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§ ix. The Text.

(1) Ancient authorities. The chief manuscripts which contain the text of the Symposium are:—

B=codex Bodleianus (or Clarkianus or Oxoniensis); Bekker's <*>

T=codex Venetus append. class. 4, cod. 1: Bekker's t (“omnium librorum secundae familiae fons” Schanz).

W=codex Vindobonensis 54, Suppl. phil. Gr. 7: Stallbaum's Vind. I.

To these we have now to add, as a new authority,

O.-P.=Oxyrhynchus Papyrus (no. 843 in Grenfell and Hunt's collection).

Since this last authority for the text was not forthcoming until after the publication of the latest critical text of the Symposium, I add the description of it given by the editors:—

“The part covered is from 200 B [beginning with the word βουλοι[το] after which 40 lines are lost, the next words being αν ενδεια at the end of 200 E] to the end, comprised in 31 columns, of which four (xix—xxii) are missing entirely, while two others (i and xviii) are represented by small fragments; but the remainder is in a very fair state of preservation....The small and well-formed but somewhat heavy writing exemplifies a common type of book hand, and probably dates from about the year 200 A.D....The corrector's ink does not differ markedly in colour from that of the text, and in the case of minor insertions the two hands are at times difficult to distinguish. But as they are certainly not separated by any wide interval of time the question has no great practical importance....The text, as so often with papyri, is of an eclectic character, showing a decided affinity with no single MS. Compared with the three principal witnesses for the Symposium it agrees now with B against TW, now with the two latter as against the former, rarely with T against BW1 or with W against BT2. Similarly in a passage cited by Stobaeus some agreements with his readings against the consensus of BTW are counterbalanced by a number of variations from Stobaeus' text3. A few coincidences occur with variants peculiar to the inferior MSS., the more noticeable being those with Vindob. 21 alone or in combination with Venet. 1844 and Parisin. 1642 alone or with Vat. 2295. Of the readings for which there is no other authority, including several variations in the order of the words, the majority, if unobjectionable, are unconvincing. The more valuable contributions, some of which are plainly superior to anything found in other MSS., are: l. 92 [201 D] επ, l. 112 [202 A] the omission of καί (so Stallbaum), l. 239 [204 B] αν ειη, where BTW have a meaningless ἄν, l. 368 [206 C] καλω as conjectured by Badham for τῷ κ., l. 471 [208 B] μετεχει as restored by Stephanus (μετέχειν MSS.), l. 517 [209 A] τεκειν confirming a conjecture of Hug (κυεῖν MSS.), l. 529 [209 B] επιθυμη as conjectured by Stephanus (ἐπιθυμεῖ MSS.), l. 577 [210 A] και συ omitted by MSS., l. 699 [212 A] θεοφιλει (- BTW), l. 770 [213 B] κατιδε[ν (?) (καθίζειν MSS), l. 898 [218 D] μοι (probably) with Vind. 21 (μου BTW), l. 1142 [222 D] διαβαλει as conjectured by Hirschig (διαβάλῃ BTW). On the other hand in many cases the papyrus once more proves the antiquity of readings which modern criticism rejects or suspects.”

It may be added that the editors of the papyrus in citing W have made use of a new collation of that MS. by Prof. H. Schöne of Basel “which often supplements and sometimes corrects the report of Burnet.” And in this edition I have followed the report of W in their apparatus, where available, while relying elsewhere upon that given by Burnet.

(2) Modern criticism. Much attention has been paid by Continental critics during the last century to the text of the Symposium, and for the most part they have proceeded on the assumption that the text is largely vitiated by interpolations6. Even Schanz and Hug, who may be regarded as moderate and cautious critics in comparison with such extremists as Jahn and Badham, have gone to unnecessary lengths in their use of the obelus. Hug, while admitting that we must take into account the freedom and variety of Plato's style and that it is folly to rob a writer of his individuality by pruning away any and every expression which is in strict logic superfluous, and while admitting also that regard must be paid to the characteristic differences of the various speeches in our dialogue, which forbid our taking any one speech as the norm with which others should be squared,—yet maintains that in the speeches, and especially in those of Pausanias and Socrates, he can detect a number of unquestionable glosses. No doubt there are some cases in these speeches in which it is not unreasonable to suspect interpolation, but even Hug and Schanz have, I believe, greatly exaggerated the number of such cases; and I agree with the editor of the Oxford text in regarding the certain instances of corruption or interpolation as extremely few. Consequently, in the text here printed I have diverged but seldom from the ancient tradition, and such changes as I have made have been more often in the direction of verbal alteration than of omission. I have, however, recorded in the textual notes a selection of the proposed alterations, futile though I consider most of them to be.

1 See crit. notes on 202 A, 203 A, 205 B, 206 B, 207 D, 211 C.

2 See crit. notes on 203 B, 211 D, 213 B, 219 E, 220 C (bis).

3 See crit. notes on 202 C—203 A.

4 See crit. notes on 201 A (ad fin.), 218 D, 220 A, 220 B, 223 C.

5 See crit. notes on 206 B (ad init.), 208 A, 223 C.

6 E.g. O. Jahn, Hirschig, Badham, Cobet, Naber, Hartmann. On the other hand, sensible protests have been made by Teuffel and Vahlen; and Rettig's text is, if anything, ultra-conservative.

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hide References (21 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Plato, Symposium, 200a
    • Plato, Symposium, 200b
    • Plato, Symposium, 200e
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (18):
    • Plato, Symposium, 201a
    • Plato, Symposium, 202a
    • Plato, Symposium, 202c
    • Plato, Symposium, 203a
    • Plato, Symposium, 203b
    • Plato, Symposium, 205b
    • Plato, Symposium, 206b
    • Plato, Symposium, 207d
    • Plato, Symposium, 208a
    • Plato, Symposium, 211c
    • Plato, Symposium, 211d
    • Plato, Symposium, 213b
    • Plato, Symposium, 218d
    • Plato, Symposium, 219e
    • Plato, Symposium, 220a
    • Plato, Symposium, 220b
    • Plato, Symposium, 220c
    • Plato, Symposium, 223c
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