GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: 1994

It is their sensitive response tohuman circumstance that accounts forthe persistence of certain universalideas. Rabbi Meir, a second-centuryscholar, admonished his disciples tolook not at the pitcher but at its contents because, he stated, "Many a new pitcher has been found to be full of old wine." This was his way of emphasizing the importance of the distinction between form and idea.and of stressing that the integrityof an idea is more important thanthe form of its expression.

Creative ideas not only produce their own instruments of survivalas time and circumstances demand,but permit the substitution of newforms for old under the pressure of chanced circumstances. For exampledemocracy, as an idea, originatedin ancient, Greece and was carried from there to Western Europe and the Americas. But it did not retain theancient Greek form: it passed through several reforming processes and exists today in many countries. Democratic governments differ in form because democracy is in principle dynamic and has therefore responded to localneeds.

Question List: 1 2 3 4

The author is primarily concerned with

  • A illustrating the importance of a historical figure
  • B discussing an important characteristic of human ideas
  • C describing the history of the growth of democracy
  • D contrasting ancient and modern views of the importance of creative ideas
  • E evaluating the contribution of ancient Greece to modern government

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