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(from Greek atheteo, "to set aside, deny")Term used in the critical edition and emendation of texts, meaning originally "to omit", in practice "to mark as questionable", certain words, phrases, or lines of text. In current practice, athetizing a text is part of the process of somehow creating an "authentic" critical version, marking, without removing, lines which may be spurious additions on grounds of language, historical grammar, or sense.

The word was first coined by Zenodotus, librarian at the Museum in Alexandria in the 3rd century B.C. His great scholarly project was to create a single, definitive edition of Homer. Many of his emendations were made on subjective, usually moral grounds; e.g. violent insults were marked as later additions because of their unseemly nature. Later debates focused on the ambiguous relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, arguing for the removal of lines which suggested homosexuality.

Ath"e*tize (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Athetized (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Athetizing (?).] [Gr. &?;, fr. &?; set aside, not fixed; &?; not + &?; to place.]

To set aside or reject as spurious, as by marking with an obelus.


© Webster 1913

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