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Jum'ah, 16 Dzul Hijjah 1441 (Thursday, August 6th, 2020)
August 8th, 2008 06:34
The Editing of Malay Manuscripts and Textual Criticism
The Editing of Malay Manuscripts and Textual Criticism

By: E. U. KRATZ[2]

The work of editing and publishing Malay manuscripts, which are said to amount to some five thousand in all (Ismail Hussein, 1974: 12), has been in progress ever since the early 19th century. By 1846 eleven texts were available in print (Lenting, 1846: XI). In 1937, almost one hundred years later, this number had increased to 87 editions of various kinds which for the greater part are based on manuscript material (Hooykaas, 1937: 279-81). The first dissertation concerning itself with a Malay text and tradition according to Ismail Hussein was published in 1895 (Ismail Hussein, 1974: 31-32). It was followed by some thirty other theses, most of which have been published. Only few scholarly text editions are not the subject of dissertations. Yet, as recently as 1969 one of the foremost scholars in the field of Indonesian philology wrote: "The scientific foundation of the work of the philologist in classical Indonesian languages has yet to be fully worked out and explained" (Teeuw, 1969: 59). This view, which sums up more than one hundred and fifty years of scholarly effort, was repeated when another scholar wrote: "It will have become clear that the task of editing is a complicated one requiring a rigid adherence to the facts rather than an inflexible theoretical approach; the experience of generations of scholars of the European classics has much to teach the student of the Indonesian classics, whether in Javanese or other languages. There exists, furthermore, a need fully to explain and develop the principles of textual criticism as they apply in this field" (Robson, 1971: 42). If these two views express a certain amount of caution, a third scholar appears to be more confident about the principles and methods of the ‘Indonesian‘ philologist. He has defined the task and aims of scholars as follows: "to publish critical text editions according to the methods which have been developed in classical and western philology" ("kritische Textausgaben zu verb‘ffentlichen, laut den Verfahren, die sich in der klassischen und abendlandischen Philologie entwickelt haben") (Brakel, 1977: 88).

The contrast between the reservation of the first two above-cited scholars and the confidence emanating from the last quote is evident and most disconcerting to any would-be editor. To find a reason for the contradiction as well as perhaps an answer to the question of what the editor of an Indonesian text is to do and what principles he is to follow, it might be best to investigate what previous editors have tried to achieve, what principles they have endeavored to follow, and what they have actually done. In the following I shall try to discuss these questions in relation to only one of the various Indonesian literatures, the Malay one.

This restriction is necessary for two reasons. Firstly, I am not qualified to discuss the relevance and importance of the statements quoted for Indonesian literatures other than Malay. Secondly, I must not assume that principles which may be relevant for Malay are necessarily correct when applied to other literatures and are easily transferable to, say, Javanese, Buginese, or Balinese literature, and vice versa, though they may well have relevance for these.

Malay philology, as understood in the context of this paper, concerns itself with the paleographic, linguistic and literary analysis of textual material in Malay preserved in the form of manuscripts.[3] Roughly speaking, this means that the material under discussion is provided by those texts which generally fall under the heading ‘Classical Malay‘, a qualification to be used with the greatest caution, not only because it gives rise to a misleading association with the ‘classics‘ of the European tradition, but also because it suggests an image of linguistic uniformity which for some time now has been recognized as being incorrect. Perhaps the term ‘Traditional Malay Literature‘ is, in general, to be preferred. Many of the editions of the 19th century were prepared as teaching material for Europeans and as exemplary reading-matter for Indonesians, and most of them fall very short of our present expectations. Apart from the fact that some editors did not even mention the name and number of the manuscript or manuscripts which they used as a basis for the published text, the approach of many editors, right into the present century, was highly normative. An editor‘s idea of what was correct and good Malay manifested itself not only in the uniform spelling he used, but also in the way he handled the language of the original(s) with regard to grammar, syntax, semantics, and stylistics. It is not necessary to single out individual offenders here, and when criticizing the 19th century approach one should not forget that already in 1889 C. Snouck Hurgronje criticized the "widely prevalent habit of correcting Malay texts according to one‘s own taste without critical principles" ("weithin herrschende Sitte, malaiische Texte nach eigenem Geschmack ohne kritische Grundsatze zu verbessern") (Snouck Hurgronje, 1889: VIII).

