The Greek Genius and Its Meaning to Us

The Greek Genius and Its Meaning to Us

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The Greek Genius and Its Meaning to Us

The Greek Genius and Its Meaning to Us

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Europe has nearly four million square miles; Lancashire has 1,700; Attica has 700. Yet this tiny country has given us an art which we, with it and all that the world has done since it for our models, have equalled perhaps, but not surpassed. It has given us the staple of our vocabulary in every domain of thought and knowledge. Politics, tyranny, democracy, anarchism, philosophy, physiology, geology, history--these are all Greek words. It has seized and up to the present day kept hold of our higher education. It has exercised an unfailing fascination, even on minds alien or hostile. Rome took her culture thence. Young Romans completed their education in the Greek schools. Roman orators learnt their trade from Greek rhetoricians. Roman proconsuls on their way to the East stopped to spend a few days talking to the successors of Plato and Aristotle in the Academy and Lyceum. Roman aristocrats imported Greek philosophers to live in their families. And so it was with natures less akin to Greece than the Roman. S. Paul, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, who called the wisdom of the Greeks foolishness, was drawn to their Areopagus, and found himself accommodating his gospel to the style, and quoting verses from the poets, of this alien race. After him, the Church, which was born to protest against Hellenism, translated its dogmas into the language of Greek thought and finally crystallized them in the philosophy of Aristotle.

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