Tuesday, October 19, 2021

949: The Female Scientists.....

 Today an easy and historical lecture, in which I'll show you the role of women in philology and how this alfa-science became a methodological example for natural sciences.

The principal practice of philology was not in developing new text reconstruction methods or improved chronologies, but in making available and editing the classical works. 


Meticulous editions of Latin authors were produced in the Dutch Republic. The whole family of Gerardus Vossius was active in philology. One of the most talented of Vossius children was Cornelia (1613-1638). 


Cornelia was also one of the first female philologists in the Republic, but she was preceded by Italian colleagues such as Isotta Nogarola (1418-1466), Alessandra Scala (1475-1506) and Cassandra Fedele (1470-1558). 


However, these fifteenth- and sixteenth-century female philologists were not recognized as the equals of their male colleagues. 


This changed in the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As difficult as it was for a woman to become a celebrated philologist, 


some were nevertheless given the status of a celebrity as if they were representing the classical author in person. 


This happened to Anne Le Fevre Dacier (1647-1720), better known as Madame Dacier, who achieved cult status in France 


thanks to her inspired translations and editions of Homer, Aristophanes, Plautus and, above all, of the erotic poems of Sappho. 


As a child, Anne was not taught the classics, but by secretly listening along with her brothers, she quickly mastered Latin and Greek. 


And when she showed her father how much she had learned, she immediately received the same education as her brothers. 


With her editions she took part in the philological controversies of her time. She became a living landmark, attracting visitors from far beyond France. 


Madame Dacier was not the only woman to achieve great fame. The Dutch scholar Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678) was also trained in philology and in 1636 she became the first student at the Dutch university in Utrecht. 


In November/December 2008 I devoted three lectures to her in my project "25+ Women Philosophers". 


She had to sit behind a curtain in the lecture hall so that her male fellow students were not distracted by her. 


Anna Maria was called the 'Star of Utrecht', and with good reason: less than four years later, in 1640, she mastered fourteen languages ​​and edited editions in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Arabic, Persian, Ethiopian, German and Dutch.


Until the twentieth century, women didn't stand a chance in academic careers, with Italy being the only exception. 


Since the Middle Ages, women could enroll at the University of Salerno, where the 11th-century Trota of Salerno had translated Greek medical texts. 


The first female professor is credited to the University of Bologna. Here the philologist Clotilde Tambroni (1758-1817) was appointed professor of Greek linguistics in 1793. 


From the nineteenth century onwards, we do not find the most innovative work in philology in translations. or editions, 


but in empirical philology, especially that of Karl Lachmann (1793-1851), his stemmatic philology, in which surviving texts were placed in a family tree, a "stemma", 


on the basis of differences and similarities between them, in such a way that the original text could be derived from the family tree, 


became the model for comparative linguistics, evolutionary biology and even much later genetics. The impact of philology, which extended to twentieth-century DNA analysis based on the stemmatic method, is now almost forgotten.


However, the interaction between philology and genetics is one of the most fascinating cross-fertilizations between the alpha and beta sciences.


Thank you for your attention again.....


MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rens Bod: "Een Wereld vol Patronen".  2019


The Discussion


[13:14] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:14] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:15] herman Bergson: Nothing controversial or questionable today :-)

[13:15] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): in Afghanistan woman have to stand behind curtains these days too

[13:15] herman Bergson: Just the amazing observation that philology  developed THE scientific way of thinking

[13:15] oola Neruda: can you define the word, philology

[13:15] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and here in the Netherlands woman don't get paid for their work as much as man

[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so still a lot of work to do

[13:16] herman Bergson: Philology is the science of reconstruction old texts

[13:16] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje, sadly enough

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:16] oola Neruda: thank you

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i have read that the Bible is rewritten here in Dutch too and they changed a hole lot of things

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:18] herman Bergson: From the Renaissance on philologists have been active in reconstructing the old Greek and Roman texts of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca Ovidius, Cicero, Ceasar. Livius, Tacitus :-))))

[13:18] herman Bergson: A new translation presented this week indeed...12.000 changes :-)

[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can it be that they reconstruct those books with their own fantasy?

[13:19] herman Bergson: And the most important one was that he (i.e. god) is written again with a capital...He ^_^

[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): or She???

[13:19] herman Bergson: No Beertje....that was real research....

