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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 10. August, 7, 1946

Classical Tradition

Classical Tradition

The first public lecture given by Prof. Murray, the newly-appointed Professor of Classics, showed that he is a worthy successor to Sir John Rankine Brown, and that the position of Classics in the educational syllabus will be ably defended. In his address Professor Murray laid stress on the importance of the study of Greek and Latin literature for a full "humanity" education, for a deeper understanding of language in general, and for developing qualities of alertness and observation with precision and clearness of thought and expression. In addition to emphasizing these points, Prof. Murray minimised the traditional arguments for the study of the two languages, "that classical study is the greatest engine known." and that "if a subject is unpopular, it does pupils good to study it. If they could endure it. the forbearance of the student would be developed."

While not denying the value of a difficult subject. Professor Murray said that the philological side was or little value—forms and exceptions were a thing of the past, but they still hold some sway, and overload the memory. Grammar should be considered as the means, not the end; there is no adequate ground for the study of languages as a mental discipline.

One of the most important reasons for the preservation and extension of the study of the classics is that our own civilisation is founded on the classical. This foundation must he reconsidered and re-interpreted in view of modern needs and problems. This may be achieved by the study of translations, but on the other hand the æsthetic and cultural benefit can only be attained by reading the originals, where one can grasp the finer shades of meaning and gain a deeper and more exact insight into the writer's thought.