From my diary – translation projects and other things

The July sales figures (through Amazon) for Eusebius’ book on differences between the gospels (and how to resolve them) have arrived and are encouraging.  I still haven’t launched an online marketing campaign, yet we sold more in July than in June.  Interestingly most of these seem to have been hardbacks.  The purchasers certainly got a good deal — those hardbacks are impressive! — but I wouldn’t have expected that.

I’ve had another attempt at my project to translate Cyril of Alexandria’s Apologeticus ad imperatorem.  A sample couple of pages have arrived from the translator, and I passed them to Andrew Eastbourne for comment.  His verdict was decidely negative, unfortunately, which is a great pity.  But I need to read his review in detail, which I won’t do this evening.

The postman brought me a large parcel containing two volumes which together make up Brockelmann’s Supplement 1 to his history of Arabic literature.  I created these for personal use from a rather poor PDF, making sure they had wide margins, and the results are more than satisfactory.

While looking at the Greenhill papers on Galen — mentioned in yesterday’s post — I noticed that in several cases the books had been (re)bound, interleaved with blank pages, so that notes might be made on them.  Perhaps I should try doing the same with some of these PDFs!

This practice of interleaving is something that you never see today; yet I remember talking to an academic who told me that the late L.D.Reynolds, editor of Texts and Transmissions, had a copy of his own book made for him with interleaved blank pages by Oxford University Press so that he could scribble notes in it.  Clearly it is still possible.

The Royal College of Physicians library wrote back to me today about those Greenhill papers, containing stuff on Galen’s works in Arabic.  They don’t allow photocopying of material more than a century old — and who can blame them? — but they do allow the use of digital cameras.  Good for them!  They’re closed until 15th August, but I must look at getting down there and browsing the material.

I’ve also been reading Walzer’s book Galen on Jews and Christians.  It’s a curious performance, but I am learning some interesting things from it.  A post will doubtless be forthcoming in due course.  The most interesting thing that I have seen so far is that all the passages are extant in Arabic translation, but two of them are only extant in Arabic.  Walzer seems to think that no question of authenticity arises, which seems surprising given the tendency of Arabic authors to elaborate, but doubtless he will explain why.

Last night I did some more work on my version of Brockelmann’s remarks on early Arabic writers about Mohammed (and, when it’s 25C in your bedroom and very humid, you’re not going to be sleeping, so why not use the time?).  I also started searching for web versions, and found some.  I will include links to these in the final version.  I did discover that the Digital Library of India held copies of the journal Islamic Culture, which in 1927 and 1928 has some important articles on this subject.  I just wish their site was quicker and easier to use!  For Arabic culture, the publications in India in the 19th century are important, and I suspect few of us have ever visited the DLI site or downloaded its curious download tool.

Today I was able to discover that Guillaume’s English translation of ibn Ishak is online in page images.  This evening I hope to download it.  The book is a reconstruction of this lost early biography, based on quotations in Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari.

Finally, and on a lighter note, I have just checked my inbox, and received a job advert for a contract IT support engineer role in Afghanistan, paying about average UK rates.  Length of contract is 20 months. 

Evidently I need to be nicer to recruitment agents when they phone.  Who knew that one of them was trying to get me shot!

2 Responses to “From my diary – translation projects and other things”


  1. ikokki

    Speaking of Afghanistan a few months ago around the time when the mob killed 12 UN workers over the burning of the Koran by the Florida pastor, at the university we got a job offer to do remote sensing in Afghanistan for USAID. We were told that the pay is great and that they offer the security of the American compound which is much better than that of the UN complex. I am not sure they want to get you shot…

  2. Roger Pearse

    The pay on the one I was offered wasn’t much – you could get better here in the UK!