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Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics Matthew Arnold and the Pragmatics of Hebraism and Hellenism

Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics

Matthew Arnold and the Pragmatics of Hebraism and Hellenism Author(s): Donald D. Stone Source: Poetics Today, Vol. 19, No. 2, Hellenism and Hebraism Reconsidered: The Poetics of Cultural Influence and Exchange II (Summer, 1998), pp. 179-198 Published by: Duke University Press

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MatthewArnoldandthe Pragmatics of Hebraismand Hellenism

Donald D. Stone

English, CUNY

The power of intellect and science, the power of beauty, the power of social life and manners, -these are what Greece so felt, and fixed, and may stand for. They are great elements in our humanisation.The power of conduct is another great element; and this was so felt and fixed by Israel that we can never with justice

refuseto permit Israel, in spite of all his shortcomings, to stand for it. Arnold, "Equality,"1878

Abstract Matthew Arnold in Cultureand Anarchy describes Hebraismand Hellenism

as the "two points of influence [between which] moves our world."Arnold was not

speaking as

complementary

states of being (strictnessof conscienceand spontaneityof consciousness, respectively) that

had practical bearing in a newly industrial and democratic world. An educator by

profession, and one deeply influenced by

in educational and social matters, Arnold initially argued on behalf of the Hellenic,

see things freely and objectively, without religious

or political bias. But he never divorced the Hellenic stress on knowing from the Hebraic emphasis on conduct. As a disciple of Socrates, he invoked that master's belief in the "interdependence of virtue and knowledge."

what he perceived as France's superiority

matically,flexibly, to denote both a dual historical heritage and two

an expert in Judeo-Christian or Greek studies; he used the terms prag-

or

critical, spirit: the

ability to

Lecturing to an American audience in 1883, Matthew Arnold was pleased

by the impact of his words, and he was reminded of Benjamin Disraeli's

Poetics Today19:2 (Summer 1998) Copyright ? Semiotics.

1998 by the Porter Institute for Poetics and

180

Poetics Today 19:2

flattering comment, made two years earlier, that he "was the only living Englishman who had become a classic in his own lifetime," in part through

his facility in "launching phrases" (1895, 2:219, 269). From less friendly quarters, Arnold's predilection for such quotable phrases and terms as "sweetness and light," "Philistinism," and "saving remnant" (the latter phrase proved especially popular in America) has been derided as a Victo-

empty

phrases," in J. Hillis Miller's view, that

rian equivalent of the modern taste for sound bites-"scrupulously

serve only to keep "the void open

after the disappearance of God" (1965 [1963]: 265). To admirers such as John Holloway or Steven Marcus, however, these phrases are admirable stylistic devices, inculcating "value frames" in the reader (Holloway 1965

[1953]:

217). These "handy and detachable bits of phraseology are memo-

rable," Marcus claims, "not merely by virtue of their ingenuity but also

because they referto and are part of spirited and significantargumentative discussions that have a resonance beyond their original historical context and still retain some connections with matters of issue today" (1994:165). ForArnold these rhetorical terms were pragmatic tools assembled to goad

the English public into facing up to major social problems. Of all these terms, few have proved more influential-or

more diffi-

cult to define--than

describe the "two points of influence [between which] moves our world":

"Hebraismand Hellenism" (1960-77, 5: 163-64). Arnold was not speaking as an expert in Judeo-Christian or Greek studies; he used the terms prag-

matically, flexibly, loosely, to denote both a dual historical heritage and two complementary states of being that had practical bearing in a newly industrial and democratic world. Differing with those who promoted one of these values at the expense of the other, Arnold argued that "the final

no doubt the same: man's

aim of both Hebraism and Hellenism is

perfection or salvation" (ibid., 5:164). But, he noted, whereas Hebraism, with its concern for inward rectitude, requires an obedience on the part

