The Marriage of Philology and Scepticism: Uncertainty and Conjecture in Early Modern Scholarship and Thought

The Warburg Institute, 22 June 2012

Organised by Gian Mario Cao, Anthony Grafton and Jill Kraye


David Butterfield, Queens’ College, Cambridge
Gian Mario Cao, The Warburg Institute
Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
Jill Kraye, The Warburg Institute
Ian Maclean, All Souls College, Oxford
Scott Mandelbrote, Peterhouse, Cambridge
Jan Ziolkowski, Harvard University and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

Philology is nowadays recognized as the foundation stone of modern scholarship: by holding on to documents and sticking to evidence, it is supposed to rescue historical knowledge from scepticism. This assumption can, however, be challenged by moving away from the conventional antagonism – philology vs scepticism – in order to identify the sceptical elements within philology itself. Instead of asking ‘how effective an antidote to scepticism is philology?', the more relevant question is: ‘how can philology cope with its own inner scepticism?’ By attempting to answer this question, the workshop will help us to see textual criticism as a fresh source for understanding sceptical trends of thought.


£25 (£12.50 for concessions: full-time students, pensioners, unemployed) including coffee/tea, and a sandwich lunch. Please email Warburg(at) to register.