Greek To Us: The Death of of Classical Education and Its Consequences via Taki’s Magazine

Interesting and wide-ranging article by E. Christian Kopff, beginning with:

On the evenings of October 10 and 11, 1999, the A&E cable network broadcast a list of “The 100 Most Influential People of the Past 1000 Years,” selected by a “Blue Ribbon Panel.” Some of the names on the bottom half of the list were rather silly: Princess Diana, the Beatles, Elvis Presley (who was ranked just ahead of Joan of Arc), but the top ten names represent a consensus on what has mattered most to us over the last 500 years.
 
Here they are in reverse order:
 
10. Galileo
9. Copernicus
8. Einstein
7. Karl Marx
6. Christopher Columbus
5. William Shakespeare
4. Charles Darwin
3. Martin Luther
2. Isaac Newton
1. Johann Gutenberg
 
This small group includes a poet, a theologian, a social philosopher, an inventor, a discoverer and five scientists. (Similar lists also privilege science.) The list includes atheists and believers, Catholics, Protestants and Jews. They are all Europeans and all men. The A&E narrative emphasized their curiosity and creativity. I noticed another trait they shared. They all studied Latin. They all had a classical education. 

Dr. Kopff goes on to map some historical and statistical facts about education over the last thousand years or so, including some very interesting notes on the educational background of real innovators in the sciences. Read the rest at Taki’s Magazine.

Oh, and by the way, here is the hilarious sketch from “I Love Lucy” that Dr. Kopff mentions. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply