What is Philology ?

Philology is the study of ancient texts and languages. The term originally meant a love (Greek philo-) of learning and literature (Greek -logia). It emerged in the academic world of Alexandria over two thousand years ago, but went into a long coma with the decline of the Greco-Roman world It was revived in the late l8th century, by F.A. Wolf who saw it as a discipline unifying the many new methods of investigation which were emerging, curiously as a literary parallel to the pioneering work of scientists concerned with electricity, biology, and mechanics. Precision of word and thought were considered essential in the world of the new sciences, and the classical investigators took up their work with parallel seriousness and similar standards of accuracy.

In such an ambiance the New Philology developed myriad branches, with new sub-fields in the Classics, in Art and Architecture, Archaeology, Papyrology, professional reading of MSS and inscriptions, with new approaches to scientific history, ancient economics and of course that mainstay of the Classical tradition, the Greek and Latin Languages.


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