Philology by James Turner

  • Some great phrases from the book:

    • polymath (throughout) and dilettante (103)

    • engineer of erudition (110)

    • autodidact (153)

    • “any single label falsely pins him down” (288)

    • “varied, if mediocre, talents” (313)

  • Definitions of philology:

    • the multifaceted study of texts, languages, and the phenomenon of language itself (ix)

    • history is key, and comparative by nature, inherently genealogical (x)

    • a paradigm of knowledge (xi)

    • for the Greeks: linguistic speculations, rhetoric, textual philology, and grammar (4)

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  • Key insights:

    • this book is about how we organize and compartmentalize knowledge, which has great implications for how it is used and increased (xv)

    • discussion of the development of the Bible (20-22)

    • “few species show more inertia than the bookworm” (24)

    • “The Christian religion does not rest of proof but on persuasion, which is superior to proof” -Lorenzo Valla (1407-57) (35)





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    • place of philosophy relative to humanities (epilogue)

  • General outline:

    • Prologue: gives

    • Chapter 1: one of the more interesting chapters, since it covers antiquity to 1800

    • Chapter 2: renaissance

  • Words from this book:

    • erudition (lots, starting on 1)

    • collate: to compare manuscripts (10)

    • emendation: revision/correction to a text (12)

    • coterie: small group of people with shared interests (33)

    • suzerainty: arrangement where larger power controls foreign policy of a tributary state, which is allowed to rule itself internally (39)

    • extant: still in existence (39)

    • amity: friendly relationship (41)

    • polemical: critical, hostile (45)