Sunday, September 05, 2021



Zeph Stewart, Introduction to Arthur Darby Nock, Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, Vol. I (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972), p. 4:
It remains to speak of the single most important feature of his scholarly work, his insistence on context. If one reads his reviews, it is clear that this is his chief critical weapon: does the context in which each piece of evidence is found support the interpretation which the author has given it? In his own work he returns again and again to the question of context as decisive for the meaning and importance of a given fact or quotation. It was a characteristic which he shared with both archaeologists and literary critics, and it saved him from the fate of many polymaths: his work never became a mere jackdaw's nest of accumulated learning; nor did he construct theories (or allow others to construct theories) based on disparate bits of evidence which, when one examined their context, did not really fit together.

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