We used to think that the most desirable quality in a pre-modern work was its modernity. So a work that was modern for its time period, or ahead of its time, or one that spoke to our own current concerns, was inherently valuable. This, too, is a form a strip-mining. Nothing that is not "modern" from the past can speak to us, so we must pick and choose the tiny bit that is salvageable.
I was guilty of this kind of thinking myself. I picked it up naturally from my professors and others who thought in this way.