Emendatio (“correction”) is the second major stage of the so-called Lachmannian method of textual restoration (constitutio textus), placed between recensio and dispositio. Based on the assumption that the copying process of a text spoils its original content and language, emendatio consists of correcting the “errors” and “corruptions” which the editor has detected as a result of recensio.

Broadly speaking, emendatio can be mechanical – when it is carried out ope codicum, that is by choosing the “correct” readings only on the basis of the reconstructed stemma codicum (technically this stage is still part of recensio) – or by judgement – when it is carried out ope ingenii and the editor restores the “original” readings either conjecturally (divinatio) or according to internal criteria like lectio difficilior, usus scribendi, as well as any other peculiarities ascribed to the potential author of the work, the language variety he/she presumably used or the alleged period of composition (selectio). Sometimes the reconstructed reading is obtained by combining variants that are only partially correct (combinatio). Cf. Avalle (1972, p. 116).


– Avalle, D’Arco Silvio. 1972. Princìpî di critica testuale. Padova: Antenore.
– Maas, Paul. 1960. Textkritik. 4th ed. Leipzig: Teubner. – First ed. 1927.
Wettlaufer, Ryan Donald. 2013 No longer written: the use of conjectural emendation in the restoration of the text of the New Testament, the Epistle of James as a case study. Leiden: Brill.  

In other languages

GE: emendatio (the Latin term refers to the whole process), Emendation
FR: emendatio, correction.
IT: emendatio (the Latin term refers to the whole process), emendamento per congettura.


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