Monika Asztalos delivers her farewell lecture on textual criticism

St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 817, p. 44 – Aristotle · Boethius · Remmius Favinus (?)

On March 12, we will celebrate the contributions of Monika Asztalos (Professor of Latin) to Classical scholarship and to the teaching of Classics at the University of Oslo. Professor Asztalos is retiring from teaching this year.


Please join us for a reception at 15:00 (common area on the fifth floor of Georg Morgenstiernes hus), followed by a farewell lecture, 16:15-18:00 (GM 462).


The lecture is entitled:


Textual Criticism: to find or create meaning in a text


All are welcome!


Abstract for the lecture follows:


Textual criticism is an active search for meaning. Two types of difficulties that present themselves to textual critics will be discussed: (1) In philosophical texts that are in some way groundbreaking, current words are often used in a novel technical sense. To search for meaning in such a text has similarities with cracking a code. The challenge lies in disregarding present expectations on a philosophical text and not yielding to the temptation of changing the text to conform it to one’s own expectations. (2) In Roman epic poetry a story is told with words and meter. Poets sometimes break the rules of meter, hence anomalies that have occasionally been considered flaws and removed from the text by active textual criticism. I will argue that such anomalies are intended and that they serve the purpose of illustrating emotions going through spectators in the poem. I will provide examples from (1) my own forthcoming critical edition of Boethius’s Commentary on Aristotle’s Categories (c. 510 CE) and (2) Vergil’s Aeneid. All texts will be made available during the lecture in handouts with English translations.

Published Mar. 6, 2019 6:11 PM - Last modified Mar. 8, 2019 4:07 PM