From my diary

I’m still working on Ibn Abi Usaibia.  Yesterday I started going through the .htm files exported from Abbyy Finereader, to rejoin paragraphs and add in page numbers.  I’ve so far found two pages which are out of order in the manuscript — the numerals at the bottom in pencil were clearly added after the pages became disarranged.

I’ve also been experimenting with producing a version of the images of the pages which might be uploadable to, by converting them to black and white using ImageMagick as I was doing yesterday.  This sort of works, but requires quite a bit of manual intervention, so I have parked it for now.

This morning I went to the library and obtained a copy of Maarten Vermaseren’s Mithras: De geheimzinnige God, the original version of Mithras: the secret God, which has caused so much misinformation to circulate.  It’s physically a tiny book — indeed the title page calls it an “Elsevier pocket book”, evidently one of a series — printed on very cheap paper which has yellowed and perished, and bound so tightly that the pages are almost impossible to open, and the printed text is so close to the binding that making a photocopy is almost impossible.  The perished paper tends to tear if you simply open the book!  I suspect that if I want an electronic copy of this, I shall have to buy a copy and destroy it, by cutting the spine off, in order to scan it.  Most vexing.

But the important bit so far is that this isn’t a scholarly work at all!  It’s just a bit of popularisation, probably undertaken at the behest of a publisher, who decided the format etc.

Meanwhile the postman brought me the 2010 translation of Origen’s Homilies on Ezekiel by Thomas Scheck.  Regular readers will remember that I commissioned a translation of this work — then untranslated — back in 2009, and that it was projected as volume 2 of Ancient Texts in Translation.  Nothing much has happened on this for over a year now, as it has been awaiting some revision work.  I think I shall have to draw up a plan whereby I can get it out of the door, and so I have purchased a copy of Scheck with this in mind.  I’ll work on this in January, perhaps.


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