Friday, October 20, 2006

Nice things said about Jews, pt 5

No people ever felt so strongly as the people of the Old Testament, the Hebrew people, that conduct is three-fourths of our life and its largest concern. No people ever felt so strongly that succeeding, going right, hitting the mark in this great concern, was the way of peace, the highest possible satisfaction...

Then there is the practical force of their example; and this is even more important. Everyone is aware how those who want to cultivate any sense of endowment in themselves must be habitually conversant with the works of people who have been eminent for that sense, must study them, catch inspiration from them. Only in this way, indeed, can progress be made. And as long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress in righteousness will come to Israel for inspiration, as to the people who have had the sense for righteousness most glowing and strongest; and in hearing and reading the words Israel has uttered for us, careers for conduct will find a glow and a force they could find nowhere else.
-- Matthew Arnold, Literature and Dogma, 1873

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