The Work of a Greek Scholar

Gilbert Murray, The Interpretation of Greek Literature:

“If this were a new University, or if Greek were what it was at the Renaissance, a new and unexplored subject, there would be all sorts of suggestions and prospects of interest to lay before you. But in a University of vast traditions, of long-tried efficiency and fame, the first thing that a new Professor should think of is not to change something in Oxford, but to do his best to be worthy of Oxford. And something similar holds of the subject. True, research is a necessity to understanding : and no study that is really flourishing can help both seeking and finding new things ;true, also, that we have Crete and the Papyri before our eyes. Yet, on the whole, the main work of a Greek scholar is not to make discoveries or to devise new methods, but merely to master as best he can, and to reorder according to the powers of his own understanding, a vast mass of thought and feeling and knowledge already existing, implicit or explicit, in the minds or the published works of his teachers.”

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