of the individual that might lead to an unquestioning acceptance of the

status quo, Hellenism prompts a counterimpulse: the desire to have an ob-

the ones Arnold employed in Cultureand Anarchy to

jective grasp of reality

status quo. As a supporter of educational and other social reforms, Arnold

felt the practical need to achieve an adjustment between the two, an ad- justment that would strengthen England's ability to meet the challenges

of a rapidly changing world. To his mother, Arnold claimed that the dis-

tinction he had made between Hebraism and Hellenism-between

ness of conscience" and "spontaneity of consciousness" (ibid., 5:165)- was

one "on which more and more will turn, and on dealing wisely with it everything depends" (1895, 2:37). And to his good friend Louisa, Lady

that might very well lead to a questioning of the

"strict-

Stone * MatthewArnoldandthe Pragmatics of HebraismandHellenism

181

de Rothschild, Arnold expressed delight when the eminent Jewish scholar Emanuel Deutsch commended what Arnold modestly called his "crude speculations" on Hebraism and Hellenism. "I have had no such tribute to

my powers of relaxing and dissolving yet paid. If we can but dissolve what is bad without dissolving what is good!" (1895, 1:458-59). "Dissolvents of the old European system of dominant ideas and facts we must all be, all of us who have any power of working," Arnold had asserted in 1863; "what we have to study is that we may not be acrid dissolvents

of it" (1960-77, 3:109-10). The comment appears in the most progressive- minded of the Essays in Criticism, the essay devoted to an authorwhose style and message Arnold was particularly drawn to and from whom he had taken the Hebraism-Hellenism construction: Heinrich Heine. "All people are either Jews or Hellenes," Heine had asserted three decades earlier (in Ludwig Borne),"people with drives that are ascetic, image-hating, and ravenous for spiritualization, or people of a nature that rejoices in life, is proud of display, and is realistic" (cited in Carroll 1982: 242). For Heine, Western history could be viewed as a perpetual oscillation between Hel- lenic and "Nazarene" impulses, between the desirefor artistic,intellectual, and sensual freedom and the repression of such desires. Although he paid tribute to the claims of both sense and spirit, Heine also cautioned against

the political consequences of religions that condemn the flesh: their in-

evitable

"support of despotism" (Heine 1973b[1833]: 132). Heine's assault

was not on religion per se. (He protested that instead of "having no reli-

I have them all" [Sammons 1979: 306].) Rather, he attacked

gion,

the unholy alliance between "religious repressiveness" and the existing

state of "political repression" (ibid.: 148). It is largely on this account

that Arnold--a

of the Puritan-biased middle-class establishment to the spread of educa-

tion-joined

forces with the brilliant opponent of "Philistinism" (another

of Heine's terms) and borrowed his Hebraism-Hellenism distinction. He decried Heine's "injustice" in praising Hellenism at the expense of Hebra-

ism (1960-77, 5:164), but he praised Heine for containing both qualities

within himself (1960-77, 3:127). For all his moral defects, Heine was, for

Arnold, "a brilliant soldier in the Liberation War of

132), a cause that Arnold accepted as his own. And both the German and the English poet-essayists looked to France as the country where, in the nineteenth century, Hellenism seemed to be thriving in the forms of a su-

perior educational and social system and a superior intellectual climate.

school inspector by vocation, frustrated by the opposition

humanity" (ibid., 3:

to support a core

of ethical values and, at the same time, to promote a "free play

upon all subjects." Forthis purpose one needed Hebraism, with its regard

Arnold's lifelong aim as educator and social critic was

of the mind

182 Poetics Today19:2

for conduct and duty, but one also needed a Hellenic or "critical"outlook. The function of criticism, he notes (in perhaps the most widely quoted of

his phrases), is to obey "an instinct prompting it to try to know the best

that is known and thought in the world, irrespectively of practice, politics,

and everything of the kind" (ibid., 3:268)-an

fines as being conspicuously Hellenic. But opposition to such thinking-

a thinking that would call for inevitable changes in English institutions

and tempers--came from the newly powerful middle class, "drugged with

business,

a religion, narrow,unintelligent, repulsive"(ibid., 5:19).Thus, Arnold felt obliged to "dissolve"the authority of a popular but repressive form of reli-

