Random Quote #58 topic: nietzsche, We Philologists by Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900, translated by Kennedy, J. M.

Horace was summoned by Bentley as before a judgment seat, the authority
of which he would have been the first to repudiate. The admiration which
a discriminating man acquires as a philologist is in proportion to the
rarity of the discrimination to be found in philologists. Bentley's
treatment of Horace has something of the schoolmaster about it It would
appear at first sight as if Horace himself were not the object of
discussion, but rather the various scribes and commentators who have
handed down the text: in reality, however, it is actually Horace who is
being dealt with. It is my firm conviction that to have written a single
line which is deemed worthy of being commented upon by scholars of a
later time, far outweighs the merits of the greatest critic. There is a
profound modesty about philologists. The improving of texts is an
entertaining piece of work for scholars, it is a kind of riddle-solving;
but it should not be looked upon as a very important task. It would be
an argument against antiquity if it should speak less clearly to us
because a million words stood in the way!

-- Friedrich Nietzsche


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