Anyone like to suggest untranslated works of spiritual value to modern Christians?

Someone has written to me, mentioning a translator who has done a couple of English translations of “spiritual classic”-type patristic works, and is open to translating more.  The results will be sold, unfortunately.

What should I suggest to them?  That has not been translated before?

8 Responses to “Anyone like to suggest untranslated works of spiritual value to modern Christians?”


  1. Rob Flammang

    This is a really thought provoking question. A few of my thoughts are as follows…

    1. Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae is not directly a spiritual classic; indeed it is a thorough-going secular work. Nevertheless, it is a short, simple, and direct view of the physical world as the fathers saw it, and understanding their world-view very often renders otherwise obscure patristic passages easily understandable. Of course, such an indirect contribution to spiritual reading is probably not what these publishers have in mind. Plus, one could argue that C. S. Lewis’s “Discarded Image” provides the same service.

    2. The Mozarabic liturgy, the liturgy of a persecuted minority in Moslem Spain, provides insight to the spiritual lives of Christians in those turbulent times.

    3. The Syriac liturgy, ditto. (Except for the Spain part.)

  2. Dave

    I don’t know if this would fall precisely under the category of ‘spiritual classic’ or not, but it would be interesting, for those concerned with reading Scripture, to have in English the hermeneutical treatise by one Adrianos, ‘Introduction to the Divine Scriptures’, in Migne PG 98.1273-1312 (according to Frances Young, in her Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture).

  3. Maureen

    There are two English translations of Etymologiae currently available: the Cambridge one and the slightly older Throop version. There’s also De Officiis in English (very helpful for folks in ministry).

    I do have to say that St. Isidore is full of good spiritual stuff. The problem is that I haven’t read widely enough to know what his best untranslated stuff is.

    Lewis’ Discarded Image is an excellent intro to the medieval mindset; but it’s not the same as being there, as he’d be the first to agree. I learned a lot more about Boethius, and about Christ, from reading Boethius than from reading about Boethius. And the same is true with most primary sources. (Well, unless they’re really bad sources!)

  4. Roger Pearse

    Thank you, Rob and Maureen. But yes, translations already exist of the Etymologiae.

    If you get any ideas, I am all ears. The Mozarabic liturgy might be interesting.

  5. Daniel R. Jennings

    Can they translate from Greek and Latin?

  6. Roger Pearse

    Sorry yes, that’s what I had in mind.

  7. Andrew Harrington

    Irenaeus: Against Heresies (Books 4 & 5 in Armenian)
    Hippolytus: The Blessing of Isaac and Jacob
    Hippolytus: The Blessing of Moses
    Hippolytus: The Story of David and Goliath
    Hippolytus: Commentary on Daniel (Slavonic — longer than Greek version)
    Hippolytus: Commentary on Revelation (fragments)
    Hippolytus: Canon (fragment)
    Hippolytus: Proverbs (fragments)
    Hippolytus: Psalms (fragments)
    Origen: All fragments and everything else that for some strange reason has not yet been translated into English
    Methodius: On Life and Reasonable Actions (Slavonic)
    Methodius: The Discrimination of Good and the Young Cow Mentioned in Leviticus (Slavonic)
    Methodius: On Leprosy (Slavonic + Greek frag)
    Methodius: On the Resurrection (Slavonic + Greek frag)
    Methodius: (treatise allegorises the leech in Prov 30:15) (Slavonic)
    Methodius: Against Porphyry (Greek frag)
    Methodius: On Job (some fragments)
    Methodius: On the Martyrs (fragment)
    Commodian: Carmen Apolectium
    Julius Africanus: Cesti

  8. Roger Pearse

    These are all good things, I agree, but probably not of general value to most readers of “spiritual” literature.



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