History of Humanities

Last week, I taught about Anquetil-Duperron, William Jones, the discovery of language similarity and the beginnings of IE Studies. Disciplines such as Iranian Studies or #Indology, as we know them today, would not have been possible without those efforts and contributions. I also made it a point to at least briefly discuss “genesis amnesia” and the critical examination of Oriental Studies offered by @tavak in

  • Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohamad. 2001. Refashioning Iran: Orientalism, occidentalism and historiography. Palgrave Macmillan.

I was glad to discover this morning, the wonderful 2019 themed issue of “History of Humanities“, Vol 4(2), dedicated to “Classics of the Humanities” & edited, it seems, by @rensbod & Kasper Eskildsen. This is the original tweet by Rens Bod:

Our anthology on The Classics of the Humanities has been published, and it’s free!
https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/hoh/current
It includes foundational texts from philology, historiography, art history, literary theory, oriental studies, archaeology, linguistics, digital humanities and more.

https://twitter.com/rensbod/status/1188024358071087104

As @rensbod writes, the volume “includes foundational texts from philology, historiography, art history, literary theory, oriental studies, archaeology, linguistics, digital humanities and more.”

“Some texts have been translated into English for the first time.” For instance, “Karl Lachmann’s introduction to stemmatic philology” which has until now been available only in Latin.

The original texts are here: historyofhumanities.org/resources/

Forgotten origins of modern humanities

From the book’s webpage: ‘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’.

Turner, James. 2014. Philology: The forgotten origins of the modern humanities. Princeton University Press.

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 religion, history, culture, art, archaeology, 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.

For more information, see here.