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Longinus (First Century A.D.)

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Poetics : Longinus on the Sublime, Demetrius on Style (Loeb Classical Library, L199)
Backgrounds of Early ChristianityBackgrounds of Early Christianity
by Everett Ferguson

This revision of a popular textbook provides an analytical and systematic introdution to the Roman, Greek, and Jewish political, social, literary, and religious backgrounds necessary for a historical understanding of the New Testament and the early church.

"This isn't the easiest reading book in the world. But it is a wonderful bird's eye view of the cultural, political, religious, and social world in which Christianity came into being. You learn about the Romans, the Greeks, the Jewish people, and a myriad of other peoples who populated the Roman empire. This book is essential toward an understanding of the backgrounds of early Christianity." -- Rev. Marc Axelrod

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On The Sublime

The text of Roberts' translation of On the Sublime was scanned and edited by RSBoyes for Peitho's Web. It is intended for personal and educational use, but no liability for errors etc. is accepted.


You will remember, my dear Postumius Terentianus, that when we examined together the treatise of Caecilius on the Sublime, we found that it fell below the dignity of the whole subject, while it failed signally to grasp the essential points, and conveyed to its readers but little of that practical help which it should be a writer's principal aim to give. In every systematic treatise two things are required. The first is a statement of the subject; the other, which although second in order ranks higher in importance, is an indication of the methods by which we may attain our end. Now Caecilius seeks to show the nature of the sublime by countless instances as though our ignorance demanded it, but the consideration of the means whereby we may succeed in raising our own capacities to a certain pitch of elevation he has, strangely enough, omitted as unnecessary...


Sacred Ambivalence: Mimetology in Aristotle, Horace, and Longinus

By Matthew Schneider


Almost from its very beginnings mimetology has looked to ancient Greece for its proof texts. For both René Girard's hypotheses surrounding the ethical and ethnological implications of mimetic desire and Eric Gans's identification of the part played by mimetic resentment in cultural evolution, the texts of Homer and the tragedians have served (in the words of Walter Burkert) as "a mirror in which the basic orders of life, lying far behind us, become visible with an almost classical clarity" (xxiii).

For Burkert, this mirror's clarity is the product of ancient Greece's serendipitous "union of antiquity and sophistication" (xxiii). While mimetic theory has dwelt on the significances of Greek literary and religious traditions, the culture's sophistication--especially in matters critical and philosophical-- have received relatively scant notice. In light of the historical priority of the aesthetic over the theoretical, such inattention is understandable. This essay, however, will demonstrate how the writings of three of the classical age's most influential commentators on literary theory--Aristotle, Horace, and Longinus--manifest a debate on the proper place of the sacred in the aesthetic scene of representation. The debate begins with Aristotle's establishment, via critical fiat, of the aesthetic scene's formal and ethical self-sufficiency. Rather than following up the possibilities for artistic and anthropological discovery enabled by this bold gesture, however, Horace and Longinus display a curious reluctance to evacuate sacrality from aesthetic representation, as if they sensed that to do so was, at the very least, to run the risk of emptying the center of its attention-fixing capabilities...


From Encyclopedia Britannica


...also called DIONYSIUS LONGINUS, OR PSEUDO-LONGINUS, name sometimes assigned to the author of On the Sublime (Greek Peri Hypsous), one of the great, seminal works of literary criticism. The earliest surviving manuscript, from the 10th century, first printed in 1554, ascribes it to Dionysius Longinus. Later it was noticed that the index to the manuscript read "Dionysius or Longinus." The problem of authorship embroiled scholars for centuries, attempts being made to identify him with Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Cassius Longinus, Plutarch, and others. The solution has been to name him Pseudo-Longinus...


Longinus and Mcluhan 


Longinus (or Pseudo-Longinus since his actual identity is unknown) is best known for his work on sublimity. "On the Sublime" was written by Longinus around 200 AD. He argued that "sublimity is always an eminence and excellence in language; and that from this, and this alone, the greatest poets and writers of prose have attained the first place and have clothed their fame with immortality..."


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