First, disclosure: I am a great admirer of Alberto Bernabé, whom I have had the pleasure to meet on several occasions; he is an excellent scholar, and a fine person. I am also a good friend of Douglas Olson, whose review of Bernabé’s edition Jean-Fabrice Nardelli describes in the most hostile terms, adding that “there is not a single one piece of his in this journal that does not reek of venom and is not bitter in the extreme.”
This is wholly unjust. Olson writes: “Bernabé’s wide learning and devotion to his subject are apparent on every page of this volume, which seems destined to become the standard edition of this odd and fascinating material for a generation or more.” This is hardly venomous. Olson goes on to note, and to document carefully, some inconvenient features in the presentation, and a rather large number of typographical errors, erroneous citations, and the like. The purpose of this list, which certainly cost Olson plenty of time, is to facilitate corrections in a future edition, which Olson hopes to see published in the near future. This is just what a responsible reviewer should do; were Olson to correct me in this way, I should be grateful — not resentful.
Alberto Bernabé does not need a defense of this sort. Neither Olson nor anyone else doubts his erudition or his care. We all make mistakes, and reviewers are obligated to note them, especially, as Olson says, in a work “destined to become the new standard text of the Orphic fragments.” Let us not be over-sensitive.