A Different Aristotle Emerges

Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff,

History of Classical Scholarship (trans. Alan Harris):

“A different Aristotle emerged from Aristotle the logician, who alone so far was familiar, and was received in some quarters with enthusiasm, in others with misgiving. The effect was remarkable, particularly in England. John of Salisbury, Robert Grosseteste, and above all Roger Bacon were men of surprisingly wide knowledge; Bacon in particular was inspired with daringly original ideas. The church was not yet ready to tolerate this development, however, and was still able to subordinate everything to its own system, which was authoritatively defined for orthodox Catholicism by Thomas Aquinas. What chiefly concerns us here is that no study of the Greek language, nor indeed anything that so much as prepared the ground for an interest in history or scholarship, emerged from it all. The trouble was lack of contact with the originals, and in the specialist literature not a glimmer of the specifically Hellenic quality – in other words, of the nobility of beauty and art – was to be seen.”

Woodcut of Aristotle ridden by Phyllis by Hans Baldung

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