T. Corey Brennan, "Ernst Badian's Methodological Maxims," in The Legacy of Ernst Badian
, ed. Carol G. Thomas (Association of Ancient Historians, 2013), pp. 9-26 (at 12):
One of his teaching techniques was to take the first
written work of a student who had newly signed on to his
supervision, and then spend many hours checking every
single reference, ancient or modern, in addition to offering
copious annotations on the thought and style of the paper.
I remember sitting at a desk in Harvard’s Smyth Classics
Library and quaking in fear as Ernst shuffled around the
room's bookcases with my own paper in hand for what
seemed to be two full days. You can guess the final result:
a sea of red. But Ernst only checked quite so thoroughly
on the first occasion. The pedagogical—or one might
say psychological—effect was such that he didn't ever
need to repeat the process for his students, at least at that
Id. (at 16):
As for the perpetrators of scholarly
outrages, Ernst's harshest face-to-face critique was the
simple phrase, very rarely employed, and only then when
confronted with what seemed to be invincible ignorance,
"I pity your students."
Id. (at 20):
The story is perhaps apocryphal, but legend has it
that at a Cambridge cocktail party sometime in the 1980s
a woman turned to Ernst's Harvard colleague, the great
Latinist Dr. Shackleton Bailey, and asked him "so what do
you do?" His answer: "I look things up." Whatever the
veracity of the anecdote, Ernst certainly put a premium
on "looking things up," starting of course with the ancient
sources, then Pauly-Wissowa, and proceeding from there.
Badian had little time for books written from books, that
show (in his words) a "perverse refusal to look at what it is
all ultimately derived from."