Writing the Thesaurus of Latinity: A Study in the History of Philological Practice


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




What constitutes a philological contribution and how can such contributions be preserved or outmoded? This dissertation examines these questions historically through the lens of three signal lexicographical projects: the sixteenth-century Latin and Greek lexica of the French scholar-printers Robert and Henri Estienne; a final, eighteenth-century edition of the Estienne Latin lexicon by a professor at the University of Göttingen, Johann Matthias Gesner; and the nineteenth-century German-led effort to create a Latin dictionary of unprecedented proportion, the Thesaurus linguae Latinae. From strict compilatory reserve to self-archiving, mechanical evidence-collection, and attempts at completeness, there emerges a history of the practices by which philologists have looked to deal with a recurring knowledge-production challenge: how to balance fidelity to the sources with the imperative to produce a distinct, innovative scholarly product.