Difficilior lectio potior

Classical scholars have, I believe, a general principle, difficilior lectio potior–the more difficult reading is to be preferred–in textual criticism. If the Archbishop of Canterburry tells one man that he believes in God, and another that he does not, then it is probably the second assertion which is true, since otherwise it is very difficult to understand why he should have made it, while there are many excellent reasons for his making the first whether it be true or false.

G H Hardy, The Indian Mathematician Ramanujan, American mathematical monthly, Vol. 44, 137-155, 1937.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: