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Saturday, July 25, 2009

HUMANITAS ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία PAIDEIA


ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία

DEFINITIONS OF HUMANITAS (Greek Concept: paideia)

I. human nature, humanity;
the quality and inclination of humankind.

II. mental cultivation befitting
a human being, liberal education;
refined manners, eloquence of language

Studia humanitatis, first defined by CICERO , consist of the "studies of humanity" -- or those studies which are most appropriate and befitting a free man or human being.

These studies, however, were not limited to Rome, for Cicero openly acknowledged the philosophical inheritance of the studia humanitatis descending from the ancient Greek concept of enkuklios paideia, which is the "encircling or well-rounded education"

Today we know these studies are not limited to man alone or only to the rich but to man and woman alike and rich and poor.

According to Cicero, in his speech Pro Archia, where the Roman orator argued in defense of the claim and right to Roman citizenship of his mentor and friend, the Greek poet-scholar Archias, these "studies of humanity" have a kind of common bond or kinship, and thereby constitute a true liberal education the kind all free citzens should be exposed to.

In other words, it is a humane or liberal education which sets the mind and soul free. (L. liberos, Gr. eleutherios).



But then, O my friends, he said, if the soul is really immortal, what care should be taken of her, not only in respect of the portion of time which is called life, but of eternity!

And the danger of neglecting her from this point of view does indeed appear to be awful. If death had only been the end of all, the wicked would have had a good bargain in dying, for they would have been happily quit not only of their body, but of their own evil together with their souls.

But now, as the soul plainly appears to be immortal, there is no release or salvation from evil except the attainment of the highest virtue and wisdom.

For the soul when on her progress to the world below takes nothing with her but nurture and education; which are indeed said greatly to benefit or greatly to injure the departed, at the very beginning of its pilgrimage in the other world."

Socrates in Plato's Phaedo, 107 in Jowett's translation. "

The soul of man is immortal and imperishable."

Plato, The Republic,, Book X, 608-D

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