gion (latter-day Puritanism), while also arguing the pragmatic value of religion in upholding standardsof conduct. To understandArnold's seem-

ambivalent handling of the Hebraism-Hellenism distinction, one

ingly

must know something about his personal background, and one should

historical situation, as he saw it, in the middle

third of the nineteenth century. It is also instructive to briefly examine the

views of some of Arnold's contemporaries who made use of the Hebraism- Hellenism distinction for their own purposes. While Heine is credited with turning the opposition between Hellene and Hebrew into a historical paradigm, he was anticipated, to some de-

gree, by

have a sense of England's

instinct that Arnold de-

its sense blunted for any stimulus besides, except religion;

two German authors who dallied with the charms of the pagan

of TheRenaissancedevoted to Winckelmann, "The aim of our

Bildung,

concept of self-development devised by Goethe and Johann

of

success" (1986 [1873]:121). Like Heine

world, Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

As an English disciple (who also draws on Arnold), Walter Pater, writes in

the chapter

culture" is the attainment of "not only as intense but as complete a life

as possible." Thus, Pater,following Arnold, celebrates the idea of

the German

Gottfried von Herder by way of Platonic sources. In the contrasting figure

of Girolamo Savonarola (self-denying, Hebraic), Pater points to another, if

less attractive, Renaissance "type

and Arnold, Pater describes the Renaissance in terms of a contest between

revitalized Hebraic and Hellenic forces.Unlike his predecessors, however, Pater saw the efforts of a Pico della Mirandola "to reconcile Christianity

of ancient Greece" (ibid.: 20) as a doomed undertaking.

with the religion

Heine, by

bilitating matter and vindicating the rights of the senses without denying

Implicit

in Heine's or Arnold's

would also allow for the satisfying of spiritual

Hellenism," Arnold declares in Cultureand Anarchy, "is

needs. "Essentialin

contrast, had endorsed the pagan (or "sensual") effort "at reha-

position that

the rights of the spirit or even its supremacy"(1973a[18351:324).

defense of Hellenism is the view that a

supports self-development

Stone * MatthewArnoldandthe Pragmatics of HebraismandHellenism

183

the impulse to the development of the whole man, to connecting and har- monizing all parts of him, leaving none to take their chance" (1960-77, 5:

184). Such a development was, for Arnold, in society's best interest; and here we see a divergence between Arnold and Pater. For whereas Helle- nism for Arnold is an educational means of advancing England, Hellenism for Pater is purely an individual matter.'

John Stuart Mill, in On Liberty(1859), also distinguishes between religious (i.e., "Calvinistic") and pagan counterdemands. "'Pagan self- assertion,"' he contends (quoting John Sterling), "is one of the elements of human worth, as well as 'Christian self-denial.' There is a Greek ideal of self-development, which the Platonic and Christian ideal of self- government blends with, but does not supersede. It may be better to be a John Knox than an Alcibiades, but it is better to be a Pericles than either; nor would a Pericles, if we had one in these days, be without anything good which belonged to John Knox" (1969 [1859]:409-10). But there was no guarantee that a Hellenic-minded individual would have respect for, or be tolerated by, someone of a Hebraic cast of mind. George Eliot, in

Romola (1863), drew a cautionary portrait of a young hedonist, living in the Florence of Savonarola, who disavows all claims upon him. "I am no Hebrew," Tito Melema announces upon his entry into the novel (1980 [1863]: 56), and before long he has betrayed everyone close to him.2Eliot wrote four admiring essays on Heine in the mid-185os, but she duly noted Heine's own sardonic admission that in his time of suffering the Greek

gods were of no avail. When Heine collapsed in the Louvre, he imagined

hearing the Venus de Milo say to him, "Dost thou not see, then, that I

have no

arms, and thus cannot help thee?" (Eliot 1963: 241-42).

