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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


St. Basil the Great - Bilingual Anthology


from the Address To Young Men On The Right Use Of Greek Literature
§§ 2 and 3, here translated by Elpenor  * Greek Fonts ||| St Basil Home Page


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader
E have to understand that there lies a struggle before us, the greatest of all the other struggles, for the sake of which we must do everything and suffer whatever our strength permits in order to prepare ourselves. We must talk with poets and speech writers and talkers and all men, wherever we could gain some help from to take care of our soul. ... If we are to keep the glory of the good inside us intact, we gain the first perfection from all these, which are outside, and then we will listen perfectly to the sacred and mystical education. It happens like we first get used to see the sun in the water, and then we raise our eyes to the light itself.

μέγιστος πάντων ἀγώνων

Καὶ ἡμῖν δὴ οὖν ἀγῶνα προκεῖσθαι πάντων ἀγώνων μέγιστον νομίζειν χρεών͵ ὑπὲρ οὗ πάντα ποιητέον ἡμῖν καὶ πονητέον εἰς δύναμιν ἐπὶ τὴν τούτου παρασκευήν͵ καὶ ποιηταῖς καὶ λογοποιοῖς καὶ ῥήτορσι καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ὁμιλητέον ὅθεν ἂν μέλλῃ πρὸς τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς ἐπιμέλειαν ὠφέλειά τις ἔσεσθαι. ... εἰ μέλλει ἀνέκπλυτος ἡμῖν ἡ τοῦ καλοῦ παραμένειν δόξα͵ τοῖς ἔξω δὴ τούτοις προτελεσθέντες͵ τηνικαῦτα τῶν ἱερῶν καὶ ἀπορρήτων ἐπακουσόμεθα παιδευμάτων· καὶ οἷον ἐν ὕδατι τὸν ἥλιον ὁρᾶν ἐθισθέντες οὕτως αὐτῷ προσβαλοῦμεν τῷ φωτὶ τὰς ὄψεις.

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