THE NEED FOR CLASSICAL SCHOLARS.

THE NEED FOR CLASSICAL SCHOLARS. When I was studying Latin fifty years ago, it seemed that future scholarship would be confined because all the texts were known. Research would consist of reworking material that had been studied for centuries. Richard Janko in his review of THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF PAPYROLOGY (Times Literary Supplement, April 2, 2010) describes an enormous number of major works of ancient literature that were recovered in the last century, which he calls the “century of papyrology.” Janko says that—partly because of a scarcity of specialists in reading papyrus—“it will take a thousand years to publish the backlog of texts that have already been found.” And there are still dozens of rolls from Herculaneum to be reconstructed (it can take 9 years to do one roll). And there’s a lot more excavation to be done at Herculaneum. Janko concludes: “We need … more papyrologists, especially experts in latin, Coptic, Arabic and ancient philosophy.”

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