benjamin jowett master of balliol

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: v Homeric saying that ' We boast that we are much better than our fathers ' — 'Hfieu Tm irartpuy piy d/ieicom He replied that, whenever he heard that line, he felt a wish to oppose to it another passage from Homer, the passage in which Diomed is reproached with being inferior to his father in deeds, though superior to him in words : Toioj ti]v TuSeiJs A/riiXios dXXA rin (iiliv On the whole, then, after putting side by side the bonistic and the malistic sayings of Jowett, and weighing them against one another by the light of our general impression of him, we may roughly consider the question : What did he think of the value of civilization and of its future ? I will not again employ the metaphor of the rotating squirrel; for . that metaphor, while it seems to express Jowett's view of the course of metaphysical inquiry, does not fully express his view of the course of civilization. Goethe, we all know, said that civilization moves, not in a circle, but in a spiral. To complete this metaphor, let us suppose the spiral to be horizontal like a corkscrew laid flat on a table. Human society, travelling along the line of such a spiral, has its ups and downs, but is continually going forward in a definite direction. This metaphor, I think, fairly expresses Jowett's view. At all events, in times of depression (or of candour) he would have admitted that the harvest reaped by civilized men bears nosort of proportion to the labour which their forefathers bestowed on sowing the seed. This will appear more plainly when some other of Jowett'a sayings, especially his sayings about democracy, have been recorded. I was referring to Jowett, and referring to him advisedly, when I said many years ago: ' We have known very able men who, in their feelings, were tenacious of t...
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