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Textual and cognitive philology

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  1. Philology
  1. Read the text and find the answers to the following questions:

· How did textual criticism appear?

· What do critical editions include?

· What does the method of higher criticism deal with?

· Why do some scholars avoid all critical methods of textual philology?

· What does cognitive philology study?


Philology also includes the close study of texts and their history. It includes elements of textual criticism, trying to reconstruct an author's original text based on variant manuscript copies. This branch of research arose in Biblical studies and has a long tradition, dating back to the Reformation. Scholars have tried to reconstruct the original readings of the Bible from the manuscript variants that have come down to us. This method was then applied to Classical Studies and to medieval texts for the reconstruction of the author's original. This method produced so-called critical editions which provided a reconstructed text accompanied by a critical apparatus, i.e. footnotes listing the various manuscript variants available, thus enabling scholars to gain insight into the entire manuscript tradition and argue about variants.

A related study method, known as higher criticism, which studies the authorship, date, and provenance of texts, places a text in a historical context. These philological issues are often inseparable from issues of interpretation, and thus there is no clear-cut boundary between philology and hermeneutics. As such, when the content of the text has a significant political or religious influence (such as the reconstruction of Biblical texts), it is difficult to find neutral or honest conclusions.

As a result, some scholars avoid all critical methods of textual philology. Especially in historical linguistics it is important to study the actually recorded materials. The movement known as New Philology has rejected textual criticism because it injects editorial interpretations into the text and destroys the integrity of the individual manuscript readings, hence damaging the reliability of the data. Supporters of New Philology insist on a strict diplomatic, that is, faithful rendering of the text exactly as it is found in the manuscript, without emendations.

Another branch of philology is cognitive philology, the science that studies written and oral texts, considering them as results of human mental processes. This science, therefore, compares the results of textual science with those results of experimental research of both psychological field and artificial intelligence production systems. This discipline precisely, deals with transmission modalities of written and texts, and processes through which different knowledge is classified, availing itself, firstly, of the information theory studies the narrative subject, especially regarding its selecting nature examines the developing function of rhythm and metre and the pertinence of the semantic association during processing the cognitive maps finally, it provides the scientific ground for the realization of critical multimedial editions.



footnote – подстрочное примечание, сноска

insight – понимание, проникновение в суть

provenance – происхождение, источник

hence – поэтому, следовательно

emendations – исправление, изменение


  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Make up a plan of the text.
  3. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: textual, hermeneutics, reliability, rhythm.
  4. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

· In historical linguistics it’s important to study Biblical texts.

· According to New Philology, textual criticism helps to make research more objective.

· Cognitive philology combines textual methodology with experimental research.



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