Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Portrait of a Scholar

George Eliot, Adam Bede, chapter XIV (The Return Home):
It is well known that great scholars who have shown the most pitiless acerbity in their criticism of other men's scholarship have yet been of a relenting and indulgent temper in private life; and I have heard of a learned man meekly rocking the twins in the cradle with his left hand, while with his right he inflicted the most lacerating sarcasms on an opponent who had betrayed a brutal ignorance of Hebrew. Weaknesses and errors must be forgiven--alas! they are not alien to us--but the man who takes the wrong side on the momentous subject of the Hebrew points must be treated as the enemy of his race.

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