[13:20] oola Neruda: I took a class with a woman who translated Greek texts... but did not know that it was a specialty

[13:20] oola Neruda: she was amazing

[13:20] herman Bergson: I had to translate Xenophon, Plato and Herodotus and Homer at the gymnasium

[13:21] herman Bergson: For latin Julius Ceasar, Livius, Tacitus, Cicero and Seneca and Ovidius

[13:21] oola Neruda: no wonder you are so interested in languages

[13:22] herman Bergson: I have begun learning Italian now too :-)

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaaa ok

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:22] herman Bergson: Just for fun

[13:22] oola Neruda: they were all pretty much for fun... it is astonishing...

[13:22] herman Bergson: I'll never go to Italy or Spain :-))

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): would be fun to learn a few more also other then programming languages

[13:23] herman Bergson smiles

[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he even speaks Mesjtreeeechs

[13:23] herman Bergson: good plan Bejiita  :-)

[13:23] oola Neruda: my husband is like you in that way... always another language... he says Portugese is the worst so far

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:23] herman Bergson: I also speak C++, Pascal, Basic, LSL and a few others :-))

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): speaking of that its apparently the Ada day today so must learn the Ada language

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa u 2 thats

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Nice!

[13:24] herman Bergson: Is that the language of native Americans, Bejiita? :-))

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): languages are in general useful stuff

[[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no its named after Ada Lovelace, created on her birthday and used for all military stuff in us from cannons to the space shuttle

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): because its failsafe

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ive never tried it though

[13:25] herman Bergson: interesting...

[13:25] herman Bergson: Neither have I....might have a look at it....

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as i get it an ada program can not crash, which is good when ur flying into space

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or flying in general

[13:26] herman Bergson: Let's stick to thhe old Classics :-)

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa where were we on the science bit

[13:27] herman Bergson: That I had to study and translate them is thus due to these women of the 14th to 18th century :-))

[13:28] herman Bergson: Well...I loved it actually :-)

[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what was the reaction of the church?....were those woman witches?

[13:29] oola Neruda: did they have references like dictionaries to access or did they basically have to write them

[13:29] herman Bergson: Dacier and Schurman had no problem with the church....

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:29] herman Bergson: Don't forget the Reformation....

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats a good thing

[13:29] herman Bergson: there wasn't anymore the one and only superpower of the Roman Catholic church

[13:30] herman Bergson: as long as the ladies stayed behind curtains.......

[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): poor woman

[13:30] herman Bergson: Ahh Schurman corresponded a lot with the reverend Revius

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :(

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:31] oola Neruda: did they have records re: the languages... dictionaries ...etc.

[13:31] oola Neruda: or just.... ???

[13:31] Ciska Riverstone is online.

[13:31] herman Bergson: He wasn't flattering about women with brains

[13:31] Laz Dresler is online.

[13:31] herman Bergson: Like Aristotle

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): good question Oola

[13:32] herman Bergson: Yet he made an exception for Anna Maria Schurman....

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did they have to go to an 'Abdij"?

[13:32] oola Neruda: were there translations back and forth from other languages of the past... so they could refer to them

[13:33] herman Bergson: yes there were....

[13:33] oola Neruda: is that how it was done?

[13:33] oola Neruda: how could they be sure of the accuracy

[13:33] herman Bergson: around 1500 it was almost a sport to go to old cloister libraries and look for old manuscripts

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): could woman go there too?

[13:34] herman Bergson: This accuracy of texts and translations...to establish that was what the philologists did.....

[13:34] oola Neruda: wouldn't they have to understand the former languages...

[13:34] herman Bergson: I don't think so Beertje

[13:35] herman Bergson: Schurman understood Greek , Latin, Arabic, Ethiopian, German.....

[13:35] oola Neruda: langugeS.... PLURAL

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so how did they do it?

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): where DID they get the material from then?

[13:35] herman Bergson: Well....Latin was a common language in those days....

