Archive for the 'From my diary' Category
September 20th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
Alright. Confess. Is there anyone who does NOT have a large pile of photocopies of articles, book excerpts, and even complete books, somewhere in their house or study area? No? I thought not. Dratted nuisance, aren’t they?
Clearing the decks!
Years ago I used to file them, in hanging folders in filing cabinets. This week I have been emptying a drawer of such copies. Most of these were on A3 paper, so very hard to scan; but I simply drew a trimmer down the middle and scanned them in anyway. And then, most importantly, I threw away the paper. And the hangers.
At this moment I am going through a pile of off-prints, and guillotining the spines and shoving them through my document scanner. They scan beautifully. And … I am throwing the paper away. The PDFs that I get from the scanner I make searchable, and then, for once, I can use them.
It’s a bit nostalgic, in a way. I’m finding papers that I ordered in 2001, via my local library. This was before PDFs existed. The library charged a substantial sum per paper, and it arrived in weeks, not days. In those days it was the only available method to obtain a copy of anything. Now … we have electronic methods. It’s not so long ago, and yet it’s a different world.
Most of the papers relate to my interest in Tertullian. I’m scanning in a bunch of copies of the Chronica Tertullianea et Cyprianea as I type – the key bibliography for Latin ante-Nicene patristics. They will be far easier to search in PDF form!
Also found were a bunch of papers by Canadian academic James Carley, about the English antiquary John Leland. Leland lived in the times of Henry VIII, when the monasteries were being suppressed, and inspected their libraries. Many volumes from English monasteries went overseas; most were destroyed. A post on his work might not go amiss, perhaps.
Meanwhile, I need to scan some more stuff and declutter! It’s a good task for a rainy day.
Have you purged your filing cabinet lately?
September 19th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
A commenter draws my attention to a most interesting article in the Washington Post:
Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green has big plans for his Bible museum in Washington
The Bible museum taking shape in the building over the Federal Center SW Metro station started out in a very different location and with a very different message.
The project was planned for Texas in the late 2000s. Green told reporters he intended to put it in Dallas because so many church-going Christians live there. The mission statement on its initial nonprofit filing documents was clear: to “bring to life the living word of God … to inspire confidence in the absolute authority” of the Bible’s words. Green wanted to hand out Bible tracts to visitors, who would exit the museum singing “Amazing Grace,” said Scott Carroll, a specialist in biblical manuscripts who advised Green’s Bible-collecting and museum efforts from their start in 2009 through 2012.
Today, the message has undergone a drastic revision. The Web site for Green’s traveling Bible exhibit, “Passages,” says the museum “will be dedicated to a scholarly approach to the history, narrative and impact of the Bible.” Green says he now supports a museum approach that is nonsectarian and non-proselytizing.
The skeptics have another reason to embrace this new museum. Substantive funding for Bible scholarship and exploration is scarce. At a time when polls show that Americans are increasingly ignorant about the Bible and religion, the Greens are happily pouring hundreds of millions into preserving, researching and taking public what’s called the Book of Books.
… things turned sharply in 2009, as Green worked with Carroll to start building his collection.
The economy crashed, and several private donors and major institutions started dumping assets. Green went on a three-year buying spree. “We were looking at good buying. We thought: ‘This is worth much more than they’re asking. Let’s buy it.’ ”
Green bought Dead Sea Scroll fragments, Babe Ruth’s Bible, the Codex Climaci Rescriptus — a bundle of manuscripts from the 5th to the 9th centuries that includes the phrase that Christianity teaches Jesus uttered on the cross: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Green owns the world’s largest collection of Torah scrolls.
As word spread of the Green Collection, some scholars panted at the possibility that items long held in completely private collections might be available for study.
It’s an interesting article on an interesting subject.
In the ruling class of the USA there seems to be a terrifying degree of bigotry towards their own backwoods Christianity, from which Green has emerged. I have already seen vituperation from scholars which I can only characterise as motivated by the idea that “this is our space” and based purely on religious animosity. But it would be a great pity if this antipathy was allowed to derail a project that should be of universal benefit.
