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Essays and Lectures

Essays and Lectures

Paperback

Literary Criticism

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ISBN13: 9798591891886
Publisher: Independently Published
Published: Jan 8 2021
Pages: 94
Weight: 0.39
Height: 0.19 Width: 7.00 Depth: 10.00
Language: English
AT an early period in their intellectual development the Greeks reached that critical point in thehistory of every civilised nation, when speculative invades the domain of revealed truth, when thespiritual ideas of the people can no longer be satisfied by the lower, material conceptions of theirinspired writers, and when men find it impossible to pour the new wine of free thought into the oldbottles of a narrow and a trammelling creed.From their Aryan ancestors they had received the fatal legacy of a mythology stained with immoraland monstrous stories which strove to hide the rational order of nature in a chaos of miracles, andto mar by imputed wickedness the perfection of God's nature-a very shirt of Nessos in which theHeracles of rationalism barely escaped annihilation. Now while undoubtedly the speculations ofThales, and the alluring analogies of law and order afforded by physical science, were mostimportant forces in encouraging the rise of the spirit of scepticism, yet it was on its ethical side thatthe Greek mythology was chiefly open to attack.It is difficult to shake the popular belief in miracles, but no man will admit sin and immorality asattributes of the Ideal he worships; so the first symptoms of a new order of thought are shown inthe passionate outcries of Xenophanes and Heraclitos against the evil things said by Homer of thesons of God; and in the story told of Pythagoras, how that he saw tortured in Hell the 'two foundersof Greek theology, ' we can recognise the rise of the Aufklärung as clearly as we see the Reformationforeshadowed in the Inferno of Dante.Any honest belief, then, in the plain truth of these stories soon succumbed before the destructiveeffects of the a priori ethical criticism of this school; but the orthodox party, as is its custom, foundimmediately a convenient shelter under the gis of the doctrine of metaphors and concealedmeanings.

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Literary Criticism