Being my own publisher: translating a work by Eusebius of Caesarea into English

Eusebius composed a work in three books on problems or contradictions in the gospels, and solutions for them.  The first two books were addressed to a certain Stephanus and addressed 16 ‘problems’ with the genealogies given at the start of Matthew and Luke.  The other book was addressed to one Marinus, and discussed problems at the end of the gospels, particularly Mark.  In consequence it has been referenced whenever the long ending of Mark was discussed. 

This interesting work was also translated into Syriac.  Unfortunately neither the Greek nor the Syriac text has reached us.  Latino Latini wrote:

“Sirletus would like you to know that three books have been found in Sicily by Eusebius of Caesarea ‘de diaphonia Evangeliorum’ which he hopes in a short time himself to bring into the light.” (Opera vol. 2 p.116) 

But in the 19th century Angelo Mai discovered that a long epitome of the work was extant in a Vatican manuscript, as well as long quotations from the full text in a catena and two Syriac fragments in a monophysite catena.  These he published with a Latin translation, and were reprinted by Migne in the Patrologia Graeca, while the Syriac fragments were extensively supplemented by Beyer ca. 1900. 

A new edition of the epitome with French translation and commentary was made by Claudio Zamagni for his PhD thesis, and will be published by Sources Chrétiennes.  But no English version exists, and no likelihood of one.

I have decided to remedy this situation.  I have commissioned two translators to translate the Greek and Syriac respectively, and also have obtained a reviewer to ensure that the translation of the Greek is as good as I can make it (a Syriac reviewer will also be needed, of course).  This will cost money and I intend to print a book version, and sell it for what I can get (perhaps $35?).  It’s a bit of an experiment.  If the income covers the costs, then I will commission some more interesting but unavailable works.  I don’t want to be involved in publishing, but my calculations suggest that royalties from another publisher will not cover the costs.

I would welcome comments and suggestions on this idea.  Would readers be willing to buy such a volume?  What sort of money would people think right to charge?  Should it include a reprint of the Greek and Syriac?  What should I call my ‘publishing firm’!?


4 thoughts on “Being my own publisher: translating a work by Eusebius of Caesarea into English

  1. Good idea, Roger. Were I you, I’d make it available in either electronic or print formats and “print on demand”. I’m sure you’ve already thought of that, but just in case I thought I’d mention it.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions; I hadn’t thought about electronic format, only print. But I suppose so long as people pay, I don’t mind. Mind you copying would then be a problem.

    Print on demand is what I had in mind, if I could. Until I know how to sell the things, I don’t want to end up with a stack of copies on the floor! So I’ve just tried printing a copy of vol. 1 of Graf’s Geschichte der arabischen christlichen Literatur (out of print, sadly) for my own use from and I will see what I think of the results and process.

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