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Title: The 'ars critica' in early modern England
Author: Hardy, Nicholas John Sivewright
ISNI:       0000 0004 0007 6339
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis surveys and interprets the discipline of humanist philology in England in the seventeenth century, with a focus on the period before the Restoration. Its main sources are editions of and commentaries on ancient texts by British humanists (who in some cases were Irish or Scottish, but published in England); historical and philological treatises; correspondence; and manuscript drafts and notes. It extends recent studies on late Renaissance humanist textual criticism and exegesis into the relatively untrodden territory of the British Isles, but it also revises some of the guiding presuppositions of those studies. Firstly, it shifts scholarly focus from the practices of humanist critics to their overarching sense of method. This produces an emphasis on the substantial intellectual differences that divided humanists from each other: over the use of manuscripts and conjectural emendation, for instance. It also complicates the relationship between humanists and theologians, by showing that many, but not all, humanists were more invested in theological modes of reading than has previously been thought; and that theologians produced major works of philological scholarship. Secondly, it interrogates and heavily qualifies the notion that humanist criticism was a historical discipline. It does so by showing that the goals of humanists remained literary-critical as well as historical, well into the seventeenth century, and that they understood their discipline as operating within a broadly Aristotelian philosophical system that did not always lend itself to an understanding of historical particularity or context. Furthermore, their model of sacred history relied on an enduring and robust typological framework that did not disappear with the onset of humanism. Finally, it demonstrates closer affinities between British and continental philology than have been recognized in the past, by showing that humanism across Europe was turning to biblical criticism and patristic scholarship, not only in England. The intellectual and ideological pressure this turn induced, however, along with the rise of new disciplines that owed little to philological research, caused criticism to recede from its central place in English culture during the middle of the century.
Supervisor: Lewis, Rhodri Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Language and Literature ; Intellectual History ; Modern theology ; Latin ; Early modern English literature (1550-1780) ; History of the book ; Church history ; Reception of Classical antiquity