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Details of Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities

Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities
Exact title of book
Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities
Book author
James Turner
ISBN
9780691145648
Publisher
Princeton University Press
Published
May 04, 2014
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
576
File size (in PDF)
5184 kB

Some brief overview of book

Many today do not recognize the word, but philology was for centuries nearly synonymous with humanistic intellectual life, encompassing not only the study of Greek and Roman literature and the Bible but also all other studies of language and literature, as well as religion, history, culture, art, archaeology, and more. In short, philology was the queen of the human sciences. How did it become little more than an archaic word?

In Philology, the first history of Western humanistic learning as a connected whole ever published in English, James Turner tells the fascinating, forgotten story of how the study of languages and texts led to the modern humanities and the modern university. This compelling narrative traces the development of humanistic learning from its beginning among ancient Greek scholars and rhetoricians, through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment, to the English-speaking world of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Turner shows how evolving researches into the texts, languages, and physical artifacts of the past led, over many centuries, to sophisticated comparative methods and a deep historical awareness of the uniqueness of earlier ages.

But around 1800, he explains, these interlinked philological and antiquarian studies began to fragment into distinct academic fields. These fissures resulted, within a century or so, in the new, independent disciplines that we now call the humanities. Yet the separation of these disciplines only obscured, rather than erased, their common features.

The humanities today face a crisis of relevance, if not of meaning and purpose. Understanding their common originsand what they still sharehas never been more urgent.

About book author

Turner is the Cavanaugh Professor of Humanities Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, where he taught in the History Department and the doctoral program in history and philosophy of science. He is the author of The Liberal Education of Charles Eliot Norton and Religion Enters the Academy, and the coauthor of The Sacred and the Secular University (Princeton). connected whole ever published in English, James Turner tells the fascinating, forgotten story of how the study of languages and texts led to the modern humanities and the modern university. This compelling narrative traces the development of humanistic learning from its beginning among ancient Greek scholars and rhetoricians, through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment, to the English-speaking world of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Turner shows how evolving researches into the texts, languages, and physical artifacts of the past led, over many centuries, to sophisticated comparative methods and a deep historical awareness of the uniqueness of earlier ages. But around 1800, he explains, these interlinked philological and antiquarian studies began to fragment into distinct academic fields. These fissures resulted, within a century or so, in the new, independent disciplines that we now call the humanities.

Yet the separation of these disciplines only obscured, rather than erased, their common features. The humanities today face a crisis of relevance, if not of meaning and purpose. Understanding their common originsand what they still sharehas never been more urgent.

More books by James Turner

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