Description and Reconstruction: An Alternative Categorization of Philological Approaches

in Philology Matters!
Get Access to Full Text

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Have Institutional Access?

Login with your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Since the early 1990s, philological approaches have been described as either traditional philology on the one hand or New or Material Philology on the other. This chapter discusses the relevance of that division for current philological studies. As philology has moved toward a wider range of approaches, the existing dichotomy has lost its precision, especially in describing studies that fall under New or Material Philology. A philologist who compares several manuscripts may not do so with the aim of establishing an archetype, but may at the same time not want or be able to study all the manuscripts in their entirety. Such a philological study is not adequately described as being either traditional or New or Material Philology, but it is not an uncommon kind of study. In this chapter an alternative categorization is proposed: reconstructive and descriptive philology respectively. Both categories can have further subdivisions into a focus on production or reception. The proposed categories aim to refine the definitions of philological studies, and are an attempt to demonstrate that the main difference in philological approaches lies in what they aim to achieve.

Table of Contents
Index Card


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 94 40 3
Full Text Views 82 73 0
PDF Downloads 15 12 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0
Related Content