Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Books or Clothes?
If any one of us had barely possessed the means sufficient to buy a coat, or to buy a lexicon, I do not believe that a man of us would for a moment have hesitated. The old coat would have been called upon for another year's service, and the student would have gloried over his Schleusner, as one that findeth great spoil.The reference is to Johann Friedrich Schleusner, Novum Lexicon Graeco-Latinum in Novum Testamentum (Leipzig: Weidmann, 1792), often reprinted.
This reminds me of a sentence in a letter from Erasmus to James Batt (April 12, 1500):
I've turned my entire attention to Greek literature, and as soon as I've received money, I'll buy Greek authors first, then clothes.The reader in this painting by Jean Jacques Henner must have made the same decision:
Ad Graecas literas totum animum applicui; statimque ut pecuniam accepero, Graecos primum autores, deinde vestes emam.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson, who sent me a copy of Wayland's Address.