September 18th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
This morning I read these words:
I descended the noble steps [from the church of St Gregory on the Caelian hill]. Every day of his life, I reflected, St Gregory while in Rome, and before he went to live at the Lateran Palace as Pope, must have seen the Colosseum; a few paces would take him past the Circus Maximus, already weed-grown and deserted, above which rose the imperial palaces, unoccupied for centuries but still capable of housing a stray Exarch from Ravenna. The last time they received an emperor was twenty-five years after Gregory’s death, in 629, when Heraclius visited Rome and was invested with the diadem in the throne room on the Palatine. What a ghostly moment that must have been; for the middle ages were ready to be born.
These words are from H.V. Morton, A Traveller in Rome, published in 1957.
I know nothing of that visit to Rome by Heraclius, I must say, but that portrait in words moves me to find out. Which, in a way, says that the book is doing its job!
I’m reading the book because it’s a gentle, restful book to read. For those unfamiliar with them, Morton’s books are a mixture of personal observation and material rewritten from books such as the popularisations of Lanciani, and are perfectly targeted at the educated but non-specialist reader. They are uneven; but the best are very good indeed.
But it is a wistful experience, reading Morton’s Through Lands of the Bible, where he travels through Palestine and Iraq in the 1930’s. It is a portrait of a peaceful, quiet world. Under the rule of the honest, efficient colonial powers, the region knew the first enlightened, progressive, civilised government that it had ever had.
How sad that it was also the last. I am by no means anti-American, but America has been the dominant power in the region since WW2, and the policies pursued by its ruling class, often well-intentioned but invariably counter-productive, have condemned its inhabitants to ceaseless, pointless strife, poverty and misery.
Let us take up the books written in better days, and dream of a better world than our own.
UPDATE: Later in the book Morton refers to a visit by Constans II to stay in the Palatine, some 20 years later than Heraclius. I have a feeling that his books were serialized, which may explain how episodic they sometimes can be; and mistakes like this!
September 13th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
The first complete draft of Severian of Gabala, De Spiritu Sancto, has arrived. More to the point, I have now read through it all and given feedback. One section of it is distinctly hard to follow in the original, because Severian is not being as clear as he might be. In consequence he has to keep asking his audience to concentrate!
But it’s an interesting sermon. Once we’ve added enough words in brackets so that the reader can follow the thought, I think that it will be of general interest to modern readers who would like to understand the basis from scripture for some of the church’s statements about the Holy Spirit.
I’ve continued working on the Mithras site. This week I located pictures of two lost reliefs, and added them to the index of monuments. It is a very great privilege to live in the internet age, when we can locate relatively easily materials that would have been quite impossible to access, back in 1997, when I started Tertullian.org!
I’ve also had an update on a Greek homily that I commissioned; work is in progress. There is also hope of a translation of the Syriac remains of Theodore of Mopsuestia on Genesis.
Autumn has now definitely arrived here, and this leads me to think of Christmas, and so of Santa Claus. It seems to be a fact that the hagiographical Lives of St. Nicholas have never been translated into English, or indeed any modern language. Unfortunately they are late, and exist in multiple versions. It might be fun to select one or two and commission translations, tho. Mightn’t it?!
September 13th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
A correspondent writes:
Just wanted to alert you that John Sehorn successfully defended his PhD dissertation on Origen’s Homilies on Ezekiel 1–14 not long ago (link). Apparently it includes a translation of the text. He’s been at it for over three years now – I guess working parallel to you and Scheck.
I don’t know. You wait four centuries for a translation of Origen’s homilies on Ezekiel, and then three come along in a period of 24 months! But the more the merrier!
The Mischa Hooker translation, however, is more complete than either the Scheck or Sehorn versions, since these only translate the 14 homilies from the Latin version made by Rufinus, while Hooker also translates a vast array of Greek fragments from all the works of Origen on Ezekiel, and includes a facing Greek and Latin text. But then, since I published this version, perhaps I am biased!
It is still my intention that Hooker’s text and translation will appear online, freely accessible, once sales trickle to nothing much. I’d just like to recoup at least some of the investment first.
September 10th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
I’m trying to access an article from Italian journal Ausonia, from 1913. Unfortunately, while many volumes of the journal before and after are accessible at Archive.org, the particular issue I want is not.
