What Makes A Classic?

Classics

Qualities of Classics

Classic describes moments when the human mind peaks in its grasp of the true, the good, and the beautiful. There is no canonical agreement of what makes a classic a classic. However, there do seem to be certain qualities without which the term classic would seem a compliment misapplied:

  • Excellence
    The excellence of a classic is such that it seems to enjoy an inexhaustibility of meaning. The opposite of a classic is a period piece, fad, momentary, or provincial thing with glitzy celebrity.
  • Universality
    Classics melt borders geographically and temporally. Classics are as at home today as they were yesterday – and maybe even more so today as new developments make their insights even more relevant and more obviously true.
  • Shock
    Classics jostle how we see the world. Classics are subverse of petty and sectarian orthodoxies and ideologies. In a classic, the might be triumphs over the grip of the status quo.
  • Hope
    Hope follows like a corollary to excellence, universality, and shock. Hope has universal appeal and opens previously unexpected horizons. Hope enlarges our sense of possibility and invites participation.
  • Fruitfulness
    Classics are fruitful in two ways: they spawn other classics, and over time, more is found in them than was even suspected by the original authors. Classics are perennials that rise to new life with each new opportunity. Millennia later their insights may be vindicated as they could not have been when first created. In the presence of a classic, standards rise and thus critical thought is encouraged.

Christianity Without God
Christianity Without God: Moving beyond the Dogmas and Retrieving the Epic Moral Narrative

Daniel C. Maguire

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.