From my diary

A CD arrived today from a kind correspondent, containing photos of the entire unpublished study and translation of the 6th century Jewish medical text by Asaph.  I confess that Jewish literature is not something I know anything about; but it seems clear that this item is not otherwise translated.  The translation is public domain, but OCR’ing it would be quite an effort.  Not sure what to do with this, if anything.  I think my correspondent may do something.

Meanwhile my commission for a translation of further parts of John the Lydian On the Roman months, has been accepted, so this should happen.  The result will be made public domain and placed online, as ever.

Another correspondent kindly pointed out that a PDF online contains an electronic text of the Greek of this work.  This professes to be from Migne; but I have my doubts.  I don’t know if De mensibus is in the TLG, but if so, I would guess that this is the text in question.

I spent a little time reading the introduction of the Wunsch 1898 edition, but not really enough to master it properly.  But it seems that only a single manuscript, from the 9th or 10th century, preserves the text.  There are lacunas later on, indeed.  The work was known to Photius, who mentions it in his Bibliotheca, so the surviving manuscript, Caseolinus Parisinus supplementi graeci 257 (=O), is contemporary with him.  This seems to have been discovered during the 19th century, for I found a publication on Google books from the 1820’s, which contained only excerpts.  Wunsch, indeed, lists a bunch of manuscripts containing extracts, as well as a group of manuscripts containing a ‘recension’ by Planudes, and another group containing a ‘recension’ found in the Vatican Barberini manuscript and its relations.  Both recensions, I would guess, are really collections of extracts.  So this is a text that only just survived in something like its complete form.

I also found that there are quite a few snippets about John and his career in Google Books, in previews.  John the Lydian seems to have been a contemporary of the historian Procopius, although nothing links the two except that both pursued a career in the imperial civil service in the same period, the early to middle 6th century.

2 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. Roger
    Regarding the translation and commentary of the Asaph text.
    It sounds like a valuable work, please consider converting the page images to a PDF file, not hard to do or time consuming if you have Adobe Acrobat or one of its imitators. Then upload the file to Internet Archive, with enough tags so that the text can be readily found using Bing or Google. There is no need to do OCR, the work will be presented in the original form that was given to you.

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