Classicists and Text-criticism Technology?

February 24th, 2007 by Gabriel Bodard

I’ve just spotted this blog entry from back in October, but it raises questions worth addressing (questions of perception as well as practice…):

Last week, at the ITSEE launch, I –and several other people– had the opportunity to hear Michael Reeve. He delivered a talk called “Disembodying texts: inflammatory thoughts fuelled by the editing of Pliny’s Natural History,” during which he stated that classicists, unlike New Testament scholars and those in other fields, did not readily make use of computer technologies. An alarm went off in my mind, while images of Digital Classicist and Perseus flashed in front of my eyes. Is it possible –I thought– that I have just imagined these things?

Fortunately, a quick look at the Digital Classicist Wiki makes evident that Classicists clearly are making use of electronic resources. Well, then I am not as out of touch as I thought. However, the fact that classicists might be using some electronic resources does not mean that these resources concentrate in textual scholarship. Indeed, a survey of the Projects found in the DC Wiki shows that of the 20 listed projects, only 5 appear to present edited texts (Curse Tablets from Roman Britain, Digital Nestle-Aland Prototype, Electronic Boethius, Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project and Vindolanda Tablets Online). The other 15 projects are databases, archives, concordances and other tools for the study of classical texts. But there is even more, Netither the Digital Nestle-Aland nor the Electronic Boethius really fit in the “Classical box.”

(Note that the correct link to the Digital Classicist wiki should now be http://wiki.digitalclassicist.org/)

Full entry at: http://www.textualscholarship.org/blog/?p=5

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