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Edited by Harry Lönnroth

This book is about philology and its relevance over time. The compilation foregrounds a multi-faceted field of research that has dealt with the relationship between language, literature and culture for over 2,000 years. The main thread of this volume, comprising ten scholarly essays, is to show that philology as an academic field and a scholarly perspective―understood in its widest sense as the profound understanding of language, literature and culture―does matter in the twenty-first century, that is to say, in our own time characterized by globalization and digitalization. The contributions reflect the many dimensions of philology and its plurality, interdisciplinarity and the humanities. The volume seeks to illustrate various ways of engaging with philology. Here lies the true nature of philology, and this is why it still matters.
Contributors are Massimiliano Bampi, Maja Bäckvall, Jonas Carlquist, Odd Einar Haugen, Helge Jordheim, Karl G. Johansson, Lino Leonardi, Harry Lönnroth, Outi Merisalo, Marita Akhøj Nielsen and Nestori Siponkoski.

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Harry Lönnroth and Nestori Siponkoski

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the multifaceted relationship between philology and translation studies. The aim is twofold: first, to address questions of theoretical relevance, and second, to illustrate the considerable overlap between these fields of research. By philology we mean, in line with Sheldon Pollock’s definition, “the discipline of making sense of texts.” Thus we focus on the relationship between philology, which we understand in its broad cultural-historical sense, and translation studies, which we define as a similarly broad field of research. In this chapter, philology and linguistics are not considered synonymous. Our starting point is that, as recently argued by James Turner, philology represents the forgotten origins of the modern humanities. From this point of view, these fields can be seen to have common roots and thus belong to the same scholarly tradition. However, discussion on the relationship between philology and translation studies has been rather scarce, partly due to the missing dialogue between philologists and translation scholars. This becomes apparent in our literature review. In addition, our discussion is supported by two cases which not only shed light on the importance of philological awareness within translation studies, but also shows the relevance of translation studies for philological work in general. Our conclusions demonstrate that philology does matter, not only when working with historical texts and languages but also with modern ones.