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Commentaries are important research tools in the field of Hellenic studies: even those classicists who are most critical of them tend to use them frequently. More fundamentally still, commentaries seem to be inextricable from the very notion of classical literature. This article focuses on four fundamental issues that are likely to confront anybody who plans to use or write a commentary. The first section considers the historical relationship between classical commentaries and classical literature. The second section discusses the commentary both as an act of reading and as a text in its own right. The third section examines how commentaries establish relationships between texts and between readers. The final section raises some issues of value: the value of commentaries and of the texts they seek to elucidate, but also the valuable role played by readers of the classical commentary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743726
ISBN (Print)9780199286140
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Classical commentaries
  • Classical literature
  • Commentary value
  • Historical relationship


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