Hellenism and the Modern World

Hellenism and the Modern World

Hellenism and the Modern World

Hellenism and the Modern World

Excerpt

These talks were given first on the Radio-diffusion Française in 1952 and repeated, with some revision, on the BBC Home Service in April-May 1953. In the meantime, however, I had listened to those fascinating Reith Lectures on "The World and the West" with which Arnold Toynbee shook us all from our dogmatic slumbers. I thought at first that I should have to make some changes, or at least some withdrawals of rash statements, in my script. But it was not necessary. Even in that small part of his vast canvas where we were dealing with the same subject our focus of interest was different. I was trying to trace the special development of that 'Christian' or 'Hellenic' civilization to which we peoples of Europe and the English-speaking world historically belong, and to consider how, amid multifarious 'barbarian' influences it may still preserve or even raise its traditional standards, and continue to set to the whole world an example of what is meant by civilization. Mr. Toynbee carefully abstained from any such self-admiring prejudice, observing that naturally every nation thought its own ways the best, and merely noting objectively the 'aggressions' and 'reactions' between them. One lesson at least which . . .

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