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Cobet Revisited

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New Light on a Brilliant and Eccentric Scholar

image of Mnemosyne

This article argues that Cobet’s philological and text-critical work deserves to be understood on its own terms, rather than being dismissed for its inconsistency with prevailing conceptions of classical scholarship. As shown by his Latin programmatic writings, Cobet was a typical nineteenth-century humanist, who aimed to integrate contemporary scholarly values into a traditional educational framework. Both Cobet’s method of textual criticism and his determination to remain aloof from what are nowadays considered progressive developments in nineteenth-century classical scholarship make sense on the basis of his humanistic conviction that classical scholarship’s ultimate aim is to serve humane educational ends. The fact that Cobet’s humanistic educational writings have fallen into oblivion is the result of a tendency among modern classicists to measure the past by standards drawn from the present, a tendency that can be called the ‘Whig history of classical scholarship’.

Affiliations: 1: Utrecht University, Dept. of Languages, Literature and Communication S.P.vanBommel@uu.nl

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/content/journals/10.1163/1568525x-12342300
2017-10-26
2018-07-23

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