September 30th, 2006 by Roger Pearse at ToA
I hope that I may be forgiven for a small announcement. Nestorius wrote in exile in his own defence. Since his books were ordered to be burned, and his name used in much the same way as moderns use accusations of ‘racist’ — to shut down discussion — he was obliged to circulate it under the name of Heracleides of Damas. It’s quite hard going, but since it has survived to our own day, people may like to know that the English translation is now online here. I have also translated some material about the manuscript find from the French edition and translation.
In some ways the story is familiar. A single manuscript had survived. A copy was taken “in secret”, since the owner clearly didn’t want copies made. The single manuscript was, it turns out, destroyed in WW1. Fortunately the owner’s wish to prevent copying did not lead to the loss of the text. Other texts extant in Syriac in 1914 were not so lucky, as I have remarked before. But what is it about people who own manuscripts that makes them so desperate to prevent the text circulating?