We Philologists Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume 8

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 3

is a slave or a free man, a merchant or a
scholar, his aim in life has nothing to do with his calling, so that a
wrong choice is not such a very great piece of unhappiness. Let this
serve as a crumb of comfort for philologists in general; but true
philologists stand in need of a better understanding: what will result
from a science which is "gone in for" by ninety-nine such people? The
thoroughly unfitted majority draw up the rules of the science in
accordance with their own capacities and inclinations; and in this way
they tyrannise over the hundredth, the only capable one among them. If
they have the training of others in their hands they will train them
consciously or unconsciously after their own image . what then becomes
of the classicism of the Greeks and Romans?

The points to be proved are--

(_a_) The disparity between philologists and the ancients.

(_b_) The inability of the philologist to train his pupils, even with
the help of the ancients.

(_c_) The falsifying of the science by the (incapacity of the) majority,
the wrong requirements held in view; the renunciation of the real aim of
this science.


4

All this affects the sources of our present philology: a sceptical and
melancholy attitude. But how otherwise are philologists to be produced?

The imitation of antiquity: is not this a principle which has been
refuted by this time?

The flight from actuality to the ancients: does not this tend to falsify
our conception of antiquity?


5

We are still behindhand in one type of contemplation: to understand how
the greatest productions of the intellect have a dreadful and evil
background . the sceptical type of contemplation. Greek antiquity is now
investigated as the most beautiful example of life.

As man assumes a sceptical and melancholy attitude towards his life's
calling, so we must sceptically examine the highest life's calling of a
nation: in order that we may understand what life is.


6

My words of consolation apply particularly to the single tyrannised
individual out of a hundred: such exceptional ones should simply treat
all the unenlightened majorities as their subordinates; and they should
in the same way take advantage of the prejudice, which is still
widespread, in favour of classical instruction--they need many helpers.
But they must have a clear perception of what their actual goal is.


7

Philology as the science of antiquity does not, of course, endure for
ever; its elements are not inexhaustible. What cannot be exhausted,
however, is the ever-new adaptation of one's age to antiquity; the
comparison of the two. If we make it our task to understand our own

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Text Comparison with The Case of Wagner Complete Works, Volume 8

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As it was, however, he remained loyal to his cause, and this meant denouncing his former idol.
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" Wagner is _no_ dramatist; let nobody be deceived on this point.
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Page 96
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Page 97
In the end, all the forces of which antiquity consisted have reappeared in Christianity in the crudest possible form: it is nothing new, only quantitatively extraordinary.