Only rarely was textual criticism the editor‘s basic aim. One exception was Lenting, who expressly justified his new edition of the Hikajat Sultan Ibrahim Radja Negeri Irak, which had been edited previously by Roorda van Eysinga in 1822, thus: "Mr. Roorda van Eysinga has dealt with this work not so much critically as in an interpretative way. He appears, in fact, to have had only one manuscript available to him, the text of which he has followed faithfully, except in those places which had been corrupted by the copyist, and which he has tried to correct by conjectures" (“De Heer Roorda van Eysinga heeft dit werk dus minder kritisch, dan wel verklarend behandeld. Hij schijnt ook slechts een enkel Handschrift ter zijner beschikking gehad te hebben, waarvan hij den tekst getrouw gevolgd is, met uitzondering van die plaatsen, die door den afschrijver bedorven waren, en die hij door conjecturen heeft trachten te verbeteren . ..”) (Lenting, 1846: 1),. Lenting‘s good intentions, however, are spoiled by the fact that, although he indicates his own conjectures, he does not identify the different manuscripts he uses. Yet he is much more precise than some of the earlier editors of the 20th century, and his work is certainly very much in line with what was regarded as good practice by some of his colleagues in the ‘classics‘.

It would be interesting to follow the successors of Lenting one by one, but suffice it to say that although none of the earlier editors ever referred to the work being done in classical criticism, they all employed its methods and techniques, followed its principles and looked tacitly for support to some of the more commonly known achievements in this field of study, which were familiar to most of them from their grammar school days. None of them, however, actually kept abreast with the more advanced developments in classical studies or was involved in the continuing discussion about principles. To my knowledge it was not until 1971 that the editor of an Indonesian (that is, a Middle Javanese) text, referred expresses verbs to achievements in European classical studies.[4] Although practically all their editions of Malay texts have, in varying degrees, made use of the principles of classical criticism and of its editorial methods, scholars of Malay seem to be divided about the aim and purpose of their activity. Not that this difference of view is ever mentioned, but it can be inferred from the work done. There are those who are deeply committed to the stemmatic theory[5] and who spare no effort to reconstruct the text of what they assume, on a scientific basis, to have been the archetype, which archetype is then often identified with the lost original. To followers of this approach 19th century manuscript copies generally appear to be of very inferior quality. There are others who follow a more pragmatic course and concentrate on the qualified edition of individual manuscripts chosen for their own intrinsic merits. These scholars are the ones whom in a Latin context one of the ardent admirers of Housman‘s sarcasm — extending the context from Latin to Malay — would label as too lazy, or simply not capable of using their brains (see Willis, 1972, esp. chapter 1). And thirdly there are those who in theory seem to follow the first approach, but who in fact compromise and follow the second, ending up in utter methodological confusion. This confusion immediately prompts one to reflect on the nature of Malay texts and manuscripts and the relevance to them of principles appropriate to the conditions of classical studies.

What, then, is the nature and history of Malay literature? Is it comparable to the development and history of the European classics, thus justifying adherence to the same principles and pursuit of the same goal? In answer to this question let me first summarize in brief what I consider to be the essential features of the philology of Greek and Latin texts.[6] (To mention both in the same breath is not, of course, to imply an exact identity of their nature)

In European classics we are dealing with texts which have undergone a number of clearly discernible changes over a period of many centuries, down to the middle Ages and the Renaissance. They are written in languages which were effectively dead for a large part of the period during which they were transmitted. The changes in the languages concerned are known. Regional, historical, and ideological variations in the vocabulary, grammar, syntax and style are well documented, in some instances through epigraphically material, and in the case of many Greek texts through papyri by which a textual tradition can be traced far back, enabling the student to identify the interpolations and corruptions of centuries immediately. The topical character of most of this literature, certain features that are peculiar to a given period, as well as what we can identify as individual and personal style and expression, all provide further clues for the analysis. Naturally, rhetorical conventions and metrics also play their due part in the process of restoring a corrupt text. These aids do not necessarily bring us to the Urtext, but rather to an archetype that itself is already corrupt and full of interpolations which need correcting (cf. Housman, 1961: 40), even though this is not always possible.

In Malay philology, by contrast, we are confronted with a living tradition. Not only is Malay a living language — the understanding of a text preserved in a 17th century copy poses no great intellectual problem to a speaker of modern Malay —, but there is also the fact that the copying of Malay manuscripts is considered not so much a mechanical process of reproduction as a creative process.

