German perspectives maintain two distinct attitudes toward what it means ‘to edit the text.’ One, represented by Scheibe (and essentially shared by Zeller), organizes an edition hierarchically around the ‘Edited Text.’ The other, mainly postulated by Martens (whose views draw support from Cervenka’s as well as, mediately, Boetius’s theorizings) reverses the viewpoint and sees the apparatus as the center of a scholarly edition.
One definition declares critical editing to be the process of reconstructing now lost texts. […] Another definition […] declares critical editing to be the process of identifying and correcting errors or stylistic lapses in the text being edited. [Yet] another definition [declares] critical editing to be the process of extracting from the plethora of authoritative evidence an intended text not yet realized. […] One thing most editors will agree about is that all three types of editing involve the exercise of critical judgment and, hence, could be called critical editing. Most would also agree that the term critical editing applies, whether an editor chooses to produce an emended text representing the critically derived or corrected text or chooses only to indicate those forms in notes or an apparatus for a text that faithfully reproduces its source.
Critical or textual methods. Editorial practices employed when an editor plans to establish an authoritative text that does not reflect every element of any single surviving documentary source but, instead, embodies the editor’s critical judgment of what an author’s true intentions were.
Textual editing. Critical editing. (see Critical or textual methods).
To edit texts critically means, precisely, to construct them. Conversely, the constructed texts of editions are in essence the products of criticism. This is as true in the essentially two-dimensional medium of paper and the book as it is in the virtual, multi-dimensional digital medium. Therefore, in theorizing the digital edition of the future, we need to account, too, for the critical dimension, indeed the critical nature of the editorial enterprise and its outcome in the scholarly edition.