[13:36] herman Bergson: and of course there still were Greek too

[13:36] herman Bergson: they found latin translations of Plato and Aristotle for instance

[13:37] herman Bergson: and then began the work.....comparing those texts....looking for older versions in libraries

[13:37] bergfrau Apfelbaum: maybe women dressed up as men, Beertje

[13:37] herman Bergson: It was really highly intellectual work....that required a high IQ too

[13:38] herman Bergson: Those philologists were often brilliant minds

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it took a high IQ to get to the library I guess

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i can imagine

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they succeeded in what they did so

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they must had help from man to get those books

[13:38] herman Bergson: yes and the latin and greek texts we have amy be fairly accurate

[13:39] herman Bergson: I think so Beertje

[13:39] oola Neruda: seems there was room for "interpretation"... especially if that language was difficult or transition happened over the years

[13:40] oola Neruda: and if cultures were not the same... meanings could become obscure

[13:40] herman Bergson: There were serious debates in those days about what was the "original" text

[13:40] herman Bergson: Madame Dacier was famous for it

[13:41] herman Bergson: I read that she often was smarter than her male colleagues ^_^

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:41] herman Bergson: of course this might be fake news ^_^

[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): in this case I guess not

[13:42] herman Bergson: hehe...

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): there ARE bright woman :))

[13:42] oola Neruda: i find that travel ... especially in third world countries... makes it obvious that things we see one way are often seen quite differently in that country... and if we are not a part of the culture, we could make seriuos mistakes in thinking we understood what they meant

[13:43] herman Bergson: I must say...I find this history of philology quite fascinating...

[13:44] herman Bergson: For the Ancient Greek and Romans the rest of Europe was a third world country in those days

[13:44] herman Bergson: They brought their culture to the rest of Europe

[13:44] herman Bergson: that is why the Italians began to rediscover their heretage in the Renaissance

[13:45] oola Neruda: Ancient Egypt takes a lot of imagination to decipher... as with the Glyphs left in Central and South America

[13:45] herman Bergson: It is amazing that so many texts have survived hundreds of years before they were reread again...

[13:46] herman Bergson: The Rosetta stone decoded Ancient Egyptian

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes

[13:46] herman Bergson: because the same text was on it in greek and.....not sure....Latin

[13:47] herman Bergson: That is how we learned to understand and read hyroglyph script

[13:47] oola Neruda: here we are with Feynman again... he wished to decipher the Aztec glyphs...

[13:48] herman Bergson: But that was much later...in the Napoleontic era

[13:48] herman Bergson: Would be interesting

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:49] oola Neruda: a lot of assumptions are made

[13:49] herman Bergson: There is also that knots "script" of the Incas, which we still can not decipher

[13:50] oola Neruda: nods

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa ok

[13:50] herman Bergson: You can begin with guessing what something means......then you need more texts  where the same word occurs....and so on....

[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe Bejiita can write a program to encode that knot script:)

[13:51] herman Bergson: lol

[13:51] oola Neruda: the Aztecs had "books" but the missionaries destroyed them... there are only a couple left... small... less than ten,, i believe

[13:51] herman Bergson: He'd batter make a game of it :-)

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i can try

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:52] herman Bergson: A lot of books have burned throughout history....:-(

[13:52] oola Neruda: nods

[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but i don't even know how it looks, i have only hears about it somewhere

[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and with no reference i cant decode

[13:52] herman Bergson: Christians set fire to the famous library of Alexandria....

[13:52] oola Neruda: Romans?

[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats a big shame yes

[13:53] herman Bergson: I don't think it were Romans, oola...

[13:53] herman Bergson: just a bunch of terrorists, we would say now :-)

[13:53] oola Neruda: wasn't there war between Egypt and Rome when that happened?

[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the world hasn't changed at all

[13:54] herman Bergson: I have to check that

[13:55] herman Bergson: No christians....:-)

[13:55] herman Bergson: Contrary to popular myth Library of Alexandria wasn't destroyed by Julius Caesar and Romans who interfered with civil war in Egypt in 48 BC. Caesar set fire to the ships in nearby harbor, but unfortunately fire spread into the library. However most important scrolls were saved.

[13:56] oola Neruda: accident of war then?

[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:57] herman Bergson: A female philosopher Hypatia, if I am not mistaken was murdered by christans

[13:57] oola Neruda: they did a lot of that here and there over the years

[13:58] herman Bergson: yes ...

[13:58] oola Neruda: to be fair, they were also targeted by those they went among...

[[13:59] herman Bergson: Well.... I guess we said all there had to be said about history and philology :-)

[13:59] herman Bergson: Maybe time to relax again.....

[14:00] oola Neruda: i think there are a lot of subtleties behind this endeavor

[14:00] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for participating :-)

[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman

[14:00] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....

[14:00] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): interesting class

[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

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