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(1) Book commentaries (or notes) are explanations of a text, constituting part of the scholarly reference apparatus of a book (collected works, memoirs, translated works, and documentary and other publications).

As a rule such explanations are provided by the editor rather than the author, and they include information about the origin and history of the text and about the work’s place in the history of writing (philosophy, culture, the humanities, or the natural sciences); information about the events, facts, and persons mentioned in the text; elucidation of the author’s allusions and “subtext” in works in the humanities, especially literary and publicistic works; and linguistic and other explanations necessary for a better understanding of the text by modern readers. Often commentaries also include an ideological (ideological-artistic) and scholarly interpretation of the work and the reasons for its publication, but more frequently these elements are provided in the introduction or foreword. The relationship between these various levels depends on the nature of the text and the purpose of the publication.

The commentary should be concise and easy to use and not duplicate material available in encyclopedias and other general reference books. The commentary is usually placed after the text and may take the form of an article or individual notes, and frequently these methods are combined. Commentaries to classical works may be published as separate books. Model commentaries are contained in the series Biblioteka poeta and the series Literaturnye memuary, both published by Khudozhestvennaia Literatura.

In antiquity commentaries were first used extensively in the works of the Alexandrian philologists of the third and second centuries B.C. In Russia the first commentaries began to appear at the turn of the 19th century. Scholia may be regarded as a type of commentary.


(2) In a system of mass information media the commentary is a type of analytical material designed to explain rapidly and efficiently the essence and significance of a current sociopolitical event or document. Commentaries may be used to explain events that play a positive role in society and to disseminate progressive methods and innovations, or they may be used to expose facts that manifest reactionary ideology and policies; commentaries of the last type are called critical, or polemical, commentaries. Commentaries commonly employ methods of analysis and comparison, various techniques of argument, and generalizations and conclusions. For operational efficiency, the commentary must, as a rule, be brief and concise, which does not, however, preclude the possibility of using vivid comparisons and metaphors to heighten its emotional impact.

(3) In ancient Rome historical works were called commentaries, for example, Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War.




in journalism, an article or radio or television broadcast that examines a number of related recent events and offers an analysis and evaluation. A commentary may focus on such topics as the sociopolitical, economic, or cultural aspects of contemporary life, or it may deal with sports.

References in periodicals archive ?
Indeed, Sankara in his commentarial literature made the case that the word "Upanisad" is etymologically derived from the same root as "rahasyam," secret.
Ghosts and spirits are frequently mentioned in some of the oldest Buddhist canonical and commentarial texts.
Subsequently, over a period of several hundred years before Buddhism was wiped out in India by the Muslim Mughals from Persia, the Tibetan kings and wealthy Tibetans undertook to translate the Buddhist literature of India, both the word of the Buddha and the commentarial tradition, that the Indians had amassed in more than a millenium since the time of the Buddha.
I am not proposing a commentarial trigger, however.
Readers unlettered in the style of post-modern literary studies may be overwhelmed by the commentarial mode which predominates and in which little can be said without invoking prior critical authorities.
24, 2003), he points to the vast flock of conservatives darkening the commentarial skies, from veterans such as George Will and Robert Novak to newcomers Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.
[...] To be unplaceable they need only be attached not to some other event (which would require the narrative to define them as being earlier or later) but to the (atemporal) commentarial discourse that accompanies them" (83).
Fray Luis' selective convergence with Jewish commentarial sources can be documented elsewhere in his exegetical writings.
In fact, there is a Jewish version of everything that is claimed by the absolute category of India: mystical paths, commentarial traditions, and ecstatic experience.
They summarize the conclusions of the main commentarial texts and note some of the better known studies, such as the reports of intercessory prayer effects on cardiac patients and the inability of therapeutic touch practitioners to detect the "human energy field" under blinded conditions.
In a deeply poignant scene in the Apadana,(1) an important text in Buddhist commentarial literature, the Buddha's widowed foster mother, the nun Mahapajapati Gotami, who (tradition maintains) was the first woman initiated into the Buddha's order, goes to her foster son to seek his permission to die.
While recognizing the diversity of perspectives within the Buddhist tradition itself, Keown relies primarily on the canonical and commentarial literature of the Theravada school.