From my diary

A couple of snippets only.

Firstly, an email tells me that someone is producing audio versions of some of the ante-Nicene fathers, here.  Apparently they have backing music, which sounds unusual.  I have a vague idea that other people have done some of this, but it can only be a good thing!

Secondly, via Ancient World Online, I learn of a new site of dissertations online, the The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD).  I was unable to work out who and what and why from the corporate-speak on the site, but there are two search engines for it:

Scirus ETD Search
A comprehensive scientific research tool from Elsevier, Scirus ETD Search provides an advanced search that can narrow results to theses and dissertations as well as provide access to related scholarly resources.
VTLS Visualizer
This is a dynamic search and discovery platform with sophisticated functionality.  You can sort by relevance, title, and date.  In the current implementation, faceted searches are available by language, continent, country, date, format and source institution.  Additional facets, such as subjects or departments, can be added if desired.

Anything that makes these items more readily accessible is good.   Many, perhaps most dissertations are of limited value.   But they often contain unpublished translations, and so can be valuable long after the author has forgotten about them.

I’ve just done a search on “english translation”. 

This thesis [by C.R. Hackenberg, 2009] offers, for the first time, a complete Arabic-to-English translation of the debate between Nestorian Patriarch, Timothy I (a. 779-823), and Muslim ‘Abbāsid Caliph, al-Mahdī (r. 775-785). An analysis of the various editions of the Arabic and Syriac versions of the debate is included. The primary editions of the debate consulted for this thesis were Samir K. Samir’s critical edition of the Arabic text named MS 662 of the Bibliothéque Orientale à Beyrouth, and Alphonse Mingana’s edition of the Syriac text named Mingana 17 taken from the Convent of Alqosh in northern Iraq. In analyzing the various editions of the debate, the goal is to establish the primacy of the Syriac text in its relationship to the Arabic text. This analysis is largely based upon the existing work of Hans Putman. In the translation and analysis of the debate, significant differences between the Syriac and Arabic versions of the debate are noted. In addition to the translation and analysis of the debate, a general introduction to Timothy I and his accomplishments as Nestorian Patriarch as well as an outline of the proposed purpose of Timothy’s text during late antiquity and the medieval period are offered.

I downloaded it at once!  It is followed by a load of stuff of no special interest, including stuff about machine translation.  Then I found this:

A Critical Edition of Anastasius Bibliothecarius’ Latin Translation of Greek Documents Pertaining to the Life of Maximus the Confessor, with an Analysis of Anastasius’ Translation Methodology, and an English Translation of the Latin Text (Neil Bronwen, 1998)

Anastasius Bibliothecarius, papal librarian, translator and diplomat, is one of the pivotal figures of the ninth century in both literary and political contexts. His contribution to relations between the eastern and western church can be considered to have had both positive and negative ramifications, and it will be argued that his translations of various Greek works into Latin played a significant role in achieving his political agenda, complex and convoluted as this was. Being one of relatively few Roman bilinguals in the latter part of the ninth century, Anastasius found that his linguistic skills opened an avenue into papal affairs that was not closed by even the greatest breaches of trust and violations of canonical law on his part. His chequered career spanning five pontificates will be reviewed in the first chapter. In Chapter 2, we discuss his corpus of works of translation, in particular the Collectanea, whose sole surviving witness, the Parisinus Latinus 5095, has been partially edited in this study. This collation and translation of seven documents pertaining to the life of Maximus the Confessor provides us with a unique insight into Anastasius’ capacity as a translator, and into the political and cultural significance of the commissioning and dedication of his hagiographic and other translated works in general. These seven documents will be examined in detail in Chapter 3, and compared with the Greek tradition, where that has survived, in an effort to establish the codes governing translation in this period, and to establish which manuscripts of the Greek tradition correspond most closely to Anastasius’ (lost) model. In Chapter 4, we analyse consistency of style and method by comparison with Anastasius’ translation of the Historia Mystica attributed to Germanus of Constantinople. Anastasius’ methodology will be compared and contrasted with that of his contemporary John Scotus Eriugena, to place his oeuvre in the broader context of bilingualism in the West in the ninth century. Part II contains a critical edition of the text with facing English translation and historical and linguistic annotations.

That’s the stuff!

After 9 pages, tho, I found that I needed some means to exclude all the Chinese stuff!  I tried the other search engine, with advanced, and excluding “chinese”.  Interestingly this gave better results.  Some of the theses are very old — there was one on Numenius by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie.  There was a translation of portions of John Tzetzes’ letters and histories in another.  But I was much less sure whether there was actual material for download — the Tzetzes talked about “add to cart” rather than giving a link.  But returning to the first engine, and doing a similar search, I did find the Tzetzes here.  But the search engine then went wonky!

Very interesting, and deserving much investigation, I suspect!


6 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. “Maria Lectrix has been posting audio of the early Fathers for many years. She’s great.”

    Thank you. I need to get on the stick again, I know. I did finally get a better microphone, though.

    Librivox also has a good few entries in the patristic fray, in all sorts of eras. (The fast-paced recording of the entire unabridged City of God by one guy is perhaps the most notable.) But yeah, there’s tons and tons and tons of interesting and useful stuff that nobody’s recorded yet, for pay or for free. And since it’s a very winning way to absorb good and/or godly stuff, it would be nice to have more of it.

  2. The homilies of Origen seem quite good, actually, although I only know the ones on Ezechiel which I shall be making available if the translator ever finishes them.

  3. Dear Roger,
    If you happen to have a copy of Analecta Bollandiana vol. 115 (1997), I would be grateful for a short note (JPG would be nice) by Ugo Zanetti on Samuel of Kalamun (Arabic version). Our library has AB, but not this particular volume.
    Thank you
    Anthony Alcock

Leave a Reply