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Theory and practice in Renaissance textual criticism : Beatus Rhenanus between conjecture and history /
John F. D'Amico.
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1988.
xiv, 310 p. ; 24 cm.
More Details
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1988.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 209-300) and index.
A Look Inside
Flap Copy
"A very important book and well handled, it will be one that lasts. . . . Beatus Rhenanus has not gotten his due as a major Northern Humanist. This approach takes him seriously as a textual critic and a philologist who applied his techniques to patristic writings and to early German history."--Lewis W. Spitz, Stanford University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1989-06:
Beatus Rhenanus is perhaps best known as the esteemed friend, editor, and first biographer of Erasmus. He was also the most accomplished historian of the German Renaissance and an important innovator in the science of textual criticism. D'Amico gives equal attention to Beatus's historical method and to his gradual development as a textual critic, emphasizing the close connection between the two skills. The author provides the reader with the necessary historical context for every stage of Beatus's career, and traces the evolution of his method from some early false starts to his significant contributions to the texts of Tacitus, Livy, Pliny the elder, and Tertullian. Beatus was among the first to apply the same philological rigor to the texts of the Church Fathers as to the classical pagan authors. In his three editions of Tertullian he showed great ingenuity in analysing this writer's difficult Latin style, which bristled with neologisms. D'Amico also brought to his annotations a broad historical knowledge. At times he may have been somewhat daring in his textual emendations but his goal was the recovery of the author's own words, with any conjecture based on paleographical evidence. This complicated material is set out in a lucid, congenial manner, with abundant examples of Beatus's critical method and a veritable cornucopia of documentation in the notes. A must for advanced readers interested in the history of classical scholarship and in the German Renaissance. -C. E. Fantazzi, University of Windsor
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1989
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Long Description
Recent Renaissance research has placed great stress on the importance of textual criticism and attitudes toward classical texts as a basis for understanding the ideas of the Renaissance humanists. John D'Amico turns to the German humanist, Beatus Rhenanus, and forms exciting new opinions about his work. Beatus was a close associate of Erasmus and learned much from the celebrated Dutch scholar, yet his critical method marked a break with Erasmus because he articulated a strict manuscript-based procedure for extracting new readings of ancient texts. His attempt to be faithful to the classical manuscripts he edited was not always successful, but he assuredly understood the use of textual criticism for historical studies and was, D'Amico claims, the most accomplished historian of the German Renaissance. Not only Renaissance historians but also literary critics, students of historiography and of German history and literature, and classicists will find this book illuminating.

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