Monday, September 6, 2010

Who Killed Homer? Chapter One

"The study of Greek and Latin languages and literatures was acknowledged t obe the perfect training or nearly every profession, whether one was heading towards business, law, medicine, the voting booth, or a constitutional convention." p.5

"those who study the ancient world have always born the burden of demonstrating to the living the importance nad relevance of the long-ago dead. Until recently the missionaries of Classics in the West, energized by the texts they read, the art they knew, always met- and took a perverse delight in- that challenge." p.6

"Supporters of the Classics countered, vigorously so, with the demonstrations of how "practical," how essential, the study of Greek (and Latin) languages, literatures, and history was to literacy, an aesthetic sense, the building of knowledge, critical thinking, and a moral foundation. Classics soon comprised an essential core of Western learning in language, reasoning, ethics, aesthetics, and philosophy. The mastery of the "canon" ensured a firm moral sense and competence in almost any profession and vocation that one chose to pursue." p.8

"Was education to make students better men and citizens, or to prepare them for the "real" world? (As if the two goals were different!) Jefferson- no elitist- defended the Classics, writing that "as we advance in life... things fall off one by one, and I suspect we are left at last with Homer and Virgil, perhaps with Homer alone." p.12

"Still comfortably entrenched in the university, the study of Latin continued to ensure the knowledge of grammar, economy in expression, attention to detail, and absence of artifice. Expansion of vocabulary and mastery of etmymology were side-dishes to classical thought, which focused on an eternal good and an ever-present bad. As long as literacy, published written and oral expression, familiarity with politics and social systems, and a common set of unchanging ethical presumptions were the chief goals of a liberal-arts education, as long as education itself demanded some memorization and structure from the student, Classics would not vanish." p.16-17

see also long paragraph at the bottom of page xvii

Word Study:
pelf, garrulous, populist, pedant, sycophant, vernacular, agnostic, nomenclature

Heinrich Schliemann
Milman Parry
Michael Ventris
John Dewey- this chapter reminded me that I really want to read this:

Everything Else:



1800-1920- zenith of Classical scholarship

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