Friday, January 10, 2020


A Grammarian

Ludwig Bieler (1906-1981), "The Grammarian's Craft," Folia 10.2 (1947) 3-42 (at 4):
If I were to choose a name for my profession as I understand it, I would call myself a grammarian. No other name could be more appropriate for linking up my work with the past. The craft which we grammarians are practicing has behind it a tradition of more than two thousand years. It is the art of preserving literary texts from corruption and oblivion by means of criticism and interpretation.
Id. (at 5, with note at 33):
Varied as may be the grammarian's interests and functions in the wide sphere of human culture, the special abilities required for his profession converge on textual criticism and exegesis: distinguere emendare adnotare, as Suetonius said of Marcus Valerius Probus.4 However greatly the modern grammarian may differ from his colleague of the past, his basic work is still accurately described by the ancient triad. The grammarian's work culminates in editorship — the severest test to which his vocation can be put, and the very core of his craft.

4 De grammaticis, chap. 24.
Id. (at 10):
We must use our rules with discretion — as guides, not as principles. Principiis obsta, "resist principles" — as Ludwig Radermacher, in one of his lighter moods, advised his students.
Id. (at 30):
An apparatus criticus that is really well done can be as fascinating to read as are significant equations to the mathematician.

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