and Akkadian. But he insisted that 'interdisciplinary' research was important and one should always pay attention to the textual evidence. His students profited from his enormous range of knowledge and insights extending far beyond Ancient Near Eastern cultures. He invested endless hours into discussing their theses, even helping reading proofs.

Some students would not have studied Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology if it was not for his courses. His first doctorate student, Julia M. Asher-Greve, switched from Classical Archaeology (where she had already begun a doctorate theses) to Near Eastern Archaeology because of his more liberal and open attitude regarding innovations and avoiding any pre-judgment of the material; he spend endless hours with her discussing her dissertation in detail. However, he also transferred his own (unnecessary) fears of criticism to his students' work.

If competence and quality of teaching were appreciated as much as publishing, the universities where Professor Brandes taught would have honored him more than was the case. The University of Freiburg forced the University of Basel to terminate his contract in order to force Brandes to finish his book on Uruk seal impressions for publication (Siegelabrollungen aus den archaischen Bauschichten in Uruk-Warka. FAOS 3, Wiesbaden 1979).

Professor Brandes enjoyed socializing and could be quite humorous; colleagues, students and friends also  remember how charming he could be. As long as health allowed, he was a regular participant of Rencontres and encouraged his students also to attend, where he would introduce them to all colleagues he knew, still quite unusual in the 1970s.

His former students will above all remember the powerful impact his superlative teaching attributes had on their own work.

Obituary of  Richard I. Caplice, S.J.

 Rev. Peter Schineller, S.J.

 Fr. Richard Ignatius Caplice, age 80, died on 12 December, 2011 in the Bronx, New York.   He was born on 10 October 1931,  the son of Michael and Mary (Mahony) Caplice. He is survived by a sister,  Sr. Mary Caplice, CND  and a brother, Br. Stephen Caplice, FSC,   who served many years in Africa.   He is predeceased by his brother Cornelius.

After graduation from Regis High School, he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY on 7 September 1949.   After two years of Novitiate (and first vows on 8 September, 1951) he continued there for two years in the collegiate program (1949-53).  He began his study of philosophy at  Bellarmine College, Plattsburg, NY (1953-55), and  completed these studies at Loyola Seminary, Shrub Oak, NY,  receiving the  Licentiate in Philosophy  Summa Cum Laude.  Additional degrees include the A.B. from Fordham University in 1955 and the M.A. from Fordham in 1957.

As a Jesuit seminarian, his  first  year of Regency was at Xavier HS, NY teaching Latin, Greek and English (1956-57). Then began his long career in the study and teaching of ancient languages.  He proceeded to study at the Johns Hopkins University (1957-8) under Dr.  William Foxwell Albright.   He  completed his doctoral studies at the University of Chicago (1958-61)  in the Oriental Institute, their  research center for Near-Eastern Studies and Oriental Languages.

His theological studies in preparation for priesthood were at Woodstock College, MD, from 1961-65.  He received the Licentiate of Sacred Theology degree in 1965  Magna Cum Laude.  He was ordained to the priesthood at the Fordham University Chapel on 18 June, 1964  and  pronounced his final vows in the Society of Jesus in Rome on 2 February, 1967  after completing the year of Tertianship at Drogen, Belgiu (1965-66).

He began his long scholarly career  in Rome  in 1966,  first as a student of theology and Scripture at the  Pontifical Biblical Institute,  and then teacher of languages especially Assyriology and Akkadian until 1989.    He also served there as editor of Orientalia, a periodical of the Institute,  and as dean of our Oriental Faculty from 1979 to 1987.

On two occasions he taught elsewhere,  first at the University of Chicago  (1971-2) and then,  living at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA  as visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (1973-77).  His major contributions to the field of Assyriology included his Introduction to Akkadian a grammar (1980) and his edition of    The Akkadian Namburbi Texts. In 1985 he returned to Chicago to continue his research and contribution to the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, a  21 volume work. Fr. Caplice contributed to Vol. 12, P  and  Vol. 18, T.

After many years in the classroom and libraries, he returned to the United States and began parish ministry at Resurrection Parish, Jersey City (1989-98)  The ancient languages took second place to the modern as he reached out liturgically and pastorally to the Hispanic and Latino communities in Jersey City.  Then he continued with his priestly ministry  in the more rural setting of  St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish, Cornwall, NY (1998-2009).

Due to failing health,   he was assigned to the Jesuit infirmary  in the Bronx, Murray-Weigel Hall, in 2009.  The Mass of Christian Burial was held at the chapel in Murray-Weigel Hall on 16 December, and the burial was at the Jesuit Cemetery, Auriesville, NY.