6.19.2016

in magnis et voluisse sat est

Herman Melville. Moby Dick, or the Whale. Capítulo 104 - The Fossil Whale.
One often hears of writers that rise and swell with their subject, though it may seem but an ordinary one. How, then, with me, writing of the Leviathan? Unconsciously my chirography expands into placard capitals. Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius' crater for an inkstand! Friends, hold my arms! For in the mere act of penning my thoughts of this Leviathan, they weary me, and make me faint with their outreaching comprehensiveness of sweep, as if to include the whole circle of the sciences, and all the generations of whales, and men, and mastodons, past, present, and to come, with all the revolving panoramas of empire on earth, and throughout the whole universe, not excluding its suburbs. Such, and so magnifying, is the virtue of a large and liberal theme! We expand to its bulk. To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it.

6.14.2016

Werner Jaeger

William M. Calder III. Preface in Werner Jaeger Reconsidered. Illinois Classical Studies (1992)
Werner Jaeger (1888-1961) held the chairs of Friedrich Nietzsche, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, and Paul Shorey. A University Professorship, above all departments and requiring small teaching and no administrative obligations, was created for him at Harvard University. He enjoyed the finest education available in the history of classical studies. He founded two journals and what Eduard Spraigner first called "The Third Humanism." He published widely in the fields of Greek education and philosophy and the Greek church fathers. He stressed Christianity as the continuation of Hellenism rather than its destroyer. His students included men of the rank of Richard Harder, Viktor Pöschl, and Wolfgang Schadewaldt. Today what was acclaimed as his most famous work is read only by dilettantes too naive to perceive its defects. The Third Humanism has become a passing fashion, an aberration of the dying Weimar Republic, of as little abiding influence as its rival the George Circle. His name is rarely cited in the footnotes of the learned. Modern students of his own subject no longer recognize his name.
[...] C. H. Kahn remarked at the end of the conference, "I came admiring him; I departed pitying him." This was the feeling of most of us. Similar reactions were evoked at the Eduard Norden conference held in Bad Homburg in June 1991. The gulf between the ideals professed by Jaeger as the prophet of the Third Humanism and the petty compromises and betrayals that his Sitz im Lebel elicited from him caused difficulties for some. Ten years ago when I published with her permission Wilamowitz' Latin Autobiography, the nonagenarian Schwester Hildegard von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff with great wisdom said to me, "Wilamowitz was my father; for you he is a Forschungsobjekt. I understand that." Many do not, alas, understand the difference between funeral panegyric or a disciple's pietas and scholarship. Those who do not should deal with the long dead, Homer, Plato, or Aristotle. Jaeger, like his teacher Wilamowitz, is great enough to survive his indiscretions, and, indeed, becomes more interesting because of them.

6.07.2016

τὴν δὲ τῶν βιβλίων δίψαν ῥῖψον



Numa livraria online apareceu-me este livro, que já há muito considero das melhores capas que um livro já teve a graça de ter. Lembrei-me de ir procurar a passagem, embora um erro de memória (lembrava-me de σαρκίδιον, também frequentemente atestado no Marco Aurélio, em vez de σαρκία, o termo do texto) me ter desviado do percurso. Seja como for. É dos poucos livros do mundo que só se pára porque se tem de parar.

Marco Aurélio, Meditações. II. 2-3
Ὅ τί ποτε τοῦτό εἰμι, σαρκία ἐστὶ καὶ πνευμάτιον καὶ τὸ ἡγεμονικόν. ἄφες τὰ βιβλία· μηκέτι σπῶ· οὐ δέδονται. ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἤδη ἀποθνήισκων τῶν μὲν σαρκίων καταφρόνησον· λύθρος καὶ ὀστάρια καὶ κροκύφαντος, ἐκ νεύρων, φλεβίων, ἀρτηριῶν πλεγμάτιον. θέασαι δὲ καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα ὁποῖόν τί ἐστιν· ἄνεμος, οὐδὲ ἀεὶ τὸ αὐτό, ἀλλὰ πάσης ὥρας ἐξεμούμενον καὶ πάλιν ῥοφούμενον. τρίτον οὖν ἐστι τὸ ἡγεμονικόν. ὧδε ἐπινοήθητι· γέρων εἶ· μηκέτι τοῦτο ἐάσηις δουλεῦσαι, μηκέτι καθ᾽ ὁρμὴν ἀκοινώνητον νευροσπαστηθῆναι, μηκέτι τὸ εἱμαρμένον ἢ παρὸν δυσχερᾶναι ἢ μέλλον ὑπιδέσθαι. 
Τὰ τῶν θεῶν προνοίας μεστά, τὰ τῆς τύχης οὐκ ἄνευ φύσεως ἢ συγκλώσεως καὶ ἐπιπλοκῆς τῶν προνοίαι διοικουμένων. πάντα ἐκεῖθεν ῥεῖ· πρόσεστι δὲ τὸ ἀναγκαῖον καὶ τὸ τῶι ὅλωι κόσμωι συμφέρον, οὗ μέρος εἶ. παντὶ δὲ φύσεως μέρει ἀγαθόν, ὃ φέρει ἡ τοῦ ὅλου φύσις καὶ ὃ ἐκείνης ἐστὶ σωστικόν. σώιζουσι δὲ κόσμον, ὥσπερ αἱ τῶν στοιχείων, οὕτως καὶ αἱ τῶν συγκριμάτων μεταβολαί.ταῦτά σοι ἀρκείτω· ἀεὶ δόγματα ἔστω. τὴν δὲ τῶν βιβλίων δίψαν ῥῖψον, ἵνα μὴ γογγύζων ἀποθάνηις, ἀλλὰ ἵλεως ἀληθῶς καὶ ἀπὸ καρδίας εὐχάριστος τοῖς θεοῖς.

