The World Philology Union (WPU) was founded on 2 December 2021 in Oslo, Norway. The WPU is an international association whose purpose is to promote philology worldwide, in research, education, society and culture.

The first General Assembly of the WPU was held in Rome, 15 December 2022. At the same occasion, the first WPU conference was held, 14–16 December, hosted by the Sapienza University of Rome and ISMEO – The International Association of Mediterranean and Oriental Studies. This conference discussed the current state of philology at universities and other academic institutions worldwide.

More information about the WPU and its activities and conferences is found below.


The content on this page is a preliminary placeholder for the website of the WPU, which is under development.


The WPU welcomes applications for membership. There are four categories of membership:

To register for membership, please write an e-mail to or send a letter to the postal address given below.

In your communication, please state your name, address, main academic field(s), academic degree or position, and institutional affiliation (where applicable).

Currently, the membership fees are set to €40 per year for scholars affiliated to a university or a research institution, €10 per year for independent scholars and students and €200 per year for institutional members.


The philological study of ancient and classical texts, traditionally the very core of the humanities, has during the last generation or so been either completely marginalized within university departments or, at some universities, even altogether banished from the academic portfolio. This development is partly due to general policies of higher education, but one can argue that it is primarily a consequence of trends within the humanities themselves.

While there is ample reason to lament this development, one must also take action to ensure the preservation and flourishing of the rich academic traditions within the different fields of philology. Without these fields, which historically and conceptually lie at the very core of the study of human culture, the very existence of the humanities as a meaningful academic activity is at risk. It should also be emphasised that any effort to sustain and develop studies and research on historical languages today must include all the major literary traditions of the world.

Philologists in all fields should unite to promote philology as a unified discipline on all levels of education and research. This is the purpose of the World Philology Union (WPU).

The Constitution of the WPU was adopted by the Board at the Foundational Meeting in Oslo, Norway, 2 December 2021.

Contact the WPU Secretariat (e-mail).

WPU Address

Executive Committee of the World Philology Union (as of 3 August 2023)

Jens Braarvig (President) – Emeritus Professor, University of Oslo, and Director of the Norwegian Institute of Philology.

Danuta Shanzer (Vice President) – Professor in Late Antique and Medieval Latin, University of Vienna.

Amund Bjorsnes Haave (Secretary General) – Executive Director of the Norwegian Institute of Philology.

Velizar Sadovski (Treasurer) – Senior Researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Members of the Board of the World Philology Union (as of 3 August 2023)

Jens Braarvig (President) – Emeritus Professor, University of Oslo, and Director of the Norwegian Institute of Philology.

Eleanor Dickey – Professor of Classics, University of Reading.

Lutz Edzard – Professor in Arabic and Semitic Linguistics, Erlangen University.

Beatrice Gründler – Professor of Arabic, Freie Universität Berlin.

Jaehee Han – Assistant Professor, Buddhist Studies Department, Dongguk University.

Thomas Kjeller Johansen – Professor of Philosophy, Oslo University.

Samuel Lieu – Honorary President of the International Union of Academies, UAI.

Torbjörn Lodén – Emeritus Professor of Chinese language and culture, Stockholm University.

Marco Mancini – Professor of Glottology and Linguistics, Sapienza University.

Luisa Migliorati – Professor of Archaeology, Sapienza University of Rome.

Martha T. Roth – Chauncey S. Boucher Distinguished Service Professor of Assyriology in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago.

Velizar Sadovski (Treasurer) – Senior Researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Walther Sallaberger – Professor of Assyriology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

Danuta Shanzer (Vice President) – Professor in Late Antique and Medieval Latin, University of Vienna.

Jianrong Shi – Assistant Professor Grade Teaching Staff, Department of Religious Studies at Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei.

Nicholas Sims-Williams – Emeritus Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies, SOAS University of London.

Luisa Villani – Postdoctoral Researcher, National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Kazuhiko Yoshida – Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, Kyoto University.


The foundational meeting in Oslo was held on Wednesday the 1st and Thursday the 2nd of December 2021, at the facilities of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Drammensveien 78, Oslo.


You can find more information about the Academy building here.

WPU CONFERENCE IN ROME (14–6 December 2022)

The First International Conference of the WPU was held on 14–16 December 2022, at Sapienza University and ISMEO in Rome, Italy.



The founding members of the WPU recognize that philology is not only a method within other fields. The philological approach is indeed in itself an autonomous discipline – intrinsically comparative and genuinely global and macro-historical.

The WPU will expressly encourage global membership and promote philological research projects involving international collaboration. It will support younger researchers and seek to procure funding for their projects in the form of scholarships. The union will support existing philological programs at universities and help establish new ones. An important task will be to help the traditionally distinct philological traditions explore each other’s insights and perspectives, and encourage research projects that require the participation of more than one philological tradition. The overall goal of the WPU will be to help secure recognition of philology as one of the most central and useful disciplines in the humanities.


While the later meaning of the word philology is not necessarily directly related to its use by Plato in the Phaedrus, it is not uncommon that also practitioners of philology in the modern meaning incorporate into their craft something of the old meaning, viz. “love of intellectual discourse” (in the Greek context the latter is incidentally more or less synonymous with “predilection for table talk”). To appreciate the whole story, one needs to start from the beginning of the Phaedrus. The passage in question is a part of Socrates' initial refusal to give a speech on friendship (227a–237a). Text with translation and references on Perseus.