And what has been regarded by many editors as evidence of the Malay copyist‘s laziness, carelessness, and ignorance might just as well be viewed as a manifestation of a writer‘s freedom in using the text. It was no less a writer than Raja Ali Haji who in 1865 encouraged future copyists of the Tuhfat al-Nafis to continue his work and to add to it where it was lacking as follows: "I had not obtained the names of her husband and children when compiling this genealogy, but whoever of my children and grandchildren after me can obtain them, I hope he will add them to this, my work, if possible". And on the final page Raja Ali Haji writes: "Later, in the future, whoever of my children and grandchildren may wish to continue this history, this will be right . . ."[7] Even the variant versions of the Sejarah Melayu, which belie the Western title, seem to indicate that the concept of the sacrosanctity of a text once written down needs reconsideration.

With the mention of Raja Ali Haji it should be pointed out, however, that most Malay texts are anonymous and that we do not know who is usually hiding behind phrases like fakir, yang empunya ceritera, and sahibu‘l-hikayat.

Looking at the Malay manuscript tradition from a historical point of view it is probably fair to say that Malay manuscripts derive from a period corresponding to that to which classical scholars are trying so hard to penetrate with their principles and methodology. In other words, in absolute terms Malay manuscripts seem to be much closer to their precious prototypes than European classical manuscripts are to theirs. After all, even the important classical papyri date from a later period than their Urtexts. One might almost say that many of the extant Malay manuscripts, which were copied at a time when the language of the texts was still alive and when the texts themselves possessed more than academic interest, are the kind of archetypes which European philology is striving so hard with its sophisticated methodology to recuperate, and which even the important classical papyri can not always help to reconstruct.

As regards the Malay texts, very little is known about regional and historical differences in grammar and style. Dialectography has scarcely begun, and present efforts cannot go far beyond the identification of influences from other Indonesian languages in vocabulary and spelling and the noting of the occurrence of words that are not common to Malay in general, but which are attributable to certain broad regions such as the Moluccas, South Kalimantan, South Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, and Java (not considering Javanese migrations to other regions). To put the manuscripts at our disposal in a historical perspective on the basis of internal evidence, i.e. by using linguistic and literary criteria, is hardly possible at present. It is only recently that serious efforts have got underway to identify and isolate linguistic elements belonging to Malay strata predating what is commonly held to be Classical Malay, and it is far too early yet to be able to present a comprehensive picture, even if one admitted a concept like ‘Standard Classical Malay‘ and its definition as the Malay of the late Abdullah edition of the Sejarah Melayu (Brakel, 1975: 29). The identification of older strata of Malay is not easy, and is not made any the easier by the circumstance that many of the oldest manuscripts are of a religious nature, written in a highly specialized language not always well understood by the scribes themselves, and contain translations of Islamic texts which themselves may have undergone considerable mutations before reaching the Indonesian area.

The Malay manuscripts we possess today span a period of approximately four hundred years. This period is not marked by any conspicuous linguistic changes, and we are obliged to admit that our knowledge of the language and literature only begins at a time when Islam appears to have already exerted an influence on the cultural traditions, as a result of which very little of what has been passed down is immediately identifiable as of pre-Islamic origin, even if we know that the nucleus of a given text must considerably antedate the copies preserved. The syntax, expression and style of most of our Malay texts are stereotyped, iterative and interchangeable, and considering further the slowness of the linguistic changes during the period concerned, it is difficult to find valuable clues for the reconstruction of a single archetype. Even so, as Bevenot remarks about the patristic treatises: "There is, however, no need to suppose that all our existing MSS are the product of a process of considerable corruption, comparison and contamination. It is equally possible that some of them have maintained a comparatively independent tradition, even if we cannot distinguish which these are" (Bevenot, 1961: 132). Moreover, there are of course those texts which must have been created during the period under discussion, without our knowing where and when.

Although in the case of rhymed poetry, such as the syair, it is easier to detect errors and contaminations, we face the same difficulties as with prose texts when trying to establish a historical order (cf. for example Teeuw, 1966: 240 ff.), so that here, too, we can do little more than arrange the manuscripts or parts thereof in certain textual groups and traditions according to the internal criteria of language and content. In short, we may be able to identify groups and establish links horizontally, but are hardly able to do so vertically if the manuscripts do not provide us with external information (which in the study of the classics is usually regarded as the palaeographer‘s concern, hence its tendency to be neglected by editors in search of the best reading).

