I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Marcionism in Edessa. The idea that being a Christian in Edessa meant that you were a Marcionite seems to originate (rightly or not) from Walter Bauer’s Orthodoxy and Heresy. Thankfully Robert Kraft arranged to translate this into English, and — mirabile dictu — to place the translation online. The Edessa portion is here, and I need to take the time to read it and see what is actually being said, and why. It’s rather hard to read online tho.
The excellent Andrew Criddle added a comment pointing me to a very useful paper by Sidney Griffith in After Bardaisan. This contains excerpts of Ephraim the Syrian’s Hymns against Heresies in English, all of them most interesting. Unfortunately the Google Books preview omits selected pages. I’d really quite like to read this book — it is infuriating that it is inaccessible.
I have been asking around to see if an English translation of Hymns against Heresies exists. No luck so far; but a correspondant suggested that Sidney Griffith (again) might have made one. I have written to him to ask. If there is no translation of hymns 22 and 23, I might see if I can commission one.
Meanwhile I have resumed work on the proofing of Theodoret’s Commentary on Romans. I got rather discouraged when I couldn’t export the results from Finereader 11 in any sensible form. But I have started to go through the second half of this work, italicising the gospel quotations (which is how they appear in the printed version). It’s a bit slow, but this will go online eventually.
I have also been communicating with a gentleman named Mark Vermes, who made a number of translations of interesting works back in the day, including the ‘Halkin’ Life of Constantine — a Byzantine Saint’s life — and two works by St. Augustine against the Manichaean Secundinianus. All this material is unpublished (although I have just learned that one of the Augustine works was published somewhere), and he is willing in principle to allow it to appear online. The next stage is to get hold of copies of these items, and digitise them.
There is no more news on the in-progress translation of the Acts of ps.Linus.
I’ve been invited to the launch of a book down in London, wine and nibbles. That has never happened to me before, and probably never will again, so I think that I shall go. The book is a collection of posts in one of the Times blogs, and I am invited because I wrote a rather sarcastic comment on one of them, which the publishers decided to include.
Watching the TV one evening I found myself viewing a BBC4 documentary about Pompeii. I had never known that, among the finds at Pompeii, was a statue from India. The item was in exactly the style of sculpture we see today — no question as to where it came from! Doubtless it was one of the items that came across the Indian Ocean on the ships on which Cosmas Indicopleustes was to travel, centuries later.
-  Sidney Griffith, The marks of the “true church” according to Ephraem’s ‘Hymns against heresies’, in G. J. Reinink (ed.), After Bardaisan, Orientalia Louvaniensia Analecta, Peeters, 1999, p.125-140 ↩