We Philologists Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume 8

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 9

oh, with what
hatred would they be pursued! But they always humble themselves.

Philology now derives its power only from the union between the
philologists who will not, or cannot, understand antiquity and public
opinion, which is misled by prejudices in regard to it.

The real Greeks, and their "watering down" through the philologists.

The future commanding philologist sceptical in regard to our entire
culture, and therefore also the destroyer of philology as a profession.


THE PREFERENCE FOR ANTIQUITY


27

If a man approves of the investigation of the past he will also approve
and even praise the fact--and will above all easily understand it--that
there are scholars who are exclusively occupied with the investigation
of Greek and Roman antiquity: but that these scholars are at the same
time the teachers of the children of the nobility and gentry is not
equally easy of comprehension--here lies a problem.

Why philologists precisely? This is not altogether such a matter of
course as the case of a professor of medicine, who is also a practical
physician and surgeon. For, if the cases were identical, preoccupation
with Greek and Roman antiquity would be identical with the "science of
education." In short, the relationship between theory and practice in
the philologist cannot be so quickly conceived. Whence comes his
pretension to be a teacher in the higher sense, not only of all
scientific men, but more especially of all cultured men? This
educational power must be taken by the philologist from antiquity; and
in such a case people will ask with astonishment: how does it come that
we attach such value to a far-off past that we can only become cultured
men with the aid of its knowledge?

These questions, however, are not asked as a rule: The sway of philology
over our means of instruction remains practically unquestioned; and
antiquity _has_ the importance assigned to it. To this extent the
position of the philologist is more favourable than that of any other
follower of science. True, he has not at his disposal that great mass of
men who stand in need of him--the doctor, for example, has far more than
the philologist. But he can influence picked men, or youths, to be more
accurate, at a time when all their mental faculties are beginning to
blossom forth--people who can afford to devote both time and money to
their higher development. In all those places where European culture has
found its way, people have accepted secondary schools based upon a
foundation of Latin and Greek as the first and highest means of
instruction. In this way philology has found its best opportunity of
transmitting itself,

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