It can be assumed that in many cases more than one original was used in the copying of a given manuscript.[8] All original (i.e., not directly translated). Malay texts of the period under discussion, and even some translations, have come down to us generally in contaminated copies whose relationship to their archetype and Urtext is rarely recognizable because of horizontal transmission and what has been called an "open" tradition. And even if, in the case of some texts or some manuscripts within a broader textual tradition, it is possible to establish some sort of a stemmatic relationship of all or some of the extant manuscripts, this still does not provide us with a genuine Urtext. Very often the editor will end up either with different recessions, which in any case call for separate treatment, or with more or less interchangeable variants with no obvious advantage the one over the other. Given this specific nature of his material, he should preferably use one manuscript as a guide and the basis for his critical edition, not out of laziness or stupidity, but in order to avoid increasing the number of variants to be discussed by future scholars with a hybrid.

The special characteristics of Malay literature as described above, in fact, are very reminiscent of the conditions obtaining in patristic and New Testament studies, rather than European classics, and oblige the editor who does not wish to rigidly adhere to one theory to modify his approach in each individual case after careful consideration of the peculiarities involved and the most suitable treatment. This is not to reject or depreciate the stemmatic approach, which under certain carefully defined conditions should have a rightful place in the study of the relationship between manuscripts. But as experience has shown, stemmatics do not automatically yield an archetype. For example, a very recent manuscript whose unknown link with the Urtext happens to be shorter and more direct might very well preserve an older and better reading than another, older manuscript whose readings are welldocumented and often-copied but inaccurate.

When studying Malay manuscripts one has to accept the fact that in many cases the most we can achieve is a text free from obvious scribal errors such as haplographies and their opposite, dittographies, and no more than that.

At this point it might be useful to recall the character of some of our material. A large majority of the manuscripts now deposited in museums all over the world were copied in the sultanates of Riau and Johor. Does this justify the conclusion that the literary traditions of Riau and Johor dominated the Malay cultural scene? Significantly, some of the more interesting manuscripts, in fact, come from what is commonly regarded as the fringe of the Malay world, and from areas without an important political role like Johor. Is it possible that our knowledge of manuscripts depends on the fortuitous interest of a European who chanced to be at a certain place at a certain time and who happened to be able to buy manuscripts there (thus taking them out of circulation and ultimately preventing others from copying them)? Unfortunately, early buyers and collectors do not provide sufficient details as to how, where and why they collected these manuscripts — whether it was because they knew of the existence of manuscripts at a certain place, or because they happened to meet someone who was happy to part with his collection. Before the 19th century, interest in Malay manuscripts was coincidental and acquisitions were fortuitous. And when the Museum of the BGKW initiated its own acquisition program, the large scale of the latter may well have helped to mask or even distort the actual relations in the Malay cultural scene, as it focused especially on the one area of Riau, which happened to come under the control of successive colonial officials with a keen interest in Malay culture and history as such. My contention therefore is that it is impossible to draw any conclusions as regards the nature and history of Malay texts on the basis of the external evidence of manuscripts as provided by their provenance. On the basis of internal evidence it may eventually be possible to arrive at a chronological order and classificatory and distributional scheme, though numerical and quantitative specifications must remain potentially misleading.

