John of Antioch, Inflated and Deflated

Byzantion 82:437-450 (2012)
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Prompted by the recent publication of two conflicting editions of John of Antioch, this paper raises two methodological issues. First, it is pointed out that both editions are unsatisfactory because they fail to apply the methodology tried and tested by F. Jacoby in his Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. No distinction is made between collecting fragments and reconstructing the work, nor is the Minimalbestand of fragments presented in a clear and unambiguous way to the reader. Second, the paper suggests that the discussion is vitiated by a lack of reflection on the basic notions with which the research is conducted. In particular, the question is raised if it is in every case possible to identify the original text as composed by its author and it is suggested that the concept of 'living text', indicating that a text could be adapted and changed by successive readers and copyists, should also be extended to early Byzantine historiography. In other words, the quest for the 'original' John of Antioch may be ultimately doomed to fail



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