These days I seem to get insomnia the night before any journey. I wish I knew why.
Anyway tonight I find myself thinking about the Tough questions on the gospels and their solutions by Eusebius of Caesarea. I’ve had all the Greek fragments translated, even the ones which largely duplicate other fragments. The question now is how to present all this material? What will work, for the reader?
In an ideal world, we’d create a critical text. Then we’d translate that. But this work is highly non-ideal.
For one thing, we have an epitome of the work; and we have catena fragments of the full text. Can we really integrate these into one critical text? They never were one text, at any point in their life. Claudio Zamagni, who edited the epitome for the Sources Chretiennes, thought not.
OK, so we have two works. So we use Zamagni’s critical text of the epitome and translate that (and we did). What do we do about all the catena fragments?
The thing is, it isn’t simple. These fragments belong to a number of different catenas. Catena writers ‘adjust’ the texts they quote, adding words at either end, modifying tenses, etc, in order to get a flowing commentary out of them. No blame to them; but how on earth do you do a critical edition of that? Unless you edit the catena, which we aren’t doing.
Do we try to combine fragments? But… we’re not editing the Greek of the fragments. Anyway, all we have is stuff already published, as I wasn’t really able to access the manuscripts.
Or do we have the same basic idea, repeated five times in slightly varying forms on the page?
How do I combine these with the epitome? Do I have the epitome first, and then all the fragments? Or do I print each “question” in the epitome, and then add related fragments underneath (with a bucket at the end for fragments of unknown relation to the epitome, belonging to “questions” not preserved by it). I sort of favour the last alternative, because it would be more usable for a reader who wants to know what Eusebius said on a given subject. But it breaks up the flow of the work.
It’s going to be an unusual publication, that’s for sure. It won’t be specially scholarly. To produce anything more than a translation of the lot, in some order or other, is beyond my means, given the problems of the text.
Decisions, decisions — and suggestions very welcome!