Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities: 88 (The William G. Bowen Series, 70)

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9780691168586: Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities: 88 (The William G. Bowen Series, 70)
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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 history, culture, art, 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. The humanities today face a crisis of relevance, if not of meaning and purpose. Understanding their common origins--and what they still share--has never been more urgent.

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Review:

"Finally, we have a careful study of the historical foundations in philology of most of the modern humanistic disciplines. Turner shows in detail how these disciplines--including art history, linguistics, religious studies, anthropology, classics, and literary scholarship--developed out of philology in a dynamic similar to that by which the physical sciences emerged out of natural philosophy and the social sciences out of moral philosophy."--David A. Hollinger, University of California, Berkeley

"This very important and necessary book displays the qualities that have long marked James Turner's scholarship--deftness, wit, and clarity. This is a work whose humanity matches that of its subject."--Michael O'Brien, University of Cambridge

"This fascinating book makes a powerful argument: that the modern humanities derived in large part from the broad tradition of philology. This genealogy, Turner shows, clarifies the origins of both the modern research university and its disciplines, and explains similarities between such apparently diverse fields as history and comparative religion. He offers a compelling account of the role that biblical studies played in the intellectual history of modern Britain and America, and he makes sense of the development of modern literary studies in a way that no historian has managed to before. This is a gripping intellectual detective story."--Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

"Turner's exceptionally wide-ranging study shows in detail how Western culture has become, and has remained, distinctively philological."--Tom Shippey

"Winner of the 2015 Christian Gauss Award, Phi Beta Kappa Society"

"Honorable Mention for the 2015 PROSE Award in Language & Linguistics, Association of American Publishers"

"Shortlisted for the 2015 Christian Gauss Award, Phi Beta Kappa Society"

"One of The Times Literary Supplement's Books of the year 2014, chosen by Thom Shippey"

"Selected for the Claremont Review of Books CRB Christmas Reading List 2015"

"[A] book written with passion and verve by an author who cares deeply about his subject."---Peter N. Miller, Times Literary Supplement

About the Author:

James 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.

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