Guest post: Contemplating the end(s) of scholarship (HUMANITIES TODAY)

[This seems worth reblogging (I don’t think I’ve ever made use of that facility in WordPress) … dm]

Bodies and academia

POxy.v0023.n2368.a.01.hires“Well-manned flower of holy Athens”: Aristarchus claims that the song is dithyrambic because it includes the story of Cassandra and he entitles it “Cassandra”, and he says that Callimachus made a mistake in classing it among the Paeans, not understanding that the refrain is common to dithyrambs also; similarly Dionysius of Phaselis. (P.Oxy. 2368, col. i)

You`ve just read a fragment of an ancient Greek scholarly commentary on the poems of Bacchylides, conserved on the scraps of a 2nd century AD papyrus. For the hardcore classicist, this is a precious glimpse into the lost world of Hellenistic erudition. Scholarly editions and classifications, terminological polemics, transmission of knowledge through references and quotes, abbreviation and compilation of authoritative opinions: an intellectual fabric which could seem essentially familiar to a modern humanities scholar, despite the obscure topic and the absence of proper footnotes. After all, the mirage of the lost libraries of…

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