Sunday, June 09, 2019


A Minor Sub-Field

S. Douglas Olson, "Further Notes on the Critical Apparatus," Classical Journal 114.3 (2019) 330-344 (at 341):
We live in an age of highly specialized knowledge, and even within the relatively tiny discipline of classical studies, traditional philology is today, for better or for worse, a minor sub-field. That many readers of ancient Greek or Latin texts prefer to keep their distance from the critical apparatus, or at least feel no interest in creating their own personal version of every author they read, is thus not only understandable but arguably to some extent wise. In such situations, many readers opt to defer to an expert, the dirty and unsettling secret—not actually a secret at all, but generally left unspoken—being that editors also make mistakes, or take on texts they ought not to, or are on occasion simply the wrong person for the job. But the same is true of barbers, accountants and auto mechanics, and given the odds, most of us still prefer to trust such nominal experts rather than do the associated jobs ourselves.

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