In her most ambitious novel, Middlemarch (1872), Eliot sought to rec-

of

oncile the Hebraic and Hellenic impulses; or, rather, in the

the overly self-denying Dorothea Brooke and the benignly hedonistic Will

with the other. Dorothea

Ladislaw, she shows how each gains from contact

becomes aware of the value of beauty and of her own sensual needs, while

persons

1. On this point see Donoghue

1995:158. The differing use of Hellenism by Arnold and Pater

Dowling (1994).

The ill-fated sculptor-hero of his first major novel, Roderick

is also explored by David DeLaura (1969) and Linda

2. Arnold's devotee Henry James also draws on Arnold's distinction between Hebraic- and

Hellenic-minded individuals.

Hudson (1875),loftily asserts, "I'm

a Hellenist; I'm not a Hebraist!" (James 1960 [1875]:88);

but Roderick's lack of self-control proves ruinous to his life and art. (James may also be

and Christian impulses depicted in Hawthorne's

Marble Faun.) The protagonist of "The Author of 'Beltraffio"' describes the difference be-

tween his wife and himself as that between "Christian and

thinking of the opposition between pagan

any

rate, no better than an ancient Greek. It's the difference between making the most of life

and making the least" (James 1963 [1884]: 334).

She thinks me, at

184

Poetics Today 19:2

Will learns to apply his scattered energies and talents to a useful vocation. In Arnold'slife and writings, one finds a similarmovement at work.A play-

ful, aesthetically minded schoolboy (Merry Matt) changed into a brilliant elegiac poet, then into an earnest inspector of schools, and finally (without

giving up the inspectorship) into the most discerning social and literary critic of his generation. In Arnold's development one finds the legacies of Greece and Israel continually enriching his endeavors and encouraging him, in turn, to pass on to his readers the values of that double heritage. In the more than three decades he spent inspecting Dissenter-run schools, Arnold came face to face with the meager curricula and fates af-

forded the majority of English schoolchildren.3 Preparing A Bible-Reading for Schools (1872), Arnold explained to a friend, "Into the education of the

people there comes, with us at any rate, absolutely nothing grand"(1895,

2:99). For Arnold, to be sure, the Bible was to be appreciated as literature,

Poetry," in 1880,

not dogma. ("More and

"mankindwill discover that we have to turn to poetry to interpret life for us, to console us, to sustainus" [1960-77, 9:161].) Of the power of a literary text such as the Book of Isaiah, Arnold marveled, "What an extending of [its readers'] horizons, what a lifting them out of the present, what a sug-

more," he wrote in "The Study of

gestion

of hope and courage!" (1960-77,

7:71-72).

But the English

lacked

more than an appreciation of good literature. They also lacked, Arnold felt, the ability to see where they as a nation were heading, and they were unwilling to profit from the wisdom of other nations. They lacked, in short,

an objective awareness of their Hebraic background (its negative and posi- tive qualities), and they desperately needed a Hellenic perspective.

mistaken criticism made by Arnold's more religious-minded

contemporaries was that (as a reviewer of Arnold's St.PaulandProtestantism

complained) in his "culture,perhaps in his nature, the Hellenic element is too exclusive; the Hebraic has scarcely any place" (cited in Dawson and

A typical,

Pfordresher 1979: 262).

Arnold

admitted

to his mother that he gave more

"prominence" to Hellenism than his father, Dr. Thomas Arnold, would

have conceded

(1895, 1:455). But, he added,

modern

times

and modern

needs demand this new balance. It is useful to look back to Greece, he

argued in his inaugural lecture as professor of poetry at Oxford (1857,pub-

in 1868 as "On the Modern Element in Literature"), if England is

lished

3. As ParkHonan writes, during

and the pride of middle-class

poor would suffer" (Honan

ground in The Originsof Cultureand Anarchy(1970); Peter Smith and Geoffrey Summerfield have assembled a selection of Arnold's writings on education, including his inspection re-

ports (1969).

