A few remarks regarding the value and world-wide contribution of the Greek Language

 

It is no mark of intelligence to be able to prove whatever one pleases.

But to be able to discern what is true as true and what is false as false –

This is the mark and character of intelligence”, Emmanuel Swedenborg (1678-1772)

 

A few remarks regarding the value and world-wide contribution of the Greek Language

 

Regardless of the current economic crisis, institutions of higher learning and indeed humanity as a whole can not possibly forego or suspend the teaching of the incomparable Greek language.

 

The Greek language is of fundamental importance to the languages and cultures of the world, not only because it captured and recorded the most cultivated and philosophical thought of the ancient world, but also because it is the base and support of a whole list of others, such as Latin and the so called Latin-based languages (Italian, English, French, Spanish, etc.).

 

While the people of the world in translating the ancient Greek writings (scientific, literary, philosophy, epics, poetry, etc.), they imported in their own languages apart from the Greek intellectuality and thought many Greek words as well. There is no language today that does not contain Greek words or derivatives of Greek words, and that is why it is considered the “mother of all languages”.

 

The Greek language and Greek writings were spread internationally first during the period of Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic period that followed. They were also used extensively during the Roman and Byzantine empires, while many Roman men, the aristocracy and well to do citizenry of Rome came to Athens to study and learn Greek and the Greek culture.

 

The Greek language and alphabet are those that the most known ancient religions were written and then spread throughout the world, such as that of the Olympian gods and Christianity (Old Testament). Most Apostles: Paul, John, Lukas, etc….just as, many Hebrews had gotten a Greek education, knew the Greek language and alphabet and for that reason they wrote the Gospels directly in Greek for the purpose of making them known throughout the world. It is worthy to note that the Old Testament became known throughout the world after its translation from Hebrew into Greek.

 

In addition, the Greek language and Greek scriptures are those that helped in the decipherment of many of the ancient writings. This happened, because during the period of Alexander The Great and the Hellenistic period that followed, the Greek language and alphabet had become the international norm and many signs, name plates, columns, tombs, etc., were inscripted bilingually, i.e., the column of Rosette in Greek and Egyptian, the epigram ‘Rampad’ in Alep in Greek, Syriac and Arabic, the epigram ‘Arran’ in Aouran in Greek and Arabic, etc.

 

Following are some quotations from well known academicians, writers, poets, philosophers, orators etc. regarding the value of the Greek language:

 

 1) The French writer and academic Margarite Yourceyar said: I loved this Greek language for its robust plasticity, where each of its words certifies

     its direct and different contact with the truths, and because whatever has been said worthy by man, for the most part has been said in this

     language.

 2) Gaita, the German philosopher, said that he had heard the Gospel in various languages, however, when he heard it in Greek it seemed as if the

     Moon had appeared in the sky.

 3) The French Academician and Poet Claude Fauriel (1772-1844) said that the Greek language assembles the wealth and homogeneity of the

     German language, the clarity of French, the beauty of Spanish and the musicality of Italian.

 4) The famous blind American writer Ellen Keller compared the preciseness and perfection of expression of the human thought in the Greek

     Language with the most perfect of the musical instruments, the violin.

 5) The poet and academic Brettakos said: When I die and I‘m gone to the Heavens, I will speak to the angels in Greek, because they do not know

     any other language, other than the language of music.

 6) The German poet, historian and philosopher Schiller said: Cursed Greek, you have discovered everything: philosophy, geometry, physics,

     astronomy….. you have left nothing for us.

7) Cicero, the ancient Roman philosopher and orator said that if the gods spoke they would use the Greek language.

 

And for all of the above and much more, the Greek language and Greek writings should enjoy world-wide respectability, attention and protection.

 

Support the continued teaching of our beloved Greek language!

IMPORTANT!!! The dean of LAS at UIC decided to suspend the teaching of Ancient Greek.  There is a great reaction to this unfortunate decision. About fifty distinguished academics from the States and Europe, and many from our community have written to the dean asking him to recall this decision, which does not serve the interests of the students, of the University, and of our community in the broader sense.  The University management above the dean have not yet approved this decision.

The support of the HPSI members to preserve the teaching of Ancient Greek and Latin at UIC is greatly appreciated. To show your displeasure with this decision and to continue the teaching of our language in the U.S.:

 

(a) go to  http://www.savetheclassics.org and sign the letter asking  UIC to recall the decision to suspend the teaching of Ancient Greek and
Latin, and

(b) forward this request to your family, friends and associates!

 

 



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