Thoughts on Philology- A tribute to Hermann Usener
2015-06-23 - Theory
Only through devoted preoccupation with the spiritual traces of vanished times, that is to say through philological research, can we train ourselves to feel with the past; then gradually sympathetic strains may be set in motion within us so that we find in our own consciousness the threads that link ancient and modern times. A greater wealth of observation and comparison allows us to go further and proceed form the particular case to a law. It would be a sad pass for human knowledge if detailed research ipso facto fettered the mind and prevented it from seeking a synoptic vision. The deeper you delve, the more you may expect to be rewarded by general insight.
Source: Usener, Hermann (1896). Götternamen. Versuch einer Lehre von der religiösen Begriffsbildung. Bonn. In: Cassirer, Ernst (1946). Language and Myth. New York: Dover Publications, p. 21 (translated by Susanne K. Langer)