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INTRODUCTION: TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF HUMANISM

Known to generations of scholars and students simply as ‘Liddell and Scott’, the Lexicon borrowed its descriptive methodology and much of its material from the philological researches of Franz Passow, Professor of Greek at the University of Breslau in the 1850s, and Georg Curtius, his contemporary at Prague and Leipzig; for while the language and literature of the ancient Greeks continued to be studied in British schools and universities as it had been since the sixteenth century, the truly pioneering work on Greek and its sister Indo-European languages was being done, in the nineteenth century, in Germany. The motivation behind the great resurgence of German philological and archaeological scholarship was a reformed educational system inspired by the romantic hellenism of Winckelmann and Goethe;1 and the word the reformers invented to describe their educational ideals, with a backward glance to the classical studia humanitatis or ‘study of humanity’ promoted by the umanisti or educators of an earlier ‘renaissance’, was Humanismus: humanism.