Everything classic was thoroughly cultivated by Charles the Great,
whilst he combated everything heathen with the severest possible
measures of coercion. Ancient mythology was developed, but German
mythology was treated as a crime. The feeling underlying all this, in my
opinion, was that Christianity had already overcome the old religion .
people no longer feared it, but availed themselves of the culture that
rested upon it. But the old German gods were feared.
A great superficiality in the conception of antiquity--little else than
an appreciation of its formal accomplishments and its knowledge--must
thereby have been brought about. We must find out the forces that stood
in the way of increasing our insight into antiquity. First of all, the
culture of antiquity is utilised as an incitement towards the acceptance
of Christianity . it became, as it were, the premium for conversion, the
gilt with which the poisonous pill was coated before being swallowed.
Secondly, the help of ancient culture was found to be necessary as a
weapon for the intellectual protection of Christianity. Even the
Reformation could not dispense with classical studies for this purpose.
The Renaissance, on the other hand, now begins, with a clearer sense of
classical studies, which, however, are likewise looked upon from an
anti-Christian standpoint: the Renaissance shows an awakening of honesty
in the south, like the Reformation in the north. They could not but
clash; for a sincere leaning towards antiquity renders one unchristian.
On the whole, however, the Church succeeded in turning classical studies
into a harmless direction . the philologist was invented, representing a
type of learned man who was at the same time a priest or something
similar. Even in the period of the Reformation people succeeded in
emasculating scholarship. It is on this account that Friedrich August
Wolf is noteworthy he freed his profession from the bonds of theology.
This action of his, however, was not fully understood; for an
aggressive, active element, such as was manifested by the
poet-philologists of the Renaissance, was not developed. The freedom
obtained benefited science, but not man.
- -- Friedrich Nietzsche