"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What is a Classic?

Homo unius libri timeo. - I fear the man of a single book. -- St. Thomas Aquinas

Of course, my first thought was that someone who only knew one book was really stupid. I have lots to say about that as I know many people who really only know one book. I also look at many Protestants that follow the Bible ONLY (sola scriptura) that don't go any farther. They haven't bothered to read books by the Saints or even Luther. They don't understand the need for a Catechism or the Magisterium.

After reading more Aquinas, as I've found in Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas and other books, what he really meant was:
"[Aquinas's] words are generally quoted today in disparagement of the man whose mental horizons are limited to a single book. Aquinas, however, meant that a man who has thoroughly mastered one good book can be dangerous as an opponent. The Greek poet Archilochus meant something like this when he said that the fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

And here folks is the real guts: When you know a book (even if it is only one), you are a force with which to be reckoned! That's the beauty of the classics, because what is a classic, really? It's the book you read over and over again. It feeds your soul and becomes a part of you. Therefore, there are times we who are following the TJEd model are like the hedgehog.

What is your classic? Lately, mine has been Jane Eyre. My daughter and I have been reading it over and over again this summer, which is a beautiful thing because I feel our souls becoming even more intertwined. Of course, she's 8 and reading an abridged version. But, she loves it none the less and can't wait to read the REAL version. We'll be doing that together very soon...

Here we go again:
Alenda lux ubi orta libertas.

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