study of language in written historical sources
Philology is the study of ancient texts and languages.
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- Philologists, who chase
A panting syllable through time and space,
Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark,
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark.
- William Cowper, Retirement (1782)
- Philology always leads to crime.
- Eugène Ionesco, The Lesson (1951)
- Among us, the so-called "higher criticism," which reigns supreme in the domain of philology has also taken possession of our historical literature. This higher criticism has been the pretext for introducing all the anti-historical monstrosities that a vain imagination could suggest. Here we have the other method of making the past a living reality; putting subjective fancies in the place of historical data; fancies whose merit is measured by their boldness, that is, the scantiness of the particulars on which they are based, and the peremptoriness with which they contravene the best established facts of history.
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of History Vol 1 p. 7-8
- To live classically and to realize antiquity practically within oneself is the summit and goal of philology.
- Friedrich Schlegel, Philosophical Fragments, P. Firchow, trans. (1991) § 147
- Now the philosophy of life, in its highest range at least, is a divine science of experience. This experience, however, is throughout internal and spiritual. It is therefore easily conceivable that it can enter readily and easily into all other experimental sciences, and into those especially which more immediately relate to man, as, for instance, most of the branches of natural history, and still more into philology, with which at present we are most immediately concerned. And this it does, in order to borrow such illustrations and comparisons as may tend to elucidate or further to develop its own subject-matter, or else to furnish applications to individual cases in other departments of life. However, in thus proceeding, philosophy must take heed lest it overpass its own proper limits or forget its true end and aim. It must not go too deeply into particulars, or lose itself among the specialities of the other sciences. On the contrary, it ought carefully to confine itself to those points which more immediately concern man, and especially the inner man, and, adhering to the meaning and spirit of the whole, seek to elucidate and throw out this pre-eminently.
- Friedrich Schlegel, The philosophy of life, and philosophy of language, in a course of lectures
- BALD heads forgetful of their sins,
Old, learned, respectable bald heads
Edit and annotate the lines
That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love's despair
To flatter beauty's ignorant ear.
All shuffle there; all cough in ink;
All wear the carpet with their shoes;
All think what other people think;
All know the man their neighbour knows.
Lord, what would they say
Did their Catullus walk that way?
- William Butler Yeats, The Scholars