Alschefski’s Livy -- By: John L. Lincoln

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 004:13 (Feb 1847)
Article: Alschefski’s Livy
Author: John L. Lincoln

Alschefski’s Livy

Prof. John L. Lincoln

Titi Livii Rerum Romanarum ab urbe condita libri ad codicum manu scriptorum fidem emendati ab C. F. S. Alschefski Vol. I. primae decadis partem priorem continens, 1841. Vol. II prim. dec. part, alt continens,1 1843.

The publication of the first two volumes of this new critical edition of Livy, has awakened the greatest interest in Germany, and is understood to mark a new era in the history of the text of Livy’s works. It is now somewhat more than a hundred years since the first appearance of the well-known edition of Arnold Drakenborch. That great work, bearing upon every page evidences of the learning and industry and mature scholarship of its author, embodying all the results of the labors of preceding editors, and embracing a vast apparatus of critical and exegetical material, has till within a comparatively short period continued to maintain its ascendency as the standard edition of Livy. Most of the editors who followed Drakenborch, either unacquainted with the imperfections of a work containing so much that is good, or shrinking from the formidable task of working over and producing anew and in a better form such a cumbrous mass of material, have for the most part followed his critical authority, and been content to gather, according to their wants, from the immense stores of annotation which he accumulated. Yet the extreme confusion in which Drakenborch has thrown together the valuable results of his researches, can hardly have failed to perplex even those most familiar with learned commentary; and certainly from many a practical teacher, condemned to grope his way through those piles of annotation in search of a clue to some critical or philological difficulty, has often escaped the very reasonable wish, that some kindly spirit of order had once been present in the midst of the chaotic mass, and fashioned it into some known and recognized proportions of form and symmetry. The text of Drakenborch, though superior to that of earlier editors, and in many important

particulars to that of Gronovius, which he assumed as the basis of his own edition, has yet entirely failed to meet the demands of the better principles of criticism which prevail at the present time. Indeed, that celebrated editor of Livy, though he constantly consulted the best editions, and had at his command a numerous and to some extent valuable collection of manuscripts, yet seems not to have had any clear and certain opinion of the real value of separate Mss., nor to have established for himself any uniform principles of criticism; and hence he frequently followed in silence some older edition, and in many passages adopted or rejected read...

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