Evaluating the Bergen Electronic Edition

Current Wittgenstein scholarship is marked by a striking discrepancy. The Bergen electronic edition, which has been published starting in 1998, is now completed and has dramatically changed the field of Wittgenstein philology. Wittgenstein's entire writings are available in easily accessible facsimiles as well as in carefully prepared diplomatic and normalized transcriptions. This is nothing less than a quantum leap for anyone involved in going beyond the surface of the volumes published from the "Nachlass" by the Trustees, some of which have been shown to require philological revision. The search facilities included in the Bergen edition are unique in providing almost instant access to all the data parsed by arbitrary queries. The very scope of the enterprise, offering a comprehensive, multi-layered digital rendition of the Wittgenstein corpus goes far beyond anything we can expect from traditional editions, including Michael Nedo's "WienerAusgabe", in our lifetime. And yet -- this is the discrepancy alluded to -- a significant number of recent books on Wittgenstein does not even mention the Bergen edition. "The New Wittgenstein", a collection of essays published in 2000 contains a bibliography faithfully reproducing all "primary sources", but lacking any reference to the digitized Nachlass. "Wittgenstein in America", a prestigious collection from 2001 -- ironically published by Oxford University Press -- does not do better and the same situation holds for the German language literature. To pick just two examples: neither Eike von Savigny's reader on the "Philosophische Untersuchungen", nor Wilhelm Vossenkuhl's corresponding volume on the "Tractatus" contain any pointer to the Bergen project. Something strange is, clearly, going on here
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