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The first part of this contribution gives a short outline of the history of textual criticism (‘stemmatics’) in Egyptology, and presents the method’s basic principles and fields of application. The second part discusses some of the reservations brought forward against textual criticism in our field and tries to solve potential or real misunderstandings, paying special attention to the problem of ‘open transmission’ of texts. As is the case with any other method, textual criticism has its inherent limits, which need to be defined. As long as we are aware of these limits, textual criticism can be a very helpful tool for all Egyptologists who are dealing with textual variants.