The article I want is C. Huelsen, “I lavori archeologici di Giovannantonio Dosio”, in: Ausonia: rivista della Società italiana di archeologia e storia dell’arte, vol. 7 (1913), p.1 ff.
The volume is online here, apparently:
Well, it is if your institution is in the USA, anyway. But I am overseas and can’t access it.
Can anyone access this? If so, please use the contact link at right and talk to me. It seems silly for me to make a library trip for something already freely accessible online.
UPDATE: Thank you to the gentleman who sent me a copy of the article, and the other gentleman who made the whole volume available. I am very grateful!
September 8th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
It is hard to do much work on Severian of Gabala for lack of access to the basic materials; texts, translations and studies. The list of works in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum is useful, but hard to access and split across various entries and sub-sections. The most important article on the subject is, and remains – after 24 years – Sever J. Voicu, “Severien de Gabala,” Dictionnaire de spiritualite 14 (Paris, 1990), 752-63. Fortunately Dr Voicu has given permission for a transcript, made by a correspondent, to appear here. Here it is, in Word .doc format:
Dr Voicu adds, “It is rather outdated, but no other comprehensive entry about Severian of Gabala has been written since.” Any errors are, of course, my fault and nobody else’s. I note that a certain amount of reformatting was introduced, but it seems to make it clearer.
I hope that this will be readable via Google Translate even for those without a command of French. I hope to prepare an English translation of at least some of it.
September 6th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
A couple of updates on the Severian of Gabala work.
Firstly, Bryson Sewell has sent me a first draft of his English translation of De Spiritu Sancto (PG 52 813-826). It still needs heavy revision, and I haven’t commented on it yet, but it is there in skeleton at least. It looks interesting, for the most part. Apparently Severian’s style is not always of the clearest, tho! As ever, when it is done, it will appear here.
One of the problems in studying Severian is that none of his works were online in any modern language – or at least, none in English, and the one or two, that did exist in French etc, were basically in a dark hole somewhere online. The translations that Bryson is making will fix some of this.
But just getting a list of works is difficult. Regular readers will recall that I have been driven – unusually – to compiling some kind of bibliography myself, as a basis for commissioning translations.
In general, studies on Severian are few, and hard to access. The prince of all the articles on Severian is one by Dr Sever J. Voicu, who is the world expert on Severian: Sever J. Voicu, “Severien de Gabala,” in: Dictionnaire de spiritualité 14 (Paris, 1990), pp.752-63.
This is the most comprehensive introduction to the subject, with a detailed bibliography, and it supersedes all previous work. Of course it is now 24 years old, so it is now somewhat outdated. But it is impossible to access, and the Dictionnaire itself seems almost unknown to patristic scholars in general; certainly to most anglophone scholars.
Fortunately I obtained a copy of this article some time ago, which led me to realise how essential it was. Soon afterwards, a correspondent emailed me a Word document of it, which he had scanned. Dr Voicu has very kindly granted his permission for this transcript to appear online on this blog. This will happen, probably in the next week. I want to check it over first, and to make sure that, in whatever format I upload it, it can be handled by Google Translate.
I may also translate portions of it into English. I’ve been unwell with a virus for a week, but I must return to work on Monday. Much will all depend on how busy next week is!
September 6th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
An announcement this morning that 44 more Greek manuscripts are now online at the British Library, thanks to funding from Stavros Niarchos.
Many are biblical manuscripts. The following will be of interest to us.
(Apologies for any errors; some thoughtless person at the BL site has fiddled with the copy and paste, removing all formatting and adding a pointless general link at the end in plain text. All of which makes it nearly impossible to give a list like this, and include links; you have to delete the cruft and re-add the links manually).
Add MS 39601
, Revelation (Gregory-Aland 911), imperfect at the end, with a marginal commentary by Andrew of Caesarea, Commentarii in Apocalypsin
(TLG 3004.001). 11th c., from Athos.
- Add MS 39614, Xenophon, Hellenica. Early 16th century, Venice.
- Add MS 39615, Hermogenes, De constitutionibus (Περὶ στάσεων) (TLG 0592.002). Early 16th century, Venice.
