Textual Criticism

Luigi Battezzato

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Textual Criticism

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  • Classical Studies
  • Classical Poetry
  • Classical Reception


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These are two typical problems in textual criticism: deciding whether a passage is authentic, and deciding what the original wording was. In fact, every reader of Greek texts is a textual critic insofar as he makes interpretative decisions: each reader examines the sense and wording of every sentence in order to interpret it. One could say that textual criticism is the branch of literary interpretation which aims at reconstructing the original wording of a text. The aim of reconstructing the ‘original’ is based on a virtuous hermeneutic circle. This article covers the concepts of ‘original’ text, recension, emendation, ‘open’ and ‘closed’ textual transmission, and the basic elements of stemmatic theory.

Keywords: stemmatic theory; textual transmission; emendation; text editing; Greek texts; authenticity; original wording

Article.  6322 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Poetry ; Classical Reception

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