Irigoin, Jean (born on November 8, 1920 in Aix-en-Provence – died on January 28, 2006 in Paris) was a classical philologist, who was very influential, especially in France, in the domain of the edition of Greek classical literature. He was also at the front line of the study of codicology, and in many publications he stressed the importance of studying the mediaeval manuscripts as archaeological objects. He wrote several articles on the fabrication and use of paper in Byzantium, and on mediaeval binding, but also on Greek palaeography. He has served as the director of the Série grecque of the famous Collection “Budé” (Collection des Universités de France, Les Belles Lettres) for many years (1964–1999). He was also professor at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, and at the Sorbonne. Himself the student and successor of Alphonse Dain (1896-1964, he is considered the inventor of the French word “codicologie”, his best known book is “Les manuscrits”, first published in 1949), he initiated a new school of Greek philology in France.

Apart from his editions of Greek texts (esp. early Greek poetry: Bacchylides…) and his studies about the history of ancient texts (Pindar, Hippocrates, Sophocles, Plato and Aristotle…), Irigoin wrote several methodological articles, which are still relevant today: “La critique des textes doit être historique”, “Quelques réflexions sur le concept d'archétype”, “Accidents matériels and critique des textes”... They have been republished in two volumes in 1997 and 2003 (see bibliography below).

On Irigoin

– Jouanna, Jacques. 2006. “Allocution à l’occasion du décès de M. Jean Irigoin, membre de l’Académie.” Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 150 (1): 229–233.

By Irigoin

His bibliography: http://www.college-de-france.fr/media/professeurs-disparus/UPL35810_biblioirigoin.pdf. His most significant articles were gathered in two volumes:

– Irigoin, Jean. 1997. Tradition et critique des textes grecs. Histoire, vol. 36. Paris: Belles Lettres.
– ———. 2003. La tradition des textes grecs: Pour une critique historique. L’âne d’or, vol. 19. Paris: Belles Lettres.


CM