1981:253). Fred G. Walcott studies

to the state all meant the Arnold's educational back-

his school inspections Arnold "found that religious schism

Dissenters and their animosity

Stone * MatthewArnoldandthe Pragmatics of HebraismandHellenism

185

to achieve "intellectual deliverance" and move forward as a nation. "Such

a deliverance is emphatically, whether we will or no," he says, "the de- mand of the age in which we ourselves live." Without denying the need for "moral deliverance," delivery from pride and selfishness ("in the enjoy- ment of both [moral and intellectual] united consists man's true freedom"

[1960-77, 1:19]), Arnold urges the Oxford students to examine the most enduringly "modern" of literatures, that of ancient Greece. Writers like his father's beloved Thucydides are modern, Arnold claims, because they possess the critical spirit, the ability to "view all the facts" (25) without ex- aggeration or distortion. The critical or Hellenic spirit, Arnold maintains

throughout his work, is the ability to see objects as they really are (140);

where the English are at fault, he argues, is in their inability to rise above a

narrow point of

byThucydides),

dom," in Pericles' words, "forindividual diversitiesof opinion and charac-

ter," for its toleration of "the tastes and habits of our neighbour" (25). Mid-Victorian England, by contrast, seemed a nation singularly indif-

ferent to alternative viewpoints, whether expressed by ancient authors or by foreign thinkers.The "collective life of humanity," Arnold says, is pre-

cious, and relevant to us all: "everywhere there is connexion, everywhere there is illustration: no single event, no single literature, is adequately

comprehended except in its relation to other events, to other literatures" (20-21). To learn, he contends, is to make comparisons, to achieve what a modern philosopher, Hans-Georg Gadamer, calls a "fusion of horizons" between oneself and the world outside the self. The effect of such

is change: self-transformation, as our individual knowledge expands, and

social transformation, as we learn as a collective body to act on our new

ideas. The goal of education, in Arnold's view, is,

how others stand, that we may know how we ourselves stand; and to know how we ourselves stand, that we may correct our mistakes and achieve our deliverance" (21).

view. Invoking Pericles'famous eulogy of Athens (as cited Arnold linksthe flourishing of Greekculturewith its "free-

learning

"to know

accordingly,

the means of nurturing and

for most

men is it," he interjects near the end of the "Modern Element" lecture,

the

movement of human life with the children of the world; to be serious over

the depth, the significance of

tus for Arnold's critical efforts not

only came from his work as inspector

his examination of Continental that in a time of

change, "open-

ness and flexibility of mind [the Athenian qualities praised by Pericles] are

schools. Arnold's job reinforced his sense

of English schools; it was also fueled

Like John Dewey, Arnold saw in education

safeguarding a democratic culture. "So hard, nay,

so

impossible

"to develop themselves in their entireness; to rejoice in the

variety,

human life with the wise!" (36). The impe-

by

186

Poetics Today 19:2

the first of virtues" (1960-77, 2:29), and it also reinforcedhis sense that there could be no intellectual deliverance in an England where the mass

of the population was ignored. In France, Arnold duly noted, nearly six times as many students as in England attended secondary schools (1960- 77, 8:359). As a result, the French had a better sense of "social solidity"

(361) and of the possibilities of life: "Life is so good and agreeable a thing there, and for so many" (362). The apostles of culture, Arnold repeatedly

says, are believers in solidarity and political

high standardsArnold takes for granted. What it doesn't need are fanat-

ics or dogmatists or theorists blocking our ability to see things in their rich variety. In his inspection tours of European schools, Arnold discerned a more intellectually liberating climate- one in which the spirit of Bildung was at work. In "AFrench Eton" (his account of a school run by Jean Bat-

tiste Henri Lacordaire), Arnold cites

it was a joy to him to feel himself modified by the operation of a foreign

equality. That a nation

needs

Wilhelm von Humboldt's view "that

influence"