Em suma


6.06.2016

Trivium

Randolph Starn. Who's Afraid of the Renaissance? in The Past and Future of Medieval Studies (John van Engen ed.) University of Notre Dame Press (1994).
There is some risk that histories of "Old Europe" would become merely accumulative, antiquarian, and annalistic, or like the new ethnic republics, fiercely separatist and partisan. Histories post-modern style, where everything wrought in the past is at once indiscriminately and historical and available in the present, have no anachronisms, and this would put historians out of work. Then too, the absence of overarching narratives promotes a kind of historiographical horror vacui and the proliferation of any number of particular tales. I don't know which prospect is more alarming: that historians will run out of new topics or that they will come up with ever more trivial ones.

the great tradition of medievalism

Randolph Starn. Who's Afraid of the Renaissance? in The Past and Future of Medieval Studies (John van Engen ed.) University of Notre Dame Press (1994).
Both medieval and Renaissance studies and their specialized constituencies have more or less distinct traditions, institutions, canonical texts, pedagogical styles, and so forth. I suspect that many scholars would gladly bid good riddance to some of these, though we would probably not agree about which were expendable. We sometimes take on the attributes of the people we study (and vice versa); the fact is that the stock medieval roles do not appeal to me very much, and I can imagine that, say, the persona of the Renaissance prince has limited attractions. Whether or not this is a liability or a virtue, Renaissance studies has fewer technical requirements, supposing that medievalists still do train in the languages, paleography, diplomatic, codicology, and other "auxiliary sciences" of the great tradition of medievalism. Many Renaissance scholars are like medievalists with insufficient training, but medievalists for their part, owe some of their impressive scholarly discipline to the fact that they have so little material to work with.

Mediævalia

Lee Patterson. The Return to Philology in The Past and Future of Medieval Studies (John van Engen ed.) University of Notre Dame Press (1994).
I want to suggest, in other words, that the uselessness of philology  —its indefensible unjustifiability— scandalizes contemporary literary studies because it represents its own greatest fear: that the whole enterprise cannot be justified in terms of social effectiveness. If social transformation is our goal, then is teaching Toni Morrison really more effective than reaching Chaucer, especially when compared with a direct involvement with social problems? It is my own hunch that direct social activism is probably of more importance than most of the things we do in our classrooms and certainly than all of the things we do in our studies. Is it not possible, in other words, that the institutional neglect of medieval studies derives in some measure from a guilty conscience? That the medievalist is an awkward reminder that the social changes so many support and desire will require something other than intellectual work?
If these are unpersuasive words coming from a medievalist, let me cite a more acceptable source. "As writers, teachers, or intellectuals, " writes Henry Louis Gates,
Most of us would like to claim greater efficacy for our labors than we're entitled to. These days, literary criticism likes to think of itself as "war by other means." But it should start to wonder: Have its victories come too easily? The recent turn toward politics and history in literary studies has turned the analysis of texts into a marionette theater of the political, to which we bring all the passions of our real-word commitments. And that's why it is sometimes necessary to remind ourselves of the distance from the classroom to the streets. Academic critics write essays, "readings" of literary, where the bad guys (for example, racism or patriarchy) lose, where the forces of oppression are subverted by the boundless powers of irony and allegory that no prison an contain, and we glow with hard-won triumph. We pay homage to the marginalized and demonizes, and it feels almost like we've righted a real-world injustice. I always think about the folktale about the fellow who killed seven with one blow.


