ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 44 (2007) 219-222
Kathleen McNamee, Annotations in Greek and Latin Texts from Egypt.
American Studies in Papyrology 45. American Society of Papyrologists 2007. xvii + 577 pages + 33 plates. ISBN 978-0-9700591-7-8.
Kathleen McNamee's work on marginal annotations in papyri is well
known, not least from her unpublished 1977 dissertation, which has the peculiar honor of being found in bound or microfilmed form in nearly every
major papyrological library. Her subsequent publications have added greatly
to our knowledge and understanding of literary papyrology, but none of them
has rendered the dissertation obsolete - and the same is true of the current
This work is a mighty tome containing not only a complete corpus of annotations in literary papyri, but also the definitive study of those annotations
and what they reveal about the history of reading, teaching, and scholarship.
It is an excellent book that both provides a solid, reliable account of what we
know about ancient marginalia in general and advances the boundaries of that
knowledge in a constructive and convincing fashion.
The corpus of marginalia, which occupies nearly 400 pages, is the core
of the book and contains "all but the most desperately fragmentary marginal
and interlinear comments in the texts we have from Graeco-Roman Egypt"
This material is more voluminous than one would think: the corpus includes
almost three hundred different annotated papyri containing between them
about two thousand separate notes. For each of these McNamee provides a
text, translation (except in very fragmentary cases), and notes. The texts are
normally those of earlier editors, but some corrections and conjectures have
been made. It would have been better if McNamee had given more information
about whose version of each papyrus she was following: often her text differs
significantly from that of the original edition because she is following a later
editor, but in many cases she neither gives a reference to that later editor nor
indicates that other editors have read the text differently. Whenever I checked,
however, I found that she was in fact using the best text available and reporting
its readings accurately. The translations are generally her own, as few other
scholars have had the courage to attempt them, and are very good.
The corpus is organized for maximum efficiency on the part of the user
and sets new standards in that respect. Resisting the temptation to immortalize herself at readers' expense by giving her own number to each entry,
McNamee has arranged the corpus largely by Mertens-Pack numbers (though
some papyri not yet in MP3 are also included). She has also devised a system
of marginal signs worthy of Aristarchus, so that readers can see at a glance