(1960-77,

2:312). The

essence

of Bildung ("perhaps the greatest

idea of the eighteenth century," Gadamer calls it [1991:9], noting also its genesis in the Greek educational ideal), of the cultivation of the self, is that we enrich ourselves by going out of the self, discovering other cultures, learning to "become at home" in the other, as Gadamer (and, before him, Hegel) puts it (Gadamer 1991:14).Widening our perspectives, we become so familiar with the enormous range of human achievement that we learn (in Nietzsche's phrase, taken in turn from Pindar) to become what we are. But while France and Germany were providing an education for their

citizens that prepared them for the future, instructing them in scientific

as well as literary subjects, England was lagging behind-in

sure, Arnold felt, because of its resistance to state-supported enterprises.

(Arnold's fellow liberal, Mill, opposed the idea of state-run schools in On Liberty.) And England's individualistic habits-its refrain of "Leaveus to

large mea-

ourselves!" (1960-77,

2:21)-was

abetted

by a Protestant

cast of mind that

served to thwart (as Arnold lamented in a note to William Gladstone ac-

companying a copy

more sense

class, Arnold complains in Friendship's Garland, are enemies of Bildung, ene-

mies of enlightenment;

listines. This does not mean, however, that Arnold undervalued the Hebraic

impulse. Ideally,

work of

doubt, something frivolous, vain, and weak," he concedes in "Democracy" (the great essay that originally served to introduce his survey The Popular

of Cultureand Anarchy) a sense of "larger existence and

of public responsibility"(1960-77, 6:417). The English middle

they are modern-day versions of the biblical Phi-

"culture" (the work of Hellenism) and "character" (the

Hebraism) are interdependent. "Culturewithout character is, no

Stone * MatthewArnoldandthe Pragmatics of HebraismandHellenism

187

Education of France [1861]); "but character without culture is, on the other

hand, something raw,blind, and dangerous. The most interesting, the

truly glorious peoples, are those in which the alliance of the two has been

effected most successfully, and its result spread most widely. This is why the spectacle of ancient Athens has such profound interest for a rational man; that it is the spectacle of the culture of a people"(1960-77, 2:24-25). With help from the state (not an authoritarianstate but one that represents our collective "best selves"), Arnold felt the English, "morethan any mod-

ern people, have the power of renewing, in our national life, the example of Greece" (ibid.: 314).4 The road to Greece, however, required a detour through modern France. Like Heine, Arnold felt that Paris was the successor to Athens. It was to Paris that Heine had emigrated because he deemed the French more accessible "to ideas than any other people" (1960-77, 3:112). Thomas Carlyle, in TheFrenchRevolution,had warned of the danger to any people

calling itself the "Athensof Europe"(Carlyle 1989 [1837],1:lo); but Arnold welcomed the legacy of the revolution and praised one of its prophets, Voltaire, for his ability to look "at things straight," with "marvelous logic and lucidity" (1960-77, 8:363). Midcentury France boasted a culture of

criticism: in her journals appeared the work of Heine, Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, Hippolyte-Adolphe Taine, Charles Baudelaire. It was here that Arnold encountered Heine's Hebraism-Hellenism distinction, and it

was from Ernest Renan's Essaiesdemoraleet de critique (1859) that he

found

the literary form in which to promulgate these values: the critical essay. Renan was a critic concerned with the pressing social problems of the day. (A former seminarian, Renan was also the author of perhaps the most influential of revisionary histories of Christianity.) But whereas Renan tended (as Arnold explained to his sister) "to inculcate morality, in a high sense of the word, upon the French nation as what they most want, I tend to inculcate intelligence, also in a high sense of the word, upon the English nation as what they most want" (1895, 1:129).5 Just as the modern

Athens needed

dose of Hellenism added to its customary diet of Hebraism. In truth, Arnold's Essays in Criticism (a collection inspired by Renan's Essaies) inculcates Hebraic as well as Hellenic values (see apRoberts 1983:

most

a dose of Hebraism, so too did modern England require a

133). Arnold's Essays of 1865 (followed by a second series in 1888) con-

with those

of Nietzsche (Stone 1988), noting how both men felt that Hellenic values were in need of

revival.

