Determining the Greek Point of View

Louise Ropes Loomis, The Greek Renaissance in Italy:

“Thus even in philosophy the influences from antiquity which helped to shape fifteenth-century thought were derived more directly from the Empire than from Hellas. A knowledge of the Greek tongue remained in the main an accomplishment for professional men of letters, elegant and to that degree desirable. Through the recommendations of Quintilian the study of Greek was introduced into two or three of the best Italian schools and the argument was brought forward that one could understand and appreciate the Latin tongue far better by the help of some knowledge of Greek. But there was no serious effort to determine the Greek point of view, which was supposed as a matter of course to have been the same as the Roman, nor to utilize Greek literature save as a storehouse of pedantic quotations and ethical examples. The practical value of Greek in exposing errors of Scriptural interpretation and in waging theological controversy was realized only after the knowledge of it had been carried into northern Europe. Such writing as was produced in Italy, comparable at all in straight-forward originality and acumen to the Greek, was prompted by the stress and stir of contemporary life and except in surface embellishments shows little effect of the Greek Renaissance.”

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3 responses

    • I would submit to you that much work has been done on EVERY subject discussed here since 1908, yet in addition to translating passages from antiquity through the Renaissance, we like to post a variety of interesting viewpoints which bear either directly or tangentially upon the ancient world or its reception. Much work has been done in moral philosophy since Socrates, yet you will occasionally see passages from Plato on this site. Historiography has improved substantially since Gibbon, yet we still excerpt from him frequently.

      This site was created as a digital commonplace book, and as such, none of the posts which are not composed in our own voice should be taken as representing our viewpoints or receiving or approbation.

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