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    antiquity


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The Isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, Canto 3, st. 86a “The Isles of Greece,” st. 1 (1821)
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Added on 5-Jun-24 | Last updated 5-Jun-24
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The question is then how can we decide what anybody in the ancient world said. We can’t. We wish we could. It would be nice if we could. You would like to think that because you can go to the store and buy an edition of Plato that you are actually reading Plato, but the problem is that we just do not have the kind of evidence that we need in order to establish what ancient authors actually wrote. In some cases, we have all these data, and sometimes we have just one manuscript. Sometimes we have a manuscript that was written two-thousand years later, and that’s it! So, as much as we would like to be able to say we know what ancient authors actually wrote, we often just do not know.

Bart Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955) American Biblical scholar, author
“The Textual Reliability of the New Testament: A Dialogue between Bart Ehrman and Daniel Wallace,” Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum in Faith and Culture (2008-04-04/05)
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Reprinted in Robert Stewart, ed., The Reliability of the New Testament (2011).
 
Added on 29-Nov-23 | Last updated 29-Nov-23
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What we commonly have in our mind when we speak of religion is a definite set of doctrines, of a more or less metaphysical character, formulated in a creed and supported by an organization distinct from the state. And the first thing we have to learn about the religion of the Greeks is that it included nothing of the kind. There was no church, there was no creed, there were no articles. Priests there were, but they were merely public officials, appointed to perform certain religious rites. The distinction between cleric and layman, as we know it, did not exist; the distinction between poetry and dogma did not exist; and whatever the religion of the Greeks may have been, one thing at any rate is clear, that it was something very different from all that we are in the habit of associating with the world.

Lowes Dickinson
G. Lowes Dickinson (1862-1932) British political scientist and philosopher [Goldsworthy "Goldie" Lowes Dickinson]
The Greek View of Life, ch. 1 “Religion,” sec. 1 (1911)
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Added on 13-Jul-23 | Last updated 13-Jul-23
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It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroe and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“The Cats of Ulthar,” Tryout (Nov 1920)
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Added on 15-Jun-21 | Last updated 15-Jun-21
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It is striking how much more seriously we are likely to be taken after we have been dead a few centuries.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 4 “Consolation for Inadequacy” (2000)
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Added on 15-Feb-18 | Last updated 15-Feb-18
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How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew!

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Progress of Culture,” Letters and Social Aims (1876)
 
Added on 5-Apr-10 | Last updated 19-Feb-22
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