In praise of footnotes

Ill at home today with a horrible cold, and unable to read much.  I picked up the translation by Frank Williams of the Panarion of Epiphanius, that great late 4th century catalogue of ancient heresies.  It is indeed a blessing to have this material in English.

But I found myself looking for footnotes, of the kind that we see in Victorian editions.  In these ample discussions, many an interesting point can be found.  In general, modern footnoting tends to be references, rather than disgressions, expansions, or clarifications.  This is a shame, in a way. 

Let’s hear it for the prolix footnote!

2 thoughts on “In praise of footnotes

  1. I agree, I love to read and use in my own writings, long digressionary footnotes. Sometimes I just feel like you have to have it to fully explain what you are writing about.

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