Basil on the value of reading (Namely, Greek Literature)

Basil was commenting on the use of Greek literature for Christians, but his advice might be applied today to various other types of literature. In my opinion, Basil is saying the express opposite than what is said today (think Slippery Slope), in that we should read what opposes us, and discard anything of non-value.

Do not be surprised if to you, who go to school every day, and who, through their writings, associate with the learned men of old, I say that out of my own experience I have evolved something more useful. Now this is my counsel, that you should not unqualifiedly give over your minds to these men, as a ship is surrendered to the rudder, to follow whither they list, but that, while receiving whatever of value they have to offer, you yet recognize what it is wise to ignore. Accordingly, from this point on I shall take up and discuss the pagan writings, and how we are to discriminate among them.

You can read the rest here.

Is he right? Of course. Don’t expel from your presence those things which disagree with you, but instead read and devour it. Learn from it and learn how to defend yourself if necessary. Or, sometimes, you’ll find correction most needed.

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