Wie man nicht über Klassiker schreibt
Hubert Dreyfus und Sean Dorrance Kelly scheinen ein seltsames Buch geschrieben zu haben: All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age. Garry Wills, ein verläßlicher Leser, mag es in der neuen New York Review of Books gar nicht glauben, was er da vorgesetzt bekommt:
This book, which was featured on the front page of The New York Times Book Review, comes recommended by some famous Big Thinkers. It is written by well-regarded professors (one of them the chairman of the Harvard philosophy department). This made me rub my eyes with astonishment as I read the book itself, so inept and shallow is it.
Zahlreiche Beispiele bezeugen die Ahnungslosigkeit der Autoren:
“Augustine was the first important Christian to interpret Christianity using the categories of Greek philosophy.” Anyone who knows anything about either Augustine or Greek philosophy knows that this is nonsense. There were any number of important Christians who did this before Augustine—Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Mallius Theodore, Marius Victorinus, Ambrose of Milan.3 These people were not only earlier than Augustine, they were acquainted with Greek philosophy more deeply and intimately than he was. They read and spoke Greek, and he did not.
It is hard to imagine how Dreyfus and Kelly could get sillier about Augustine, but they meet the challenge. They say that he invented the inner life of the mind. “Augustine had to get people to realize that they had an inner life.” How did he do this? By pointing out that Ambrose was seen reading the Bible silently. “Apparently, in Augustine’s time everyone read aloud.” This is a myth that Bernard Knox destroyed years ago.