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The Practice of Philology in the Nineteenth-Century Netherlands

The Practice of Philology in the Nineteenth-Century Netherlands

Ton van Kalmthout
Huib Zuidervaart
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    The Practice of Philology in the Nineteenth-Century Netherlands
    Book Description:

    Dutch scholarship has played an important role in philology since the early days of Leiden University. This volume illuminates how philology and its focus on the critical examination of classical texts-a tradition that had previously exerted considerable influence across fields as diverse as theology, astronomy, law, and politics-began an accelerated process of specialization in the 1800s. As former subareas like linguistics and history branched off into independent fields with their own methodologies, philology found its authority narrowing in scope within newly defined boundaries. Providing a fresh perspective on the evolution of Dutch philology as a discipline in the humanities, this is a fascinating look at a historically vital field of thought.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-2203-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 7-16)
    Ton van Kalmthout and Huib Zuidervaart

    The Netherlands can boast of a long and important tradition in scholarly philology. In the early days of Leiden University (1575) for instance, ‘philology’ or the critical examination of classical texts was regarded as a ‘cutting-edge science’. This field of scholarship had far-reaching implications on disciplines such as theology, chronology, astronomy, history, law, and other ‘demarcated bodies of knowledge identified as a separate science’.¹ Scholars like Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540-1609) attracted students from all over Europe. But over the years, philology – both taken as written heritage and as the technique of preserving, restoring, and interpreting it – changed dramatically in content...

  4. 2. The Importance of the History of Philology, or the Unprecedented Impact of the Study of Texts
    (pp. 17-36)
    Rens Bod

    For a specialized book on the history of philology it is appropriate and ironic at the same time to ask why we need books on the history of philology. The usual and satisfactory answer to this kind of question is that the historiography of a scholarly discipline has an intrinsic value and should therefore be studied in its own right. Yet the history of philology has an exceptional – if not to say unique – position in the history of learning. There has hardly been any discipline with a greater cultural and societal impact than philology. This may sound paradoxical as today...

  5. 3. ‘Dutch Language and Literature’ (and other ‘national philologies’) as an example of discipline formation in the humanities
    (pp. 37-52)
    Gert-Jan Johannes

    What was the starting point of Dutch Language and Literature as a scholarly discipline? For years now, historiographers of the discipline have opted for one or several of the following possibilities.

    Some situate the beginnings around the middle of the eighteenth century. Point of departure is obviously the eighteenth century ‘discourse of decline’. Since the glorious seventeenth century, the ‘Golden Age’, the Netherlands had been in decline. In popular opinion, this decline primarily concerned moral standards. Moral corruption and ‘Frenchification’ had weakened the ancient Dutch virtues. Restoration could be achieved by fortifying national culture. Central importance was attributed to the...

  6. 4. Between academic discipline and societal relevance Professionalizing foreign language education in the Netherlands, 1881-1921
    (pp. 53-78)
    Marie-Christine Kok Escalle

    Even though there is a long tradition of foreign language education in the Netherlands that started in the sixteenth century, the teaching of modern languages, including French (which for a long time had been the educational language of the Dutch upper classes) took a long time to become institutionalized. It was first included in the university curriculum (the law of 1876¹) for the purpose of training teachers when modern language teaching became compulsory in secondary school (the law of 1863²), which was specifically created to educate middle and upper classes, those who supported the country’s economy. We will first look...

  7. 5. Fruin’s Aristocracy Historiographical Practices in the Late Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 79-102)
    Jo Tollebeek

    For the thirty-seven year-old Robert Fruin, the appointment as professor of national history at the University of Leiden in 1860 – following the division of the chair in Dutch language and national history that had been held by Matthias de Vries – represented a pivotal moment in his life.¹ Before his professorship, his attention had primarily been claimed by politics. In 1847, his friend, the philosopher Cornelis Opzoomer, had enjoined him to maintain his ‘hatred’ for ‘arid, head-in-the-clouds armchair scholars’; and as a convinced liberal, Fruin had indeed engaged in the party political struggle in the years that followed. But now, professor...

