Wednesday, October 28, 2020


Exaggeration and Oversimplification

A.D. Nock, "Hellenistic Mysteries and Christian Sacraments," Mnemosyne 5.3 (1952) 177-213 (at 213):
Without exaggeration and oversimplification little progress is made in most fields of humanistic investigation. Hypotheses such as have been mentioned have served to stimulate a great amount of critical enquiry; they have liberated the study of Christian beginnings from an unwholesome isolation; they have freed us from an overemphasis on these aspects of early Christianity which commended themselves to reasonable votaries of progress at the beginning of this century. In reacting against them we must beware of exaggeration in the opposite direction and of any tendency to assume simple relations of cause and effect in an area in which they are very rare. We must, again, do justice to the high seriousness and continued vitality of ancient paganism and to the essential unity of much of man's behavior towards the unseen.

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