Quotation by William Barrett

Hebraism contains no eternal realm of essence, which Greek philosophy was to fabricate, through Plato, as affording the intellectual deliverance from the evil of time. Such a realm of eternal essences is possible only for a detached intellect, one who, in Plato's phrase, becomes a "spectator of all time and all existence." This ideal of the philosopher as the highest human type—the theoretical intellect who from the vantage point of eternity can survey all time and existence—is altogether foreign to the Hebraic concept of the man of faith who is passionately committed to his own mortal being. Detachment was for the Hebrew an impermissible state of mind, a vice rather than a virtue; or rather it was something that Biblical man was not yet even able to conceive, since he had not reached the level of rational abstraction of the Greek. His existence was too earth-bound, too laden with oppressive images of mortality, to permit him to experience the philosopher's detachment.
William Barrett (b. 1913), U.S. philosopher, editor. Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy, ch. 4, Doubleday (1958).
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