- Add MS 39616, [Plutarch], De liberis educandis. Early 16th century, Venice.
- Add MS 39617, Demosthenes, Orationes, with the hypotheses of Libanius and occasional scholia and interlinear glosses. 15th century, Greece.
- Arundel MS 531, Diogenes Laertius, Vitae Philosophorum, with illuminated head- and tailpieces on f 1r. 2nd half of the 15th century, Italy.
- Burney MS 61, Collection of works by Greek lyric poets, including Anacreon, Alcaeus, Sappho, Stesichorus, and Ibycus. Occasional marginal notes with variants of Henri Estienne and T. Faber. 2nd half of the 16th century, France.
- Burney MS 70, Basil of Caesarea, De legendis libris gentilium (TLG 2040.002), and other works. Large initials in colour and gold, partial foliate border on f 1r similar to that in Burney 14. 4th quarter of the 15th century, written by Ioannes Skoutariotes at Florence.
- Burney MS 71, Callimachus, Hymns (TLG 0533.015-020). c 1500.
- Burney MS 88, Libanius, Epistulae (TLG 2200.001). End of the 15th century, Italy.
- Burney MS 89, Lycophron, Alexandra, with the commentary of Ioannes or Isaac Tzetzes, imperfect. 1st half of the 15th century, Greece.
- Burney MS 96, Minor Attic Orators. End of the 15th century, Venice.
- Burney MS 98, Pindar, Olympia (TLG 0033.001), imperfect, with interlinear and marginal scholia; Dionysius Periegetes, Orbis Descriptio (TLG 0084.001), with interlinear glosses and marginal paraphrase; Eustathius Thessalonicensis, Commentarium in Dionysii periegetae orbis descriptionem (TLG 4083.006); Strabo, Geographica (TLG 0099.001), extracts. Beginning of the 16th century.
- Burney MS 106, Sophocles, Ajax, Electra, Oedipus Tyrannus, Antigone; [Aeschylus], Prometheus Vinctus; Pindar, Olympia. End of the 15th century.
- Burney MS 108, Aelian, Tactica; Leo VI, Tactica; Heron of Alexandria, Pneumatica, De automatis, with numerous diagrams. 1st quarter of the 16th century, possibly written at Venice.
- Burney MS 109, Works by Theocritus, Hesiod, Pindar, Pythagoras and Aratus. 2nd half of the 14th century, Italy.
- Burney MS 110, Zenobius, Epitome collectionum Luculli Tarrhaei et Didymi (TLG 0098.001). 4th quarter of the 15th century, Italy.
- Egerton MS 2625, Thucydides, Historiae (TLG 0003.001), with scholia, formerly forming a single manuscript with Add MS 5110. 15th century, possibly written on Crete.
- Royal MS 16 C IV Part 1 and Part 2, John Tzetzes, Antehomerica, with a translation into Latin by Petrus Morellus. 1560-1603, France (Tours/Loches), in the hand of Petrus Morellus.
- Royal MS 16 C VII, Constantine Manasses, Breviarium Chronicum , imperfect. Mid-15th century, Italy? Probably formerly owned by Sir Robert Cotton.
- Royal MS 16 C XIV, Apparatus Bellicus, followed by extracts from Byzantine authors. 1584, probably written in Italy.
- Royal MS 16 C XIX, Simplicius, Commentarius in Epicteti Enchiridion. 1st half of the 16th century, Italy (Padua?)
- Royal MS 16 C XX, Isaac Argyrus, De Metris Poeticis, imperfect, with marginalia by Isaac Casaubon. End of the 16th century, Italy?
Phew. That was very unpleasant to transcribe and format.
September 4th, 2014 by Roger Pearse
Another chunk of John the Lydian, De mensibus, book 4, has arrived from Andrew Eastbourne. Indeed it arrived at the weekend, but was delayed by my own illness. As might be expected, this covers the month of August.
There is material on Augustus, as might be expected, and calendrical material. No great surprises, but useful all the same!
The notes are copious, which is very necessary to understand the text and a great blessing. Thank you, Andrew.
As ever, use it in whatever way you like, personal, educational or commercial.