Considering the above-described Malay conception of a text, in addition to the custom of horizontal transmission and the crossing of boundaries of textual traditions, we should perhaps ask if the concept of archetype and Urtext as it is used with respect to the classics or modern printed literature is relevant here. Are we justified in trying to reach beyond what we have in the manuscripts, apart from correcting the necessary and probable errors? Are the possible emendations of a modern scholar superior to the evidence contained in the manuscripts, especially as "it is often impossible to distinguish between the barbarisms of copyists and those of the original" (West, 1973: 70)? Shouldn‘t we ask whether the term "contamination", with its undoubtedly negative connotation, is appropriate in most cases? Perhaps it would be better to look at Malay manuscripts as they are and assign them their own place according to their own individual merits. In the case of a translation from Arabic, for example, we would accordingly have to settle for the reading of the Malay manuscript(s), instead of trying to find out how the work would have had to look linguistically if the translator had followed the original source more closely, or had understood it better. Is it not precisely this difference between the original and the translation which makes the study of these texts interesting and important? Even when editing a classical text "the editor must be clear which phase of its history he is restoring" (West, 1973: 70). When all is said and done, everybody wants a "good" text, but students of Malay in their effort to achieve this, inevitably find themselves caught in the same vicious circle as Zoetmulder (Zoetmulder, 1974: 60) has described for the study of Old Javanese literature. In order to get to know the language we have to have texts which faithfully reflect the manuscripts and furnish the material for further linguistic and literary study, which in turn may help to improve our understanding of particular manuscripts and textual problems. This process may eventually enable scholars to prepare editions which can pretend to definitiveness in the sense that there remains nothing more to be added to the elucidation of the text and the language of an entire tradition. But I apprehend that at the present stage, by preparing critical editions according to the principles of those editors who regard manuscripts solely as the carriers of variants, one is putting the cart before the horse. Malay studies would be well served if texts were prepared on the basis of chosen manuscripts, i.e., if manuscripts were edited critically under preservation of all those peculiarities which may not seem of much significance within the limited framework of the particular textual tradition, but which may well be important within a larger context.[9] After all, we do not yet know what is important or what we should look for, nor will we know until many more manuscripts have been studied and analyzed. If, on the other hand, editions are produced from which future scholars can only reconstruct the reading of the manuscript with great difficulty, or which may even oblige them to go back to the manuscript itself, then the whole work of editing will have been self-defeating.

To avoid misunderstanding, I would like to make it plain that I do not advocate one-manuscript editions and simple transliterations. It goes without saying that every editor worthy of that name must edit his text, which involves among other things dealing with spelling and punctuation in conventional ways, yet without imposing a rigid frame of preconceived standards upon the textual evidence of a manuscript which, as it stands, is in most cases a witness in its own right of a particular tradition in a particular place at a particular time and does not therefore deserve wanton interference. Hence in preparing his edition, the editor will have to concentrate on the edition of one particular manuscript, transferring other, comparative material to his notes, or indicating his own editorial efforts in such a way as not to obscure the testimony of his guiding manuscript as a witness of its own time and place.

In many cases a particular manuscript will unmistakably offer itself as a guiding manuscript and the basis for an edition. In other cases, where no manuscript shows any immediate advantage over others, the editor simply has to make a choice which he will have to try to justify by other than internal reasons. And in yet other cases a completely different and less straightforward tactic may have to be adopted, depending on the nature of the text and its tradition(s). The first approach, if followed sensibly, does not disregard the experience and knowledge gained elsewhere, and is in no way retrograde (as has been suggested) (Brakel, 1978: 68), although it is as open to misuse and perversion as any other method advocated. In fact, it could be argued that this approach is more realistic than the others in view of the specific conditions of Malay studies, as it offers those who cannot read such manuscripts easily or who have no access to these manuscripts — and is it not exactly these people that the philologist is working for? — a reliable foundation for their work.

Only a large number of editions of the kind advocated above would form a sound basis for comprehensive studies. And we should not forget that of the Malay manuscripts extant today only a minute fraction has been studied in one way or another, while many manuscripts have not even been described (which is as bad a fate as that of all those others which are wrongly catalogued and labeled). It is frequently argued that an accurate collation of all manuscripts of a particular text would be far too time-consuming and space-absorbing to be feasible, and that a detailed description of the particulars, peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of the manuscripts would be without value. When editing one particular text as contained by a group of manuscripts one might be partly correct in drawing such a conclusion after exhaustive study. The recording of these peculiarities might well be of importance, however, when trying to establish connections between the manuscript of various traditions, as well as for research into the origin and regional provenance of such manuscripts, while the result of such studies in turn might be helpful for the analysis of language and style in a different context. Something which might be completely irrelevant in the context of the study of one particular group of manuscripts might be highly pertinent in another context, and it is this tedious work —the noting of peculiarities, the compiling of word-lists, etc.— which provides the basis for the promotion of a deeper knowledge of Malay language and literature. Yet this kind of work has scarcely even begun.

Thus at the present stage the reproduction of a few well chosen manuscripts with an exhaustive description, a proper critical apparatus, and accompanying material such as a concordance, etc., is to be preferred to the construction of a text pieced together from several manuscripts with a selective description, because when using these latter kinds of editions the nagging doubt always remains about where the editor might have used his own discretion and what might have been contained in those bits and pieces which he has left out.

