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Greek Commentaries

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Abstract This article provides an overview of the genre of “commentary” in ancient Greece. I will first briefly discuss ancient Greek scholarship and, above all, its sources and the issues that modern scholars have to face when dealing with them. Next, I will focus on the physical appearance of Greek commentaries (hypomnemata), and then I will survey some of the most important contents of ancient exegesis (intralingual translations, variant readings, questions about myths, geography and realia, authenticity of lines and entire texts, style and poetics, specific interests of some commentators). Finally, I will highlight the differences between commentaries on literary texts and commentaries on scientific texts and will focus on the two most important legacies ancient Greek commentators left to biblical and Christian exegetes: the allegorical reading and the principle that the words of an author must be interpreted in terms of the author’s words themselves.

Affiliations: 1: University of Michigan


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