Ten Commandments for Preparing Papyrus Editions

1. Report what you see; respect the original

2. Document your decisions, not everything under the sun

3. Do not document bad thinking or cul de sacs

4. Provide “un résumé qui fait connaître de manière concise et précise le contenu du document” (O. Guyotjeannin, J. Pycke and B.-M. Tock); a general introduction to a text should “retrace” the text, everything else is strictly speaking unnecessary

5. Do not use individual words and expressions in the text to display bibliographical knowledge in the notes; use notes only to provide necessary comment which cannot well be presented in consecutive form in the general introduction to the text

6. Do not print all passages containing the same individual words and expressions in full in the notes (and do not copy them wholesale from the DDBDP), but only when they are part of an argument

7. Read everything you refer to

8. Avoid inconclusive references like ff. or sqq.

9. Keep two maxims in mind: “Dots are a papyrologist’s conscience” (after B.A. van Groningen) and “trop d’hermétisme nuit à nos sciences” (L. Robert)

10. Put risky or exempli gratia restitutions in the notes

Ten Commandments for Using Papyrus Editions

1. Read the ancient text first

2. In doubt read the translation

3. If still unsatisfied, read the part of the introduction which “retraces” the text

4. If all else fails, read the notes

5. If this does not help, try to undo the interventions of the editor in the text (the following three maxims of P.W. Pestman may help)

6. One must be cautious with regard to emendations and corrections suggested by the editor

7. If the editor has to accept a mistake in a lacuna, there is almost certainly something wrong

8. If in an uncertain context the editor makes suggestions, emendations or supplements but the resulting phrase sounds odd, one should not follow him

9. Older comments are not necessarily outdated: “Le bon sens ne vieillit pas” (F. Lot)

10. If the editor fails to provide internal cross references (e.g. to plates in the edition), add them in the margin of your copy

Send your comments to ancient.history@classics.uc.edu.

© Peter van Minnen 2007

Work in progress!

A translation of all documents from ancient Alexandria that survive on papyrus.