5. I discuss the influence of Renan

tionswiththeFuture (1997),chapter 2.

4. I have compared Arnold's views on Greece, education, culture, and

religion

(and other French critics) on Arnold in my Communica-

188

Poetics Today 19:2

stitutes a dazzling display of literary prowess put to the service of sage admonitions. "Only by a literary form of this kind being given to them," he confided to his mother, "can ideas such as mine ever gain any access in

His method in the Essays was to pro-

vide a gallery of non-English points of view (the largestgroup coming from France), each offering a valuable idea. "I hate all over-preponderance of single elements," he explained, "and all my efforts are directed to enlarge

a country such as ours" (1895, 1:282).

and complete us by bringing in as much as possible of Greek, Latin, Celtic [as well as German, Dutch, Persian, and Russian] authors" (ibid.: 287). The true aim of criticism, thus, as Arnold avows in the most celebrated of

the Essays, "The Function of Criticism at the "to keep man from a self-satisfaction which

is retarding and vulgarising,

to lead him towards perfection [an unending goal, for Arnold], by making his mind dwell upon what is excellent in itself, and the absolute beauty

and fitness of things"(1960-77, 3:271).

Present Time," is "spiritual":

Among the voices heard in the

1865Essays are conservativeslike Joseph

Joubert and Edmund Burke and Eugenie de Guerin; revolutionaries like Spinoza and Goethe and Heine; the stoic Roman emperor Marcus Aure- lius; and the humble St. Francis. Long before the term "dialogism" became fashionable, Arnold was contending that we must take part in that never- ending dialogue with ideas and their authors that makes up culture. In Heine Arnold found an intellectual and literary model, one bridging "the French spirit" with "German ideas and culture" (ibid.: 120) and thus con- necting past and present with the future. Heine "had in him both the spirit

of Greece and the spirit of Judaea," Arnold writes admiringly (ibid.: 127- 28). In the end, however, Arnold faults Heine for his "want of moral bal-

ance" (ibid.: 132).Still, Heine's campaign in behalf of ideas, his war against

philistinism,

to balance the claims of Greece and Israel. In specific cases, his strategy is

frequently to moderate the extreme position of a particular voice by follow-

ing it with an opposing point of view.6 Hence, Heine is charged with insuffi-

cient Hebraism, while Eugenie de Guerin, who clings to an outworn faith, is implicitly charged with insufficient Hellenism. In the essay on Marcus Aurelius, Arnold makes his most trenchant case against paganism, even at its best, and for Christian-inspired conduct. The Imitation of Christ provides

was also Arnold's fight. Overall, Arnold seeks, in the Essays,

6. Joseph Carroll (1982: 245-46) has compared Heine's tendency

off against

played off

as 'incessant mocking'

"he restricts the use the Hellenic."

to play the Hellenic pole

defects of each pole tend to be

the Hebrew pole in a spirit of mockery ("The

against the other and produce the ironic

tonal reverberation that Arnold rebukes

each side in a creditable light:

") with Arnold's tendency to present

of irony to ridiculing the opponents of

both his Gods, the Hebraic and

Stone * MatthewArnoldandthe Pragmatics of HebraismandHellenism

189

more comfort, he avows, than the Meditationsof Marcus Aurelius. More- over, the early Christians can be seen as the needful "dissolvents"of mori- bund pagan values. "It was inevitable," he audaciously contends, "that Christianity in the Roman world, like democracy in the modern world, like every new spirit with a similar mission assigned to it [in the Heine essay,

Arnold had jus