From my diary

The sun shone today, so I drove up to Cambridge University Library.

My first objective was the articles by archbishop Michael Chub in Bogoslovskie Trudy, which gave versions of the Slavonic text of Methodius.  The articles appear in issue 2 (1961) and 3 (1964).

I don’t know a single letter of Russian, but the journal itself helped me quite a bit.  Remember that this is the period of KGB control of the church.  The journal was published by the Moscow Patriarchate, mainly to give a false impression of the freedom of the church in Soviet times.  Being intended for export, it had a table of contents in English and French, and Arabic numbers for page numbers.

The articles also were accompanied by monochrome photographs of pages of the Slavonic manuscripts.  Anyway I got a photocopy of the lot — slightly over A4, unfortunately, so some work with scissors will be necessary in order to scan it — and I will run it into PDF, OCR it, put it through Google Russian-English translate, and see what Dr Chub — let us hope that he wasn’t one of the KGB officers appointed as bishops — has to say.

It was a long drive to get this, and I had considered ordering a photocopy of the articles from my local library via the British Library.  But it would probably have cost no less, and the copies that I have received through the latter have often  been of very poor quality.

Last night I started writing a post on the bibliography of Hero of Alexandria.  I took the opportunity to verify a couple of references.  Amusingly, two of them were wrong!  One volume was supposed to contain a load of English translations of Hero; in reality it was a commentary, and contained none.  It is surprising how often people do not verify their references.

Meanwhile I have had a couple of interesting emails.  Andrea Gehrtz, who has translated various works by Porphyry, has had a go at book 1 of the ancient astrological writer, Vettius Valens.  It’s available for sale on Amazon.com here.

Andrea Gehrtz, Vettius Valens

Another correspondent advises me that Beth Dunlop’s translation of 4 Christmas homilies is accessible here.  The homilies are by John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Amphilochius of Iconium, and Gregory Nazianzen — all 4th century, and it is good to have access to them.  I did write to Beth Dunlop years ago, asking if I might place these online, but had no response.  Perhaps the author of this site has been more successful!

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