Sensible erudition


4 April 2008, 4.59 CET

The ancient historians are filled with views which one could use even if the facts which present them were false. But we do not know how to get any true advantage from history. Critical erudition absorbs everything, as if it were very important whether a fact is true, provided that a useful teaching can be drawn from it. Sensible [persons] ought to regard history as a tissue of fables whose moral is very appropriate to the human heart.

—Rousseau, Emile, p. 156. [Translation by Allan Bloom]