Filing cabinets full of my own past

It’s odd how the weather determines what you work on.  Because it has been hot, I’m using my laptop downstairs, where I have a mobile air-con unit.  Upstairs was so hot yesterday, that after sitting at my desk at the laptop for ten minutes I could feel the sweat pouring off.  So I brought the laptop downstairs, and started downloading the images of the 10th century manuscript of the Iliad.

Because that is big, it is still going on — 1.5Gb so far, after 18 hours.  Because it is going on, I’m still using my laptop downstairs.  Actually it is cooler today because of cloud cover, but the thermometer still says 27.1C outside.  I’ve even gone and bought another mobile air-con unit to keep upstairs.  You can’t use that for six hours after delivery, tho, so I’m still downstairs. 

So … what can I do?  I don’t feel like working on any of the in-progress translations.  I need to get the translation of Severian of Gabala’s first sermon on Genesis done and online, but somehow I don’t feel like it.  Too hot, too humid, even though it is 23.4C in here. 

I find myself pulling out a Fujitsu Scansnap S300 scanner.  Like many people I have piles of photocopied articles around.  I want these in PDF form.  I started last year, but haven’t done any more since.  Because I’m downstairs, I look in the filing cabinet there.  I decide to start at the back.  And …

I find three articles by William Tabbernee, the Montanism expert.  I got them because Montanism is interesting, and also because it related to the Tertullian work I was doing at the time.  The staples are slightly rusty — but then I probably last looked at these more than ten years ago!  I run them through the scanner and let Adobe Acrobat do the OCR. 

Then I start in on photocopies of pages from Altaner’s Patrology.  I love patrologies.  Indeed I keep meaning to buy a copy of Altaner, for bedtime reading; but I will hardly look at these photocopies unless they are in PDF.  Then there’s C.H.Roberts 1936 original publication of P52, the fragment of John’s gospel from 125 AD.

Meanwhile a memory nags.  Wasn’t there some untranslated dialogue featuring Montanists that I was always interested in?  I look through the Tabbernee articles.  And … I find reference to a Dialogue between a Montanist and an Orthodox, edited by G. Ficker as Widerlegung eines Montanisten in ZKG 26 (1905), p.447-63.

Has anyone translated this?  Is it interesting?  Is ZKG 26 online?  Well, I may look into this!


5 thoughts on “Filing cabinets full of my own past

  1. I find that the Dialog was edited with an Italian translation by Anna Maria Berruto Martone, Dialogo di un montanista con un ortodosso, Biblioteca patristica 34, EDB, Bologna 1999. Wish I could get hold of this! The Ficker edition contains no translation.

  2. I’ve read some of Bill Tabbernee’s stuff (awhile back) and much is very useful, but ISTR that he suffers from the usual Protestant viewpoint that the early church had a wide multiplicity of acceptable views, which he uses to excuse the Montanists a bit. So the dialogue with an Orthodox sounds very significant!

  3. He’s doing excellent work. I wish I knew more about his excavations at Pepuza.

    But the “early church held various doctrines, all acceptable” idea is not a protestant idea, you know, but an anti-Christian one. A look at the NT tells us different, if Ignatius did not.

    The idea is to undermine Christian claims by inventing the idea that Jesus did not actually preach anything very distinct. If this had been so, the Christian church would never have come into being or acquired self-identity. The idea arises from the teaching of religion in secular universities, where it is natural to teach about the heretics at the same time as the early Christians. The fraud is in labelling all of them Christians, heretics and believers alike, when we know that the early Christians did not accept the heretics as believers; and then claiming that if they are all Christians, then clearly the early church believed all sorts of things. It’s a game with words, and those who do it are all (funnily enough) heretics themselves.

Leave a Reply