sábado, 27 de outubro de 2012

Studia Humaniora

We have here a theory upon which the concept of humanitas is based, a concept that is often considered typically Roman rather than Greek. It is expressed in the famous saying of Terence: "I a a man: I consider nothing human to be foreign to me." And here we may also remember a famous passage of [Aulus] Gellius in which the two meanings of the Latin concept of humanitas are discussed. One is defined as benevolence toward all men and corresponds to the Greek concept of philanthropia (which is hence the source of the Latin humanitas). The other meaning deals with education in the human or liberal arts and corresponds to the Greek term paideia. Gellius, who emphasizes the second meaning of humanitas and treats the first nearly with scorn, does indicate that also the first one is derived from the Greek. I am inclined to think that the Terentian and Ciceronian concept of humanitas reflects a concept of Panaetius. The ambiguity of the term and the confusion of the two meaninsg were used by the humanists to give a moralistic and humanitarian color to what was their cultural ideal. In the hands of our contemporaries it has served to substitute for the culture of humanism a brand of sentimental philanthropy that is about to deprive humanistic culture of its traditional place in the schools and universities and to take over the institutions and resources originally established for it.

Paul Kristeller. Greek Philosophers of the Hellenistic Age. Columbia University Press (1993).

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