Jane Ellen Harrison

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Jane Ellen Harrison in 1900

Jane Ellen Harrison (9 September 1850 – 15 April 1928) was a British classical scholar, linguist, and anthropologist.


Prolegomena to the study of Greek Religion (1903)[edit]

  • Greek writers of the fifth century B.C. have a way of speaking of, an attitude towards, religion, as though it were wholly a thing of joyful confidence, a friendly fellowship with the gods, whose service is but a high festival for man. In Homer sacrifice is but, as it were, the signal for a banquet of abundant roast flesh and sweet wine; we hear nothing of fasting, of cleansing, and atonement.
  • Socrates, obviously unfair though he is, puts his finger on the weak spot of Greek religion as orthodoxly conceived in the fifth century B.C. Its formula is do ut des. It as, as Socrates says, a 'business transaction' and one in which, because god is greater than man, man gets on the whole the best of it.

Alpha and omega (1915)[edit]

  • Professional and literary London I have known, academic Cambridge I do know. That other Youth—that is, happy peasants, coal-heavers, opulent stockbrokers, and the higher form of young barbarians—I do not know, and of them I do not speak. I accept my limitations.
  • It is useless, or almost useless, to offer to Youth the treasures of experience gathered by Age. "When you are my age," says Crabbed Age, "you will know what I know, see as I see." Nothing could be more profoundly false. History does not repeat itself. Evolution forbids. When you are my age, you will not know what I know, but something quite different.

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