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EDUCATION IS THE HIGHEST GOOD

from the funeral oration on St. Basil the Great, * § 11
translated by C. G. Browne, J. E. Swallow.
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And again, as we know that neither fire, nor food, nor iron, nor any other of the elements, is of itself most useful, or most harmful, except according to the will of those who use it; and as we have compounded healthful drugs from certain of the reptiles; so from secular literature we have received principles of enquiry and speculation, while we have rejected their idolatry, terror, and pit of destruction. Nay, even these have aided us in our religion, by our perception of the contrast between what is worse and what is better, and by gaining strength for our doctrine from the weakness of theirs. We must not then dishonour education, because some men are pleased to do so, but rather suppose such men to be boorish and uneducated, desiring all men to be as they themselves are, in order to hide themselves in the general, and escape the detection of their want of culture.

ὡς δὲ καὶ πυρὸς καὶ τροφῆς καὶ σιδήρου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων οὐδὲν καθ΄ ἑαυτὸ χρησιμώτατον ἴσμεν ἢ βλαβερώτατον͵ ἀλλ΄ ὅπως ἂν δοκῇ τοῖς χρωμένοις· ἤδη δὲ καὶ τῶν ἑρπυστικῶν θηρίων ἔστιν ἃ τοῖς πρὸς σωτηρίαν φαρμάκοις συνεκεράσαμεν· οὕτω καὶ τούτων τὸ μὲν ἐξεταστικόν τε καὶ θεωρητικὸν ἐδεξάμεθα͵ ὅσον δὲ εἰς δαίμονας φέρει καὶ πλάνην καὶ ἀπωλείας βυθὸν διεπτύσαμεν· ὅτι μὴ κἀκ τούτων πρὸς θεοσέβειαν ὠφελήμεθα͵ ἐκ τοῦ χείρονος τὸ κρεῖττον καταμαθόντες καὶ τὴν ἀσθένειαν ἐκείνων ἰσχὺν τοῦ καθ΄ ἡμᾶς λόγου πεποιημένοι. Οὔκουν ἀτιμαστέον τὴν παίδευσιν͵ ὅτι τοῦτο δοκεῖ τισιν· ἀλλὰ σκαιοὺς καὶ ἀπαιδεύτους ὑποληπτέον τοὺς οὕτως ἔχοντας͵ οἳ βούλοιντ΄ ἂν ἅπαντας εἶναι καθ΄ ἑαυτούς͵ ἵν΄ ἐν τῷ κοινῷ τὸ κατ΄ αὐτοὺς κρύπτηται͵ καὶ τοὺς τῆς ἀπαιδευσίας ἐλέγχους διαδιδράσκωσιν.  

Cf. PLATO : Searching for the things' reason, Paideia - out of the cave, Self-knowledge, Wisdom ||| BASIL THE GREAT : Love can not be taught, Education is necessary ||| GENNADIUS SCHOLARIUS : Words are the fathers of all Good ||| MANUEL II PALAEOLOGUS : The virtue of a king ||| PAPATSONIS : Scheme, In Rising Sound 

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