The Importance of Critical Editions and the Fostering of Philosophy and Classics

2019 edition

Joan Tello

The aim of my presentation is twofold. On the one hand, to point out the importance of undertaking critical editions; and, on the other hand, to draw attention to the unspoken policy of neglecting the fostering of Classical Studies and Philosophy.

Strange and paradoxically as it might seem, our contemporary world seems to be about to experience another Dark Age. Even though the mass media and the internet give access to thousands of contents at once, that does not necessarily mean that the user attains the proper information based on demonstrable facts or scientific data. Having access to truthful information is paramount. Hence, for example, the importance of establishing the works of ancient philosophers and authors properly and making them available for the scholar community and the general public, so that they can study those ancient authors unbiased and reflect on their teachings accordingly.

However, and paradoxically, having a reliable access to the ancient wisdom is not always desirable, or so it seems. The Greek philosophers, the Chinese thinkers, the Roman orators or the Renaissance humanists have already dealt in depth with fundamental questions such as the state, the building of a society, and the education of youth. Therefore, the study of these ancient sources may lead to conclusions that our governments may try to stop at all costs: that, even though there is a way out of our misery, no effective and consistent policy has ever been established in order to do so. The Classics offer a painful testimony of the shameful incapacity of humans to improve themselves and their communities morally and humanely.

My PhD. on Renaissance Humanism (especially Joan Lluís Vives and Erasmus of Rotterdam) enables me to address the aforementioned topics in a satisfactory and straightforward manner.