The goal of text editing, in general, is threefold: first, to construct, from the surviving copies or witnesses, a text that is as close an approximation as possible to what the author actually wrote; second, to produce a text that is as free from error as possible; third, to present that text to contemporary readers in an intelligible form. Approximation to what the author wrote requires sifting through the various manuscript witnesses, determining which ones depend upon or are copies of each other and which carry more pristine or more derivative versions of the text, and also — albeit on the rarest of occasions — proposing a reading against the vast majority, or even all of the witnesses, based upon one’s intimate acquaintance with the author’s literary style and/or philosophical convictions. Elimination of error may involve correcting the grammatical and syntactical lapses found in the text transmitted by the witnesses or correcting faulty internal and external references introduced by the copyists. Presentation of the text in a form intelligible to contemporary readers entails punctuating the text according to contemporary standards, creating titles and internal divisions of the text that are sensible and appropriate to the subject matter at hand, making references to the most recent editions of the text(s) the author cites or uses, and finally supplying occasional notes indicating grammatical, historical, or doctrinal information that must be understood for a proper reading of a particular passage.
The Scotist Commission in Rome, under the auspices of the Franciscan Order, has been working on the critical edition of Scotus’s Oxford Theological Works since shortly before World War II. To date, they have published eight volumes of Scotus’s Ordinatio (up to the end of Book II), which is one of his most important commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, and four volumes of his Lectura (to the end of Book II), which is an earlier commentary on the Sentences.
Because there was no prospect of the Scotist Commission editing either the philosophical writings or the Parisian writings of Scotus in the foreseeable future, the Franciscan Order decided to commit the critical edition of both Scotus’s Opera philosophica and the Opera Parisiensia to the Scotus Project research team, formerly located at the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University and now transferred to the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
Critical editions are valuable directly to the scholars who use them, and indirectly to a much wider public that seldom sees them: they are the indispensable basis for sound translations. Such editions also improve the standard of scholarship and stimulate new studies. In the aftermath of the research team’s critical editions of the Works of Ockham and the Philosophical Writings of John Duns Scotus, studies on Scotus and Ockham have increased exponentially. The results of such studies are reflected subsequently in textbooks, anthologies and general surveys of medieval thought.


One Response to “History”

  1. Andrew Haines Says:

    Hi, I’m looking for the person in charge of this site—per the request of the current editors. If you could give me an email, I’d much appreciate it. Thanks.


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