The internal relations within the recensio of the multiversion Alexanderlied (each of the three witnesses representing an autonomous Fassung), like those of similar early vernacular documents, is a tough problem to textual criticism and to the understanding of the involved cultural phenomena. This is the reason why the scholarship of German medieval literacy displayed an inborn aptitude for “new”, material approaches. This paper reassesses the ecdotic issues posited by the varia lectio of the Alexanderlied’s manuscripts (which is difficult to be classi fied and evaluated with neo-Lachmannian procedures) and the editorial treatment they received by the “page paradigm” philology. Further, the paper will question how the digital documentary editions and digital archives (so patently advantageous for the editorial treatment of similar early vernacular traditions) could replace, in their hermeneutic rank, the interpretative strength of the classical philological method and of its hypotheses. In other terms: does the means justify the end?
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