Good news! An email tells me that another of my projects is coming in. The catalogue of Arabic Christian books, by the 13th century writer Abu’l Barakat, is progressing nicely. The whole thing has now been translated into English, in first draft. The wording will now be revised over the next two weeks, and then comment invited from others.
Once the whole thing is complete, I will post it online and make it public domain.
This is such an important text. When you come into a literature, all is confusion. What we need is a map, a list of major writers and what they wrote. This acts as a skeleton, on which we can hang all the rest of our knowledge. A modern list would be good, but none exists in English. This ancient list is also good, as it probably refers to stuff no longer extant and tells us what might be out there.
The translation has been made from the older 1902 edition of Riedel. But apparently there is somewhere a critical edition made by Samir Khalil Samir, SJ. I think this was published in Cairo. The text is so important that I have suggested to the translator that he acquire a copy of Samir’s publication, and do a revised version for formal publication on his own, so that scholars can reference it in their bibliographies. This will happen, I think.