burden the Judaic contribution to the common stock

Discussion in 'English Only' started by kcip, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. kcip Member

    << This thread contains the second question from an original thread that addressed two distinct topics. >>


    I have difficulty in understanding the following paragraphs, especially the bold parts:

    << Text relevant to first question removed by moderator (panjandrum). >>

    What we are usually pleased to call religion nowadays is, for the most part, Hellenised Judaism; and, not unfrequently, the Hellenic element carries with it a mighty remnant of old-world paganism and a great infusion of the worst and weakest products of Greek scientific speculation; while fragments of Persian and Babylonian, or rather Accadian, mythology burden the Judaic contribution to the common stock."​

    (Quoted from The Interpreters of Genesis and the Interpreters of Nature (1885), by Thomas Henry Huxley; for the full text, click here.)

    And I can't understand 'burden the contribution to the common stock' at all. Would you please explain these bold parts for me? =)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2015
  2. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    English - Scotland
    He is saying that this religion has Greek and Judaic influences as its two main components. The Jewish (=Judaic) part (=contribution to the common stock) is in turn heavily influenced (=burdened) by the Persian/Babylonian/Accadian mythology.
  3. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I'd add that ''burdened'' has negative connotations.

    The author bemoans the "great infusion of the worst and weakest products of Greek scientific speculation" in Hellenized Judaism - this is accentuated in the Persian/Babylonian/Akkadian "mythology" that contributed to Jewish thought for it had none of the rationalist bent of the ancient Greeks.
  4. kcip Member

    Many thanks to both of you! And I still wonder what's the exact meaning of 'stock' here, as I can't pick out the proper definition of this word from the dictionaries...
  5. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I believe he means (Western) civilization.
  6. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    I think Pedro y La Torre may be right; I would then understand the underlying meaning of "stock" to be "the trunk of a tree", used figuratively to refer to the human race.

    However, my first guess would be that "stock" means "supply", as in this definition from Webster's 1828 Online Dictionary:
    It's a "pile" of abstract things that we, as individuals or cultures, contribute to and which in a sense belongs to us all.

    ("Common" would mean something like "shared" or "public".)
  7. kcip Member

    Thank you! Your suggestions are of great help to me. Have a nice day!=)

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