On the Death of Philology

José Antonio Millán Alba


A discipline minted in the 19th century, philology, emerges as a fundamental historicist approach, identifying the significance of a work with its original conditions of production, a discourse from science (history) about language and literature. Contemporary hermeneutics assumes a break with historical-philological reason, as well as an affirmation of the new meanings added to a text by passing from one cultural context to another new one. For philology, the only pedagogical criterion in explaining texts is the restitution of deliberate and original authorial intent. Hermeneutics and literary theory assert that there is no logical association necessary between the meaning of the work, and authorial intent. Since the death of the author" of semiotic formalism, postmodernity has denied the text itself, instead asserting that it has as many meanings as it has readers.

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