Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is a combination of literary criticism, history, and linguistics. Philology is more commonly defined as the study of literary texts as well as oral and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning. A person who pursues this kind of study is known as a philologist.
BALD heads forgetful of their sins, Old, learned, respectable bald heads Edit and annotate the lines That young men, tossing on their beds, Rhymed out in love's despair To flatter beauty's ignorant ear. All shuffle there; all cough in ink; All wear the carpet with their shoes; All think what other people think; All know the man their neighbour knows. Lord, what would they say Did their Catullus walk that way?
Among us, the so-called "higher criticism," which reigns supreme in the domain of philology has also taken possession of our historical literature. This higher criticism has been the pretext for introducing all the anti-historical monstrosities that a vain imagination could suggest. Here we have the other method of making the past a living reality; putting subjective fancies in the place of historical data; fancies whose merit is measured by their boldness, that is, the scantiness of the particulars on which they are based, and the peremptoriness with which they contravene the best established facts of history.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of History Vol 1 p. 7-8