Idiot of the week award goes to …

…, erm, <cough>, me.

“Why so?” I hear you cry.  (At least, I hope that’s what you’re saying.)  Well, it’s like this.

I’m interested in the Coptic catena on the Gospels, published without a translation by Paul De Lagarde back in the 1850’s-ish.  I knew that an Arabic translation exists of that catena, and that the Arabic version is more complete.  For the sole surviving Coptic manuscript has lost many of its pages in the years.  But as far as anyone knew, the Arabic was unpublished.

Some time back I discovered that an edition with Italian Spanish translation existed of part of the Arabic catena, covering Matthew.  The Arabic was edited by Iturbe, around 50 years ago, and attracted no attention, and I only stumbled on it through my habit of compulsive reading of patrology bibliographies.  I wanted to include the Arabic fragments of Eusebius in my book.  So I got hold of a copy of Iturbe, in two volumes, and had the fragments included in my book.

Recently the translator of the Coptic fragments has told me that she and her team fancy doing more of the De Lagarde catena into English.  That’s very good news, of course, and I want to help.  Apparently they also have some Arabic skills, so are interested in the Arabic version.  I’ve offered to supply them with a copy of one of the manuscripts — because most of the Arabic catena is still unpublished.  So I thought I’d look in Iturbe and find out what mss. exist.

She was also asking for details about the Arabic catena.  Now I have a couple of PDF’s of selected pages, which I sent her, telling her that I borrowed the book.  That’s what it usually means, when I have a PDF of a few photocopied pages.

Just now, then, I was looking for stuff about Iturbe online, and came across my own post above.  It turns out that actually I did NOT borrow the book, contrary to my statements in several emails.  It seems that, erm, I bought the book.  In fact, once I realised this, I realised that I knew where they were as well.  Yup: that’s them on my shelf. 

Ah, what a fallible creature is man!  “Quick Watson, the straight-jacket!”

5 Responses to “Idiot of the week award goes to …”


  1. kate

    funny thing is when i first read the title my minds eye read “idea” of the week.more fallability

  2. Alin Suciu

    Just two small details, Roger: Iturbe’s translation is in Spanish.
    Then, De Lagarde’s MSS is not the only Bohairic Catena. There are fragments from a second one.

  3. Roger Pearse

    You’re right! I started looking at Iturbe last night and thought, “Hang on…”

    I was unaware of the second catena! Do you have more details?

  4. Alin Suciu

    If we are to believe Walter Ewing Crum, we have three MSS of the Bohairic Catena. From two of these, only fragments have survived. These fragments are kept in Cairo, Leipzig and London.

    You may find some useful information in H.G. Evelyn White, The Monasteries of the Wadi ’N Natrun 1: New Coptic Texts from the Monastery of Saint Macarius (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Expedition, 1926) pp. 198-199. The book is available on my blog: http://alinsuciu.com/resources/

  5. Roger Pearse

    Thank you!



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