The use of computers is not yet popular in the humanities and certainly has not penetrated to the field of Malay philology. Classical scholars, too, view it with suspicion (West, 1973: 70-72). Over the years, the use of computers has received a strong impetus, and it is no longer possible for an editor, especially one dealing with "open" traditions, who wants to be taken seriously to ignore its existence or deny its potential. New Testament studies seem to point the way, and perhaps it would be apt to cite here the reasons which the editors of a computer-based edition of the New Testament have given for the use of a computer to collate and record the text as contained in several hundred manuscripts of the New Testament: "The chief advantage of this for textual criticism is immediately obvious. We can include or omit orthographical peculiarities, or investigate them separately. For any grouping of manuscripts we can have written out for us figures to show how often this particular grouping is to be found together with complete tables of the precise passages. And all this is quite independent of any theory of textual criticism or textual history. In every case we get from the computer simply the material, clearly, accurately, and completely prepared . . . In conclusion I would add that this does not mean that textual criticism is left to machines and computers, but only that firm foundations are now laid for a genuine and solid criticism. Textual criticism remains as ever a task for human intelligence and judgment" (Fischer, 1970: 307-8). And to quote the opinion of another participant in this project: "I would maintain that there is nowadays no other means than electronic data processing to guarantee the exactness, completeness and consistency legitimately required of a modern edition" (Ott, 1973: 200).

It seems that there is still some way to go before Malay philology can begin to build on the foundation of computerized data. Yet a generally accessible archive of computer-recorded texts is certainly not unfeasible if we consider what has been done in New Testament studies and compare the estimated total of 5,000 Malay manuscripts with the approximately 5,000 texts of the Koine alone. However, a major step towards the building up of this multi-purpose data bank would have to be the preparation of editions with a view to their potential usefulness and suitability for computer recording, i.e., editions which pay as much attention to the text of one manuscript as they do to the text of a whole tradition of manuscripts.


  • Bevenot, M. 1961. The Tradition of Manuscripts, A Study in the Transmission of St. Cyprian‘s treatises, Oxford.
  • Brakel, L. F. 1975. The Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiyyah, The Hague.
  • __________. 1977 “Der Ortliche Faktor in der Indonesischen Handschriftlichen Uberlieferung”, R1MA 11-2.
  • __________. 1978. Review of R. Jones, Nuru‘d-in ar-Raniri, Bustanu‘s-Salatin, Bab IV, Fasal I, Kuala Lumpur 1974, in ASAA Review Il-i.
  • Dawe, R. D. 1964. The Collation and Investigation of Manuscripts of Aeschylos, Cambridge.
  • Fischer, B. 1970. “The Use of Computers in New Testament Studies, with Special Reference to Textual Criticism”, Journal of Theological Studies N.S. XXI-2.
  • Frankel, H. 1964. Einleitung zur Kritischen Ausgabe der Argonautika des Appolonios, Gottingen, Abh. d. Akad. d. Wiss. i. Gottingen, Philolog. - hist. Klasse, 3 Folge, Nr. 55.
  • Gonda, J. 1932. Het Oud-Javaansche Brahmanda-Purana, Batavia, Bibl. Javanica 5.
  • Hooykaas, C. 1937. Over Maleische literatuur, Leiden.
  • Housman, A. E. 1961. Selected Prose, ed. by J. Carter, Cambridge.
  • Ismail Hussein. 1974. The Study of Traditional Malay Literature with a Selected Bibliography, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Kenney, E. J. 1974. The Classical Text, Berkeley.
  • Lenting, D. 1846. Geschiedenis van Sultan Ibrahim, Vorst van Irak, Breda.
  • Maas, P. 1972. Textual criticism, Oxford.
  • Martens, G. & Zeller, H. (eds.). 1971. Texte und Varianten, Munchen.
  • Maxwell 2, Tuhfat an-Nafis, manuscript, Royal Asiatic Society, London.
  • Metzger, B. M. 1964. The text of the New Testament, Oxford.
  • Ott, W. 1973. “Computer Applications in Textual Criticism”, in: A. J. Aitken a.o. (eds.), The Computer and Literary Studies, Edinburgh.
  • Pijper, G. F. 1924. Het Boek der Duizend Vragen, Leiden.
  • Ras, J. J. 1968. Hikajat Bandjar, The Hague.
  • Reynolds, L. D. & Wilson, N. G. 1975. Scribes and scholars, Oxford.
  • Robson, S. O. 1971. Waybay Wideya, The Hague.
  • Roorda van Eysinga, P. P. 1822. Geschiedenis van Sultan Ibrahim, Vorst van Irak, Batavia.
  • Sejarah Melayu. 1958. T. Situmorang + A. Teeuw (eds.). Sedjarah Melaju menurut terbitan Abdullah, Djakarta.
  • Snouck Hurgronje, C. 1889. Katalog der Malauschen Handschriften der Koniglichen Hofbibliothek in Berlin, unpublished manuscript, Cod. Or. 8015, University Library, Leiden, photostat.
  • Teeuw, A. 1966. Shair Ken Tambuhan, Kuala Lumpur.
  •  _______. 1969. Siwardtrikalpa, The Hague.
  • Uhlenbeck, E. M. 1975. “De interpretatie van de Oud-Javaanse Ramayana-Kakawin”, BKI 131-2/3.
  • West, M. L. 1973. Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique, Stuttgart.
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[1] This file was downloaded from http://www.kitlv-journals.nl/files/pdf/art_BKI_1140.pdf

