Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Nietzsche on Classics and Classicists

first of all, it's nice to see dennis back again! i was beginning to wonder whether he'd abandoned us for fairer campi. if anyone else is glad to see his return, they are warmly invited to express their delight in the comments.

and now on to our citation for the day--

Classical scholarship as knowledge of the ancient world cannot, of course, last forever; its material is exhaustible. What cannot be exhausted is the perpetually new adjustment of our own age to the classical world, of measuring ourselves against it. If we assign the classicist the task of understanding his own age better by means of the classical world, then his task is a permanent one.--This is the antinomy of classical scholarship. Men have always, in fact, understood the ancient world exclusively in terms of the present--and shall the present now be understood in terms of the ancient world? More precisely: men have explained the classical world to themselves in terms of their own experience; and from what they have acquired of the classical world in this way, they have assessed, evaluated their own experience. Hence experience is clearly an absolute prerequisite for a classicist. Which means: the classicist must first be a man in order to become creative as a classicist...

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