Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 211. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org  From: Stephen Clark
Subject: Hates and such (21)  From: Dr. Herbert Wender Subject: Sperberg-McQueen on "BÃ©dier's paradox" (51) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2018-11-21 11:02:14+00:00 From: Stephen Clark Subject: Hates and such On metaphors: to state the obvious- the complaint that a metaphor is a cover-up is itself metaphorical (and also very foolish). Saying that it’s pointless to pursue uncatchable hares (or ask unanswerable questions) is also foolish. 1. What can’t be answered now may be answered later, with the help of present speculation. 2. Trying to answer one question may uncover many answerable questions that would otherwise be unnoticed. 3. Even if the only result of the pursuit is to realize that a question can’t currently (or ever) be answered is a clear gain 4. The pursuit itself is fun - and possibly life changing - even if nothing is caught and we never give up trying. Stephen Clark -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2018-11-21 20:29:36+00:00 From: Dr. Herbert Wender Subject: Sperberg-McQueen on "BÃ©dier's paradox" Willard, in the "clutch of meta-hares", firstly misfiled under "On Annotations", the following statement was irritating; probably meant as indicating a triumph of computational methods in hardcore stemmatics it fails, I think, to see the hidden hare: "Joseph Bedier's statistical argument against stemmatic textual criticism waited sixty-odd years for its definitive answer by M. P. Weitzmann (Bedier's gut feelings about the probability of two- and three-branched stemmata turn out to be wrong, and his argument collapses as a result)." "Collapses" ? Which "argument" ? Trusting Paolo Trovato, the following: "The strongest argument against the genealogical method, known as Bédier's paradox, is the fact that, out of 110 stemmata of French manuscript traditions Bédier examined, 105 were two-branched." (Trovato 2014, p. 80) The debate between '(Neo-)Lachmannists' and 'Bédierists' was not about the observation (Trovato: "the fact") but about the reasoning behind Bédier's mocking reflections: the supposed psychological origin of the observed 'forest of two-branched trees' in the 'flora of philologies'. Surely, as Trovato remarks, Weitzman's simulated variations of trees describing the surviving mss. over time are very good things in didactic contexts. But theoretically it seems that it was clear as early as Maas (1937) and Fourquet (1946) that statistical explanation prevails against Bédier's psychological suspicions.  Ironically, I mean, the efforts to catch this hare (or should I say: to shoot the mocking bird) have enforced the above mentioned argument insofar as all are accepting Bédier's observations as realistic in substance. It seems worth to remember also the other, the first half of his observations, omitted, so far as I see, in recent mentions of BÃ©dier's paradox: the prevalence of bipartite stemmata only holdds in editions of whole works where an editor has studied the manuscript tradition of the given wort 'from end to end', while in a rticles or methodological examples mostly stemmata with three or more branches was drawn.The real question after Bédier's observations was and is, I mean: How valuable is a genealogical stemma of surviving mss. when the tree is losing all branches except two in the process of editing the whole work and and studying the whole tradition, and if the overall distance between the origin and the reconstructed archetype(archetype/2 in Trovato's terms) allows to impute conjectures at will? Pointers to any answer, inside or outside the field of Digital Philology, will be welcome. Herbert  Cf. Hoenen/Eger/Gehrke 2017: How Many Stemmata with Root Degree k? _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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