Defenders of the text: the traditions of scholarship in an age of science, 1450-1800

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1991 - History - 330 pages
0 Reviews
Anthony Grafton is erudite and elegant in the style of the best historical writers who make the past come alive for the reader. In a full-scale presentation of the world of scholarship, from the Renaissance to the modern period, Grafton sets before us in three-dimensional detail such seminal figures as Poliziano, Scaliger, Kepler, and Wolf. He calls attention to continuities, moments of crisis, and changes in direction.

The central issue in "Defenders of the Text" is the relation between humanism and science from the mid-fifteenth century to the beginning of the modern period. Treatments of Renaissance humanism in English have emphasized the humanists' commitment to rhetoric, ethics, and politics and have accused the humanists of concentrating on literary matters in preference to investigating the real world via new developments in science, philosophy, and other technical disciplines. This revisionist book demonstrates that humanism was neither a simple nor an impractical enterprise, but worked hand-in-hand with science in developing modern learning.

Anthony Grafton makes clear that humanism remained an integral and vital part of European culture until the eighteenth century, maintaining a technical component of its own--classical philology--which developed in as rich, varied, and unexpected a way as any other field of European thought. Attention to the text led the humanists to develop a whole range of cools and methods that lent power to science and learning for centuries to come. Grafton shows the continued capacity of classical texts to provoke innovative work in both philology and philosophy, and traces a number of close and important connections between humanism andnatural science. His book will be important to intellectual historians, students of the classics and the classical tradition, and historians of early modern science.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Related books

Contents

The Humanists Reassessed
1
Renaissance Readers and Ancient Texts
23
The Scholarship of Poliziano and Its Context
47
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1991)

Anthony Grafton is Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University.

Bibliographic information