We Philologists Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume 8

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 38

But before we can do this we must first _know_ it!--There is
a thoroughness which is merely an excuse for inaction. Let it be
recollected how much Goethe knew of antiquity: certainly not so much as
a philologist, and yet sufficient to contend with it in such a way as to
bring about fruitful results. One _should_ not even know more about a
thing than one could create. Moreover, the only time when we can
actually _recognise_ something is when we endeavour to _make_ it. Let
people but attempt to live after the manner of antiquity, and they will
at once come hundreds of miles nearer to antiquity than they can do with
all their erudition.--Our philologists never show that they strive to
emulate antiquity in any way, and thus _their_ antiquity remains without
any effect on the schools.

The study of the spirit of emulation (Renaissance, Goethe), and the
study of despair.

The non-popular element in the new culture of the Renaissance: a
frightful fact!


The worship of classical antiquity, as it was to be seen in Italy, may
be interpreted as the only earnest, disinterested, and fecund worship
which has yet fallen to the lot of antiquity. It is a splendid example
of Don Quixotism; and philology at best is such Don Quixotism. Already
at the time of the Alexandrian savants, as with all the sophists of the
first and second centuries, the Atticists, &c., the scholars are
imitating something purely and simply chimerical and pursuing a world
that never existed. The same trait is seen throughout antiquity . the
manner in which the Homeric heroes were copied, and all the intercourse
held with the myths, show traces of it. Gradually all Greek antiquity
has become an object of Don Quixotism. It is impossible to understand
our modern world if we do not take into account the enormous influence
of the purely fantastic. This is now confronted by the principle . there
can be no imitation. Imitation, however, is merely an artistic
phenomenon, _i.e._, it is based on appearance . we can accept manners,
thoughts, and so on through imitation; but imitation can create nothing.
True, the creator can borrow from all sides and nourish himself in that
way. And it is only as creators that we shall be able to take anything
from the Greeks. But in what respect can philologists be said to be
creators! There must be a few dirty jobs, such as knackers' men, and
also text-revisers: are the philologists to carry out tasks of this


What, then, is antiquity _now_, in the face of modern art, science, and
philosophy? It is

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Text Comparison with We Philologists Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume 8

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Spruche, ed Bothlingk, 1 335) An ugly-looking-wind instrument .
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When, in the later aphorisms of "We Philologists," Nietzsche appears to be throwing over the Greeks, it should be remembered that he does not refer to the Greeks of the era of Homer or AEschylus, or even of Aristotle, but to the much later Greeks of the era of Longinus.
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It must be insisted, however, that it is only through a knowledge of the present that one can acquire an inclination for the study of classical antiquity.
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touching modesty on the part of mankind.
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Thus the scholar who knows this history becomes a teacher.
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In any case this antiquity has been very differently valued, and our appreciation of the philologists has constantly been guided by it.
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We must wait patiently until the spirit moves us.
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If, then, the.
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This type has its origin in the sophisticism of the second century.
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" In order that this "freedom" may be rightly estimated, just look at the philologists! 66 Classical education! Yea, if there were only as much paganism as Goethe found and glorified in Winckelmann, even that would not be much.
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84 Philologists appear to me to be.
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_ in the consideration of Greek mythology.
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we find one layer over another, soon to be hidden and smoothed down by yet a third, and so on.
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Nothing, however, is more responsible for the fatal influence of German culture.
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These few apply this antiquity to the judgment of our own time, as critics of it; and they judge antiquity by their own ideals and are thus critics of antiquity.
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Man stands in the midst of the great whirlpool of forces, and imagines that this whirlpool is rational and has a rational aim in view: error! The only rationality that we know is the small reason of man: he must exert it to the utmost, and it invariably leaves him in the lurch if he tries to place himself in the hands of "Providence.
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183 If, then, the Romans had spurned the Greek culture, they would perhaps have gone to pieces completely.
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