Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More on the Concept of Philology

'An unrestricted concept of philology had to be established in order to get rid of all arbitrary distinctions and to discover its actual reality. But the more unrestricted the concept, the more necessary becomes limitation in developing it. It can accordingly be given an arbitrary limitation for the area in which any scholar works it out. The concept is absolute, the area relative. One can then set up limitations by disciplines, e.g., philology of language, of literature. One can also restrict the scope by time or space, as when one considers a specific period or some particular people. Thus we can have ancient and modern, oriental and occidental, Greek, Roman, Indian, Hebrew, and other philologies. Such division is quite in keeping with the nature of philology. Reichardt says justly with reference to ancient times: "Knowledge of antiquity is not the history of literature, of art, nor of religion--such histories exist without philology--but a history of the life of a people, which consists in the intermingling and cooperation of all these." Every special branch of knowledge historically presented proceeds in one line of development; philology collects all these into noe bundle, and from a focal point, the mind of a people, spreads them out as radii of a circle.'

--August Boeck, from On Interpretation and Criticism (tr. John Paul Pritchard)


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