George MacDonald on knowledge

by Eric Daryl Meyer

Dialogue between the anonymous protagonist and his otherworldly guide concerning his encounter with a race of children:

“I fear what you say is true, Mr. Raven! But indeed I was afraid that more knowledge might prove an injury to them—render them less innocent, less lovely.”

“They had given you no reason to harbour such a fear!”

“Is not a little knowledge a dangerous thing?”

“That is one of the pet falsehoods of your world! is man’s greatest knowledge more than a little? or is it therefore dangerous? the fancy that knowledge is in itself a great thing, would make any degree of knowledge more dangerous that any amount of ignorance. To know all things would not be greatness.”

Apart from his overuse of exclamation points, and rather stilted language, I am thoroughly enjoying MacDonald. His imagination is unparalleled—and it is wonderful to see the spark that fanned so many of my other favorite fires. I have to thank my friend Grace for encouraging me to read this.

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George MacDonald, Lilith (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 142.
(originally published 1895)

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