Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Classics Is Not a Subject

George Watson, Heresies and Heretics: Memories of the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: The Lutterworth Press, 2013), p. 166 (on Moses Finley):
His stance was unremittingly devastating. He was against dilettantism, textual criticism ('the textual-criticism racket') and amateur enthusiasms. Classics, he would often say, is not a subject. Ancient history is a job for historians, ancient philosophy for philosophers, ancient literature for those whose concerns are literary. Classics is not a subject. That was his mantra, his chosen heresy. I did not know him before he believed it, if there ever was a time. It is certain he never ceased to believe it. It was a view that left the humanistic views of the Victorians absolutely nowhere.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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