Amedeo Peyron: umanesimo e filologia nella Torino di primo Ottocento

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Abstract

The chapter considers the work and theory of the classical scholar Amedeo Peyron (1785-1870). Peyron was essentially a ‘grammarian’, a lexicographer, papyrologist, and textual critic. He was one of the few Italian scholars of the time to be acquainted with contemporary developments in German philology, which, of course, holds a crucial place in the evolution of nineteenth-century classical scholarship. This affiliation engendered a conflict between Peyron and contemporary Italian scholars. The latter were sceptical of the ‘aridity’ of the German method, and their approach was dominated by two tendencies: on the one hand there was what we may call a humanistic approach, which considered the classics as repositories of wisdom and beauty, and on the other hand there was what we may call the antiquarian approach, which amounted to the indiscriminate collection of the material evidence of the past. Despite his ‘technical’ interests and his conviction of the importance of scientific rigour, which he inherited from the German tradition, Peyron did not lose some elements which were characteristic of the traditional approaches, such as an interest in the contents and didactic potential of Classical texts. Moreover, he did not see textual criticism and linguistics as the only serious aspect of classical scholarship. The figure of Peyron also introduces the problem of the ‘scientificity’ of classical scholarship, that is, whether and how classical scholarship can aspire to the same degree of knowledge claimed by science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClassics Scholars: between Theory and Practice
EditorsGiuseppe Pezzini, Stefano Rebeggiani
Place of PublicationPisa and Rome
PublisherFabrizio Serra Editore
Pages77-87
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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