Imposing Professorial Titles

Mark Pattison, Isaac Casaubon:

“The title ‘Professor of greek’ has an imposing sound. But on closer inspection the reality is very simple, and more than humble. There is no room to infer with the biographers an unnatural precocity in Casaubon. When the age of the wandering native greek teachers was past — Franciscus Portus was one of the last of them, — men who knew greek at all were scarce, and men who knew it profoundly were not to be found. Young men fresh from the schools had at least not forgotten the rudiments. So Xylander (Holtzmann) became ‘Professor’ of greek at Heidelberg, set. 26, and Daniel Heinsius lectured on it at Leyden, aet. 18. The Academy of Geneva was far enough from ranking with the University of Heidelberg, and still less with that of Leyden.”

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