Archive for September, 2007

In the midst of the American Renaissance

September 27, 2007

The phrase “American Renaissance” was coined in 1878 by a New York clergyman, but gained academic respectability after Mathiessen’s American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman. Like Tracy’s “Great Awakening,” the American Renaissance has been considered, reconsidered, torn down and rebuilt continuously until today.

The conservative Christian(I) stance paired with regular-old Enlightenment skepticism(II) against Myth as polytheism or godhead fallacy 1770-1820.

(I) Christopher Irving, Catechism of Mythology (New York: F. and R. Lockwood, 1822)
(I) Robert Mayo, A New System of Mythology(Philadelphia, 1815-1819) heavily in debt to Banier, Mythology and Fables of the Ancients, Explain’d from History (London, A. Miller, 1739)
(I) William Sheldon, History of the Heathen Gods (Boston, Isaiah Thomas, Jr. 1809)
(II) George B. English, The Grounds of Christianity Examined (Boston, 1831)
(II) Abner Kneeland, National Hymns for those who are slave to no Sect (Boston, 1832)
(II) see: Holbach, The System of Nature, Robinson transl., 1835
(II) Robert Ingersoll, The Gods and other Lectures, (Peoria, 1874)

The Font of Interpretation: works beyond reason, the old world unadulerated

see: Bruno Bauer, F. C. Baur, Bayles’s Ouerves Diverses, Lowth, Bochart, Chateaubriand’s Genius of Christianity, Constant, De Wette, Eichhorn, Strauss, Herder, Klaproth,

Periodicals – Boston(?)

American Monthly Magazine, 1836
Biblical Repository, 1839
Boston Daily Advertiser, 1836-1841
Boston Quarterly Review, 1838-42
Boston Semi-Weekly Courier, 1840-41
Brownson’s Quarterly Review, 1844-59
Christian Examiner, 1831-46
Christian World, 1844-46
The Dial, 1840-44
The Liberator, 1840-1860
The Liberty Bell, 1842-1846
Monthly Miscellany of Religion and Letters, 1841-1842
National Standard, 1871
New Englander, 1844-1845
North American Review, 1831-36
Scriptural Interpreter, 1831-36 [As a test I should get all of these and make a new index]
Sunday School Teacher and Children’s Fund, 1836-37
Western Messenger, 1840-41

Individuals and Biographies

Theodore Parker,
Grodzins, Dean. Biography (2002) 
Weiss, John, Life and Correspondence [GOOGLE BOOKS Vol. 1 & Vol. 2,
American Unitarian Association, Centenary Edition of the Writings Of ParkerThomas Taylor,
Thomas Taylor, the Platonist, ed. K. Raine and G.M. Harper (1969)

20th century academic perspectives (in chronological order)

F. O. Matthiessen, American Renaissance, (New York and London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1941)
Perry Miller, The Transcendentalists, (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1950)
Jerry Wayne Brown, The Rise of Biblical Criticism in America, (Conn: Wesleyan Univ. Press, 1969)
Robert D. Richardson, Myth and Literature in the American Renaissance, (Bloomington and London: Indiana Univ. Press, 1978)


September 26, 2007

I. Protagoras and his doctrines appear in the following texts: Diogenes Laertius 9.50; Sextus Empiricus, Adv. Math. 9.55-6, 7.389, 7.60; Pyrr. I.216; Arist. Met. 3, 1046b29,997b32, 1007b18, 1062b13, Rhet. 1402a23, 1407b6, SE 173b17, Poet. 1456b15; Plato, Protagoras, passim, and Theaetetus 152-83, but also Meno 91d-e, H. Maj. 282d-e, Crataylus 266d-267c, Euthydemus 286b-c, Phaedrus 266dff.; Sophist 23d-e. See the more extensive collection compiled by DK.
II. Protagoras is unquestionably part of the older-generation of fifth-century thinkers, a contemporary of Herodotus, Aeschylus and Sophocles.
III. Protagoras did not conceive of himself as a contributor to natural philosophy. Prot. 318e, Protagoras distinguishes himself from other Sophists.
IV. Key fragment; man is the measure of all things. However, contra Parm., Protagoras claims On What Is (DK 80 B2,) that what there is cannot be divorced from what there seems to be. The question here follows: Does Protagors conta Parm. argue for a different account of the world as it is in itself, all things, or does he claim that truth and knowledge are grounded in human experience, relative to human concern.
V. subjectivism: all appearences exist. relativism: what appears to you is true. (These are the arch enemies, the bats in a cave who are allied to man-eating spiders leaving only bones of all who enter, let alone if the goddess had guided the soul to the appeal of entrance. Ways to defeat them are life it very self.) See: The Origin of Subjectivity: An Essay on Descartes, Hiram Caton, Yale University Press, 1973.
VI. see also: Burnyeat, M. F. (1975) ‘Protagoras and self-refutation in later Greek philosophy,’ Philosophical Review 84:44-5 and Burnyeat, M. F. (1976) Protagoras and self-refutation in Plato’s Theaetetus, Philosophical Review 85:172-95
VII. For Protagoras, man is an animal who must by his very nature band together with his fellow man to wage war in his own defense.  Natural order only when the polis exists – when man, as a species, is able to defend himself. Farrar sites Winton, R.I. (1974) The Political Thought of Protagoras, diss., Cambridge.  Winton, now lecturer in Ancient History, University of Nottingham, author of “Herodotus, Thucydides, and the Sophists” in Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000.
VIII. Do not forget that Protagoras was a sophist, and as such, his statement that man is the measure of all things, is sophistry. Hegel quoted ‘a leading principle of the Sophists was that “man is measure of all things,”; but in this, as in all their apophthegms, lurks an ambiguity, since the term “man” may denote Spirit in its depth and truth, or in the aspect of mere caprice and private interest.” The Philosophy of History, transl. Sibree, p. 269

notes; Farrar, Cynthia. The origins of democratic thinking: the
invention of politics in classical Athens. Chapter 3. Protagoras: measuring man.
I. Democracy – History 2. Political Science – Greece – History.
ISBN 0 521 34054 3.


September 26, 2007

If Time gets spent, energy’s displayed,
When morning reaches daylight, Body is maid.
night falls to Silence, inevitably
extension of knowledge requires all Three.


I A Characteristic
I B Sub-forms of I A
I C Completely determinite forms of I A

2 A Reality so characterized
2 B Sub-class of 2 A
2 C Individual members of 2 A

When a thing is understood as itself, it can exist as IA or 2A, and only in the singular.  Where the grammar indicates that some selection is being made, (either as ‘this x’ or ‘an x’, etc.) the remaining four senses are all possible.

See: civilization. 

Thucydides Reading List

September 18, 2007

Cochrane, Charles Norris. 1965. Thucydides and the Science of History. New York: Russell & Russell.

Connor, W. Robert. 1984. Thucydides. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Cornford, Francis Macdonald. 1965. Thucydides Mythistoricus. London: Routledge & K. Paul.

Crane, Gregory. 1998. Thucydides and the Ancient Simplicity: The Limits of Political Realism. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Edmunds, Lowell. 1975. Chance and Intelligence in Thucydides. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Finley, John H. 1942. Thucydides. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard university press.

Hornblower, Simon. 1987. Thucydides. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Jaeger, Werner Wilhelm. 1945. Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ober, Josiah. 1998. Political Dissent in Democratic Athens: Intellectual Critics of Popular Rule. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Orwin, Clifford. 1994. The Humanity of Thucydides. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Parry, Adam. 1981. Logos and Ergon in Thucydides. New York: Arno Press.