6.05.2016

Reino Neovisigótico

Fonte: Observador: Há um problema com a nossa Constituição? 
Nos termos de um conceito fundamental de constituição, a elaboração de uma nova constituição pressupõe a transição para um novo regime ou forma de convivência política, em princípio desencadeada por uma revolução, um processo de integração federal ou um fenómeno de desagregação política. A transição tanto pode dizer respeito aos valores constitucionais ― por exemplo, a substituição do Estado de direito democrático por um Estado autoritário ou totalitário ― como à forma, estrutura ou existência do Estado ― por exemplo, a integração de Portugal numa «União Federal dos Povos Europeus» ou a desagregação do Estado português numa constelação de entidades políticas menores (tais como a anexação da região sul pelo Estado islâmico, a formação de uma «República Popular da Madeira» ou a criação nas regiões centro e norte de um «Reino Neovisigótico»). 

Os Académicos

W.B. Yeats. The Scholars.
Bald heads forgetful of their sins,
Old, learned, respectable bald heads
Edit and annotate the lines
That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love’s despair
To flatter beauty’s ignorant ear.

They’ll cough in the ink to the world’s end;
Wear out the carpet with their shoes
Earning respect; have no strange friend;
If they have sinned nobody knows.
Lord, what would they say
Did their Catullus walk that way?

Neste tempo

Lady

6.04.2016

No, prima a lei tocca!

Samuel Fleischacker. What is Enlightenment? Routledge (2013)
The debate between [the views of Rawls and Habermas] continues to this day, with their followers elaborating their respective positions in great detail. What interests me about the debate is not so much who is right as the fact that two of the most important contemporary schools of political philosophy are competing with one another to show how modest their claims are. In the middle of the twentieth century, philosophical competition went in the opposite direction; the Young Hegelians fought over who could draw the most extreme demands from the nature of reason. There remain, of course, contemporary philosophers who resemble the Young Hegelians more than they do either Rawls of Habermas, and insist that just one conception of the universe and how to live in it follows from reason properly pursued. [...] But on the whole there seems clearly to have been a great cultural shift, in what philosophers aim to do, over the past century and a half.

6.03.2016

systema systematum

Samuel Fleischacker. What is Enlightenment? Routledge (2013)
[...] It is essential to the Hegelian dialectic to dissolve anything apparently outside thought into a manifestation of thought once we reflect n how we achieve consciousness of it. Turning matter into an externalization of reason was indeed the prime test case for Hegelian dialectic, and although Feuerbach's insistence that Hegel failed to "overcome the contradiction of thought and being" will resonate with any reader who has felt puzzled or irritated by the Hegelian dialectic, it is hard to see how Feuerbach can succeed in establishing this point within the Hegelian system, without simply refusing to allow the dialectic to play itself out. And indeed Feuerbach's repetitiveness and bald proclamation that, for instance, Hegel misuses the indexical "this" in the sense-certainty chapter of the Phenomenology suggests that he really has no argument that will convince a reader not already disposed to reject the Hegelian system. It is not clear that one can reverse Hegelianism with Hegel's own tools.

Optativo Passado (Henry Purcell)

Do seu poema de nome 'Henry Purcell', em honra do epónimo, Gerard Manley Hopkins comenta:
‘“Have fair fallen.” Have is the sing. imperative (or optative if you like) of the past, a thing possible and actual both in logic and grammar, but naturally a rare one. As in the 2nd pers. we say “Have done” or in making appointments “Have had your dinner beforehand”, so one can say in the 3rd pers. not only “Fair fall” of what is present or future but also “Have fair fallen” of what is past. The same thought (which plays a great part in my own mind and action) is more clearly expressed in the last stanza but one of the Eurydice, where you remarked it." 1883.
A estrofe a que ele se refere é a seguinte:
And the prayer thou hearst me making
Have, at the awful overtaking,
    Heard; have heard and granted
Grace that day grace was wanted.
The Loss of the Eurydice

6.02.2016

Religião ∧ Atheísmo ∧ Fé

Paul Ricœur. Religion, Atheism, and Faith in The Religions Significance of Atheism (com Alasdair MacIntyre), Columbia University Press (1969).
The subtitle I have chosen — "Religion, Atheism, and Faith" —expresses my intention fairly well. I have placed "atheism" in an intermediary position; for I wish to consider it as both a break and a link between religion of faith. I am aware of the difficulties of this viewpoint. We must not take for granted the distinction between religion and faith for granted. Nor should we use atheism as an indiscreet form of apologetics to save faith from the disaster of religion, an artful deception designed to regain from one hand what the other hand has been forced to yield.

