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The Greek Papyri                        239
were made or corruptions occurred at a date earlier even than
the papyri, and the very fact that some of the cmces in the
medieval manuscripts were already recognized as such by the
editors of the papyri supports the soundness of the tradition as
a whole. The corollary to this is that the wider flights of fancy
in emendation on the part of modern scholars receive singularly
little encouragement; the palmary emendation dreamed of by
scholars has only very rarely obtained confirmation. (A classic
exception is Wilaraowitz's correction of the senseless KapTrov ec?
addvarov in Diogenes Laertius v. 7 to KapTrov laaOdvarov which
was later confirmed by the Didymus papyrus.) On the whole,
the influence of the papyri has been towards a soberer and more
cautious handling of texts. Again, wre have learnt, rather para-
doxically, that in assessing the value of a manuscript too much
stress should not be laid on its antiquity: firstly because some
of the early Ptolemaic papyri are conspicuously careless and
sometimes worse than careless; secondly, and more important,
because it is by no means uncommon for a papyrus to agree with
a reading in one of the so-called deteriores against an earlier
manuscript. That they support the earlier and better manu-
scripts more often than the deteriores is true; what is important
is that they should support the latter at all. So although the
text provided by the papyri may not always be as sound through-
out as that of the best medieval manuscripts, this eclecticism
they display has had a marked effect on textual criticism.
The view that the function of the critic was to find, where
possible, the best (and generally this was the oldest) manuscript
of his author, and adhere to that as far as possible at the risk of
dismissing attractive readings of other manuscripts as due to the
ingenuity of scholars or the ignorance of scribes., has received a
severe setback. In as far as the eclectic principle implies that the
critic must rely more on his knowledge of the language and of
the author and on his common sense and less on external criteria,
the change has been wholly beneficial.