Dating a renaissance man


At that time much learned work was still being done, but it was becoming increasingly mechanical and repetitive.

More and more of the chief writers survived only in selections; texts were being produced, often with commentaries, but these derived mainly from the stores of learning accumulated in the past.

Even after the triumph of Christianity in 313 under Constantine the Great, pagan and Christian scholars often attended one another’s lectures. Basil ( 329–379) wrote a treatise on the value of pagan literature in which he recommends at least a passing acquaintance with the pagan classics, but he and the other leading Christian authors of his time possessed a good deal more than this.

The pagan Libanius of Antioch, the most celebrated rhetor of the 4th century and author of the surviving hypotheses of the orations of Demosthenes, taught Theodore of Mopsuestia, St. Theodore ( 350–428/429), bishop of Mopsuestia and leader of the school of Antioch, applied what could be called pagan methods of criticism to the Bible by using his knowledge of history and language to illuminate passages of Scripture.

However, under Hadrian, Christianity proved less hostile to pagan culture than might have been expected.