Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ludwig Traube, Textgeschichte der Regula S. Benedicti (1898)

'The Quellen und Untersuchungen zur lateinischen Philologie des Mittelalters are not to be discontinued. Traube utilized them for the ‘opuscula’ of his pupils. His teeming brain provided an inexhaustible supply of subjects which he had not time to work out himself and which he handed over to others. In his O Roma Nobilis (Munich, 1891) he had shown how great was the influence of Sedulius Scottus on ninth century learning and how many MSS. were written by Sedulius himself or his Irish companions. This line of investigation has been followed out by Dr. Hellmann in the first volume of the series, Sedulius Scottus. The next volume deals with a kindred theme, Johannes Scottus, by Dr. Rand (now at Harvard). Traube’s wonderful edition of the Rule of St. Benedict, the ideal for every editor of a Latin text, brought in its train the third volume, Untersuchungen zur Überlieferungsgeschichte der ältesten lateinischen Mönchsregeln, by Dr. Plenkers. Another fruitful suggestion of the master, that the records of sixteenth century Latin scholars would throw light on the original home of many extant (and lost) MSS of Latin classics, led to Lehmann's Franciscus Modius, which is to be followed by other treatises of this kind by the same hand. The other volumes of the series which have appeared as yet are Dr. Becker's Textgeschichte Liudprands von Cremona, Dr. Lowe's Die ältesten Kalendarien aus Monte Cassino, Dr. Neff’s Die Gedichte des Paulus Diaconus. But there are almost as many more 'overflows' from Traube's flood of discovery which are outside this series. His detection of Lupus of Ferrieres as the corrector of the Berne MS. of Valerius Flaccus led to Schnetz's Ein Kritiker des Valerius Maximus im 9 Jahrhundert (Neuburg a. D., 1901). His projected edition of Ammianus Marcellinus, after his discovery of the text- tradition, was handed over to Dr. Clark. A hint of his on the lessons to be learnt from a comparison of an uncial archetype, the Puteaneus of Livy, with its minuscule transcript in the Vatican, led indirectly to Prof. Shipley's useful booklet on Certain Sources of Corruption in Latin Manuscripts (New York, 1904). I mention only a few instances, out of many. Other books of the kind are still to be published - Dr. Lowe’s account of Beneventan script, Dr. B. A. Mueller’s of the ‘subscriptiones’ in Latin MSS. (the traces of ancient editions), etc., etc. What a wonderful record for one who was an invalid for a great part of his life and who died in his forty-sixth year! As I stood some months ago outside his house at Munich I said to myself, 'How many paths have stretched out from this little garden, on this side and on that, into all quarters of the great world of learning!''  W.M. Lindsay, reviewing Traube's posthumously published  Vorlesungen und Abhandlungen. Erster Band. Zur Paläographie und Handschriftenkunde, Classical Quarterly 3.2 (1909), pp. 132-136 at 136.
Traube was born in 1861 into prominent Jewish family in Berlin. His father (also Ludwig) was a doctor and pathologist. The younger Traube suffered from agoraphobia as a young man. As a consequence he would often hold lectures and classes at home in his apartment. (In this he had been anticipated by Ludwig Snr., who himself had conducted some apparently path-breaking 'animal experiments' in his own Berlin apartment in the 1840s....). Traube's final years were blighted by the leukemia that would eventually kill him. Before then, however, was a brilliant and highly productive career in terms both of research published and pupils taught. Influenced by the example set by Delisle at the Ecole des Chartes Traube's own blend of palaeography, philology and historical insight was responsible for originating what was later to become known as the Munich school of palaeography. He received his doctorate in 1883 with a  dissertation as Macrobius' sources. His Habilitation, on Carolingian poetry, followed in 1888 and would be published in the same year as Karolingische Dichtungen. Ædelwulf, Alchuine, Angilbert, Rhythmen.  By 1897 Traube was a member of the central directorate of the  Monumenta Germaniae Historica. His extensive personal library would form a key component of the MGH's own collection in Munich. It was catalogued in 2008 - an act of institutional piety to a foundational figure - and the catalogue, all 833 pages of it, can be accessed as a PDF from the MGH's own site, here
Anecdotal evidence hints at youthful arrogance. A teacher's query about his preparation just prior to an examination led Traube supposedly to respond that it was his professors, rather than he, who really needed to revise. He seems to have outgrown such (possibly apocryphal) arrogance. His students, a circle that included Paul Lehmann, E.A. Lowe, E.K. Rand, C.H. Beeson, and Siegmund Hellmann, to name but a few, revered him: "Sein Name hatte einen seltsam reinen Klang, und wo man ihn aussprach, löste er ein unbegrenztes Gefühl der Verehrung aus." ("His name had a strange, pure ring to it, and whenever someone spoke it, it triggered a boundless feeling of reverence.") The overall impression is of  infectious intellectual energy. E.A. Lowe, for example, would recall 'the feverish gusto with which Traube devoured a newly arrived issue of the Revue Benedictine. The notes that it spurred him to make and throw off would start settling on the floor like a light snowfall.' As several of the names suggest, Traube's influence spanned the Atlantic, and was an important factor in the formation of early twentieth-century U.S. scholarship in post-classical Latin.  
Of his work on the Benedictine Rule his pupil, E.K. Rand, wrote: 'Completely reversing the methods of his predecessors, Schmidt and Wölfflin, Traube showed that the older extant MSS of the Benedictine rule represented a late and interpolated edition prepared, most probably by Simplicius the third abbot of Monte Cassino; certain younger MSS, on the other hand, descend almost immediately from the autograph of St. Benedict, of which a copy had been made by order of Charlemagne at the close of the eighth century. The best representative of this “normal text” is Codex Sangallensis 914 ('A') copied directly and most carefully from Charlemagne’s MS in 817 or soon after, for Reginbert of Reichenau.' [E.K. Rand reviewing Traube’s pupil, Heribert Plenkers’ Untersuchungen zur Uberlieferungsgeschichte der ältesten lateinischen Mönchsregeln. Quellen und Untersuchungen zur lateinischen Philologie des Mittelalters I.3 (Munich, 1906), Classical Philology 3 (1908), pp. 124-5.]

Ludwig Traube, Textgeschichte der Regula S. Benedicti (Berlin, 1898).