In my last post I mentioned how Quasten’s Patrology is becoming rather out of date. For me, the most annoying thing is that I find myself looking at works thinking “that would be interesting to translate”, only to find that translations have come along since he wrote.
Looking at Amazon I discover that it is published by Thomas More Publishing, who turn out to be an imprint of Ave Maria Press. This website lists their imprints, which include “Christian Classics”, the name that appears inside my own copies.
After a bit of thought, I wrote to the general enquiries email at Ave Maria Press, asking that they pass the email to the directors. I asked whether they do, in fact, own Quasten; whether they have considered updating it; or whether they would consider it.
Would it really be such a big task to improve the book? The bibliographies of translations could be updated, perhaps, relatively easily, with the assistance of l’Année Philologique and the internet. Probably most of us could do this, given some secretarial assistance, and it might be interesting to do. Much of the text doesn’t really need changing.
But then again I mainly use volume 3, on Greek writers. Volumes 1 and 2 are thin, and really in need of expansion, particularly in the light of the Nag Hammadi discoveries. This element really requires a professional scholar.
Revising Quasten is not “research”, so I can foresee problems in finding a scholar willing to do it. “Research” is everything, in the current climate, and those who fail to publish it find their jobs at risk. But surely we ought to be able to do something?
What sort of changes, I wonder, would we make to Quasten, if we could?