I’ve mentioned before my investigation into Arabic witnesses to the idea that Zoroaster said “Whoever does not eat my body and drink my blood…”. One of these may be the 9th century Melkite “Commentary on the Nicene creed” by the otherwise unknown Al-Majdalus.
A little while ago, I experimented with getting a commercial translator in Beirut to have a go at this. The text is unpublished, so I obtained monochrome images of the pages of two manuscripts from the Bibliotheque Orientale at Saint-Joseph’s University, and passed them to him. Of course I asked for a sample, of the first page. This has now arrived, and looks a bit inadequate. But I’m passing it to a gentleman who has helped me in the past, and we’ll see.
The BO managed to put my images on a dodgy CDROM. Two of the jpg files arrived being zero bytes long. However there are other unpublished Arabic texts which might be relevant, so I’ve asked them for some of these. This time they’ve invented some bureaucracy — a form full of talk about rights etc. Quite how many people can read these mss, or care, I do not know — it seems to be a very small number! How they would enforce this does not seem to have occurred to them either. I fear that this is merely officialdom protecting itself against criticism. It’s a bit sad to see, really.
But I’m looking forward to the images. All I need now is someone who is competent in Christian Arabic of the medieval period, and willing to work for 10 cents a word. There must be someone! I can’t even find any email lists dedicated to scholars in this field; which is rather curious.