Abstract | Two Thousand Years of Scholarly Apps

Neel Smith

This paper first looks at how ancient scholars exploited the technology of writing to add functions — or, in more contemporary term, “apps” — to otherwise linear texts. Examples, with special emphasis on manuscript evidence, from fields as remote as astronomy, geography, chronology and grammar suggest that modern distinctions of “literary” and “scientific” scholarship can mask important practices, language and habits of thought shared across these scholarly domains.

In the second part of the paper, I draw on this reading of ancient scholars’ work to consider how digital technologies offer can similarly incorporate apps in editions of ancient texts. The paper is accompanied by software offering interactive access to digital editions of ancient scholarship.




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