Textual Criticism, Edition History, Interpretation
In the case of text editions, or critical editions of texts handed down by classical authors, philology seems to precede, and thus to have a priority over, hermeneutics. In the traditional (positivistic) view, first comes the reconstruction of texts through critical examination of the sources and the different text variants in order to establish an authentic, reliable, possibly canonical version; then follows, in a second step, the interpretation of the texts thus established. Interpretation is supposed to need something as a solid „Textgrundlage” so as to set itself into motion; it is thus seen to be parasitic upon pre-given philological work. Although this description of the way scholarly work is ususally done in the humanities may be not wholly untrue, more often than not it does not hold, for the establishing and editing of texts is itself not something performed in a space entirely exempt from, and free of, pre-understanding and interpretation. The following paper illustrates this thesis through reference to, and case studies of, the edition history of such eminent authors as Hegel, Kant, Aristotle and Heidegger.