Monday, June 08, 2015


Contempt for Commentators

Volkhard Wels, "Contempt for Commentators: Transformation of the Commentary Tradition in Daniel Heinsius' Constitutio tragoediae," in Karl Enenkel and Henk Nellen, edd., Neo-Latin Commentaries and the Management of Knowledge in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period (1400-1700) (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2013 = Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia, 33), pp. 325-346 (at 326):
Just as geometry, which Heinsius considered the most important branch of philosophy, is rendered ordinary and contemptible by its everyday applications (as in measuring fields or constructing walls), scholars degrade the wisdom ('sapientia') of the poets in their commentaries. Like the barbarian prince who laid to waste nearly all of Greece and even desecrated the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, grammarians blasphemously defile and profane the wisdom that lies hidden in the sacred depths of the poets. Whoever turns the poets of antiquity into school exercises for children is using them as buckets and piss-pots. Instead of harvesting fruit, he is just picking leaves.3

3 Heinsius, Pindari Pythiis praemissa, pp. 61f.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?