Christus Heideggerianus

Alasdair MacIntyre. The Fate of Theism (The Debate about God: Victorian Relevance and Contemporary Irrelevance). in The Religions Significance of Atheism (com Paul Ricœur), Columbia University Press (1969).
Bultmann's revision of the Christian doctrine of salvation consists of identifying the Christian choice between redemption and damnation with the Heideggerian choice between authentic and inauthentic existence. Kamlah, Bultmann's student, has in turn argued that, if Bultmann's identification is correct, then Jesus Christ is important only because he happened to anticipate Heidegger in uttering a true doctrine, the truth of which, and our ground for believing in the truth of which, is quite independent of the truth of Christian orthodoxy.

I Am The Very Model of a Biblical Philologist

6.01.2016

secundum ordinem angelorum

Moshe Barasch. Icon: Studies in the History of an Idea. New York University Press (1992)
Why, one cannot help asking, is John of Damascus so interested in angels or in souls? He is here trying once again to justify the icon. What is the significance of these spiritual beings in his doctrine of sacred images? It is not difficult to find the answer. The "spiritual creature" — whether angel, demon, or soul — offers "empirical" proof, as it were, that the image can reach further than the tangible, material reality. In the very existence of the "spiritual being" the apparently absolute connection between the tangible and the visible, the heavily material and the visually perceptible, is denied; the human eye can perceive what dwells beyond the limits of matter. The very existence of the angel, the demon, and the soul constitutes a sanction of the spiritual image.


Crucificação no regaço do Pai. (Cristo Crucificado, Seraph, Alma de Cristo)
— Tu es sacerdos in æternum.
Ícono russo. Inícios do séc. XVII. @ Moscovo, Museu de Ícones de Recklinghausen

objectivum transcendens

Moshe Barasch. Icon: Studies in the History of an Idea. New York University Press (1992)
[John of Damascus] wishes to show that the bodily and the visible are not inseparably linked to each other; they can, and should, be separated. In fact, in the domain of the transcendent there are beings that are altogether immaterial and yet visible. These bodiless beings can be visually experienced, without our having to ascribe to them a material nature. If they can be seen, it follows, they can also be represented in a painted image. 
In John's thought, it should be kept in mind, the transcendent world, the domain of the bodiless and the invisible, is neither vague nor ill defined; it has not the general psychological quality of blurred outlines that, since Romanticism, this notion so frequently carries. On the contrary, the transcendent world is characterized by a clearly outlined order that we can retrace. Speaking in human terms we could say that the nature of the transcendent world is, in a sense, "objective."

ὑπὲρ μίμησιν

Moshe Barasch. Icon: Studies in the History of an Idea. New York University Press (1992)
For centuries it had been taken for granted (mainly in the culture of Antiquity) that the aim of painting is the representation of what can be visually perceived in the world around us. In defining painting as the rendering of perceived nature, one also set the limits of the art. It is only what we actually see that can become the subject matter of painting. But if you believe that the icon shows what otherwise cannot be seen, you enlarge the scope of painting as compared to the views held earlier. A new dimension is now incorporated, as it were, into the domain of the image.

o paradoxo byzantino

Moshe Barasch. Icon: Studies in the History of an Idea. New York University Press (1992)
In commenting on an early Christian text, John [of Damascus] explicitly says, "Devils are in fear of saints, and flee from their shadow. A shadow is an image; therefore I make images to terrify the demons." Here John's intellectual conscience seems to have awakened. He continues, as if speaking to himself, "If you say that only intellectual worship is worthy of God, then take away all corporeal things: lights, the fragrance of incense, prayer made with the voice." Adding an example, he comes back to the image, and quite specifically to the relationship between archetype and copy in the image of the divine: "Purple cloth by itself is a simple thing, and so is silk, and a cloak is woven from both. But if the king should put it on, the cloak receives honor from the honor given to him who wears it." Note that the cloak receives honor not because it means the king, or reminds us of the kind, but rather because the king has worn it, because there was some kind of bodily meeting and thus a flow of subtle matter, as it were, from the king himself into the cloak. 
The constant interaction between conceptual reflection of a highly intellectual character and the almost tangible reification of bodiless, spiritual beings is typical of John's complex personality. A modern student may find it difficult to reconcile the sophisticated distinctions made in John's theological views of the image with the crude beliefs in its miracle-working power. How can a thinker, one cannot help asking, who subtly unveiled the complex dialectical nature of the image as a spiritual revelation of the invisible also believe that the painted icon drives off almost tangible demons? This incongruence, as I have said, is a pervasive characteristic of John's thought, and perhaps also of Byzantine culture as a whole. It is found in the reflection on many themes.