  8. 6. Biblical Philology and Theology
    (pp. 103-114)
    Johannes Magliano-Tromp

    For two thousand years or more, biblical literature has been studied from two perspectives: that of theology and that of philology (in particular textual criticism and linguistics). For most of that time, philology served as a handmaid for the ‘queen of sciences’, theology, clarifying how the Bible demonstrated the truthfulness and reliability of the Church’s teachings. In the Reformation period, this vocation acquired a special acuteness, when differences within the Western European Church occasioned one party (the Protestants) to give overriding authority to the Bible, as opposed to the dogmatic tradition of the Church. Protestant theologians were confident that their...

  9. 7. Linguistics as a profession: Diverging opinions in the nineteenth century
    (pp. 115-146)
    Jan Noordegraaf

    The date is 1872 AD. We read verses 2-15 in the first part of the prologue to the recently publishedOera Linda Bôk:

    Thissa boka mot i mid lif änd sele wârja. Se umbifattath thiu skêdnisse fon us ele folk ak fon usa ethlum. Urleden jer häb ik tham ut er flod hred tolik mid thi änd thinra moder. Tha hja weron wet werden. Ther thruch gungon hja äfternei urdärva. Umbe hja naut to urlisa häb ik ra up urlandisk pampier uurskreven. Sahwersa thu se erve, mot du se ak urskriva. Thin bärn als – til thiu hja nimmerthe wei naut...

  10. 8. ‘Remember Dousa!’ Literary historicism and scholarly traditions in Dutch philology before 1860
    (pp. 147-178)
    Jan Rock

    Hendrik van Wijn was one of the very few people in his time who studied Dutch history and literature by profession. When he became the national archivist in 1802, he was the first ever to be appointed to this office, as it was first introduced in the Batavian Republic, the state that succeeded the renowned Dutch Republic after a revolution in 1795. Van Wijn had been engaged in literary societies before, as well as in state affairs. The revolutionary decades had aroused his scholarly interest in the Dutch literary past from the Middle Ages onwards, which found expression in his...

  11. 9. Beam of a many-coloured spectrum Comparative literature in the second half of the nineteenth century
    (pp. 179-208)
    Ton van Kalmthout

    In the early twentieth century, Professor of Romance Studies Anton Gerard van Hamel wrote:

    Any serious study of literature, no matter how much it wishes to limit itself by its choice of subject – a people, a person, a genre, an art form – is driven towards comparative literary history. Besides the one with which it is concerned and on which it seeks to focus all its attention, there are the many others that appear in the practitioner’s field of vision. No pure, clear light can shine on the chosen subject that is not derived from the beam of a many-coloured spectrum.¹...

  12. 10. Trifles for ‘Unflemings’ Teaching Dutch literary history in nineteenth-century Wallonia
    (pp. 209-230)
    Kris Steyaert

    In the course of the nineteenth century, the teaching of Dutch literature at university level was subjected to a number of radical changes in Wallonia, the southern, French-speaking half of modern-day Belgium. Initially, Dutch literary courses were conceived as an essential component within the language acquisition process. In his report on the Belgian education system for the period 1830-1842, Minister of the Interior Jean Baptiste Nothomb stated on 1 March 1843: ‘In classical and modern language courses, great care should be taken to exercise the memory of young students and to have them learn by heart a selection of passages...

  13. 11. The Relations of Jacob Grimm with the ‘Koninklijk-Nederlandsch Instituut van Wetenschappen, Letterkunde en Schoone Kunsten’ Old and new documents for the history of the humanities
    (pp. 231-252)
    Rita M. Schlusemann

    In the history of the humanities, the relationship between German and Dutch philology has not always been easy, especially during the period following the Second World War. This difficult relationship is also, in an anachronistic way, projected onto the relationship of these philologies during the nineteenth century. As a consequence of this view, the relationship between Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and their Dutch and Belgian colleagues – as well as between Dutch and German philology in the first decades of the nineteenth century – has hardly been investigated. Some researchers argue – even if they acknowledge the importance of Jacob Grimm for Dutch...

  14. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 253-254)
    Ton van Kalmthout and Huib Zuidervaart
  15. Index
    (pp. 255-258)