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reconstruction and investigation, describing his task as "to separate and discriminate, refraining from an absolute and final verdict."33 He did so admirably, investigating a wide range of religious topics and exploring the evolution Christianity from a medieval to a modern religion.

Concluding The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Burckhardt summarized his analysis of Renaissance beliefs:

Echoes of medieval mysticism . . . flow into one current with Platonic doctrines, and with a characteristic spirit. One of the most precious fruits of the knowledge of the world and of man here comes to maturity, on whose account alone the Italian Renaissance must be called the leader of modern ages.34

Burckhardt's view of the Renaissance as a process of resolution, working the conflicting themes of pagan antiquity and the Christian Middle Ages into a coherent whole, illustrated the general theme of his work. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy presented a revolutionary view of history by examining a broad culture without incorporating much political chronology. However, it did not confront Burckhardt's own intellectual processes. He intended it as "an essay in the strictest sense," offering an analysis of the cultural aspects of a given time period and refraining from explicit commentary or speculation.35

In The Greeks and Greek Civilization, Burckhardt clarified his view of a "propaedeutic" study of history. Instead of simply presenting a view of Greek history in the manner of The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Burckhardt engaged in the construction of a plan to present the culture of classical Greece to the public. Furthermore, he argued that his course in Greek culture could, in part, enable individuals to recreate the personal connection with the past that Hegel's history of philosophy precluded.

Burckhardt viewed the study of classical antiquity as an academic discipline concerned with the very foundations of European heritage. He explained the unique position of antiquity:

Antiquity . . . should have a special importance for us: it gives rise to our concept of State; it is the birthplace of our religions and of the most permanent elements of our culture. In art and the writings of antiquity there is much that we aspire to but cannot equal. In our kinship with classical antiquity, as in our differences from it, we must endlessly be taking stock in it.36

Ironically, the writings and art of antiquity presented a dilemma to a great many individuals who, not


33. Ibid.
34. Ibid., 516.
35. Ibid, 1.
36.
Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History, trans. Harry Zohn (Boston: Beacon Hill, 1958), 3.
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