[2] E. U. KRATZ took his Dr. Phil, degree at the J. W. Goethe Universitat of Frankfurt (a.M.) and is at present a lecturer of Indonesian at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. His main interests are traditional Malay and modern Indonesian literature, and his publications include Peringatan Sejarah Negeri Johor, Eine malaiische Quelle zur Geschichte Johors im 18. Jahrhundert, Wiesbaden, 1973. Dr. Kratz may be contacted at the SOAS, Malet St., London WC1 E 7HP, G.B.

[3] For the purposes of this discussion, the philological problems of the study of modern autographs and related material and of mechanically reproduced texts are left out of consideration, although these problems are as great today as they were in the days of the lithograph. It is to our detriment that they have so far been neglected in Malay studies. Nonetheless as part of ‘modern‘ philology they have to be omitted here. (cf. Martens & Zeller, 1971)

[4] Cf. Robson 1971. Gonda, who has been quoted as having "shown in his edition of the Old-Javanese Bhismaparva (1936) the relevance to Indonesian philology of the critical method as developed in classical studies" (Brakel, 1978: 68), applied its principles with exemplary caution without ever referring to them directly. In another of his books (Gonda, 1932: 45-46) he is frank enough to admit to "twee gewichtige hulpmiddelen" — metre and Indian models — which enabled him to follow the path of the classics as far as he did. The question of textual criticism in the Javanese context has been discussed most recently and extensively by Zoetmulder (1974: 60-67). See also Uhlenbeck‘s (1975: 202-205) remarks of 1973.

[5] For the discussion and definition of stemmatics see Maas (1972); a fierce critic of stemmatics is Dawe (1964), while a more balanced view is given by Reynolds and Wilson (1975). West (1973), the subtitle of whose work Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique reads "as applicable to Greek and Latin texts", wants "to redress the balance" disturbed by Maas‘ work; see also Metzger (1964).

[6] In addition to the literature mentioned in note 3, I would mention Kenney (1974) and Frankel (1964). The reader should be warned by Housman (1961), however, who wrote: "A man who possesses common sense and the use of reason must not expect to learn from treatises or lectures on textual criticism anything that he could not, with leisure and industry, find out for himself. What the lectures and treatises can do for him is to save him time and trouble by presenting to him immediately considerations which would in any case occur to him sooner or later. And whatever he reads about textual criticism in books, or hears at lectures, he should test by reason and common sense, and reject everything which conflicts with either as mere hocus-pocus" (Housman, 1961: 132). Naturally, this idea does not apply to treatises and lectures on textual criticism alone.

[7] Maxwell 2: 77 11.7-9: "Belumlah aku dapat akan nama suaminya anaknya/ pada ketika membuat silsilah ini melainkan siapa2 pula yang dapat di belakang akulah daripada anak/cucunya maka aku harapkan menambah karangan aku ini jika dapat"; and 455 11.9-10: "Shadan di belakang ini kelak siapa2 daripada anak cucuku hendak mengubungnya/siarah ini patutlah . . . "

[8] Direct copies of a single manuscript were mostly written at the request of Europeans and form a case apart. If the manuscript they have been copied from can be identified and has been well preserved these copies are in general of no value for establishing the constitution of the text. See, for example, what Abdullah has to say about the copying of manuscripts in his own introduction to the Sejarah Melayu (Sejarah Melayu, 1958: XXVII-XXVIII).

[9] Here I agree fully with Ras and his quotation from Kern (Ras, 1968: 224-25).

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