Facebook -Εθνικός Κήρυξ/The National Herald
December 7, 2015
Rassias’ study about our language
What a great truth is revealed by Euripides’ words in Iphigenia in Aulis, where he writes: “Until one dies, neither is his value acknowledged nor are his real friends known.”
The first part is certainly true in the case of the late Greek-American professor John A. Rassias, who passed away at the age of 90, in Vermont, as TNH announced in its weekend edition.
Paying an unusually generous tribute, the Wall Street Journal dedicated its editorial yesterday to the Greek-American professor with a simple, but bold headline: “John A. Rassias.”
“Much of the American academy,” it says, “is beset by political rot, but here and there are reminders of what once made U.S. higher education the envy of the world. One example was John A. Rassias, the Dartmouth College professor who died at age 90 after revolutionizing the teaching of foreign languages.”
After adding also that President Jimmy Carter appointed him to a committee that explored how to improve foreign language education in the USA, it concludes:
“John A. Rassias demonstrated that the Universities can be places where the students could be inspired and broaden their horizons.”
The NY Times in its obituary for John A. Rassias reports that “his parents were Greek immigrants and he grew up speaking Greek.”
John A. Rassias thus made his mark. Unfortunately, we failed to recognize his value while he was alive. Something which, sadly, I’m afraid we do frequently.
As we have written several times, one of the most important contributions made by former Archbishop Spyridon was his interest in the Greek language.
In his letter of June 23, 1999 to Patriarch Bartholomew he mentioned that he was sending him a report, “the conclusions of the 30-member Committee headed by Rassias and appointed by the Archdiocese to examine the issue of the preservation of the Greek language and Greek culture in the United States.
This report, being the product of intense and very systematic work, was formally presented in a special press conference Archdiocesan headquarters, and it was met with favorable comments by the local Greek-American press, as well as by the Greek press.
In view, however, of the public acknowledgement of the genius of John A. Rassias on the hot issue of language, we ought to be obligated to go back and study it – since it has been published it means that it exists somewhere - and look again at its suggestions.
Such a significant research product from scientists of this caliber must not go to waste.
Αρχιεπισκόπου Σπυρίδωνος Γράμμα περί της Επιτροπής Ρασσιά
Αρχιεπισκόπου Αμερικής Σπυρίδωνος γράμμα προς το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο περί του πορίσματος της Επιτροπής Ρασσιά
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