I’ve had an email with some material extracted from Matthieu Cassin’s thesis about Gregory of Nyssa, with the pages discussing the chapter titles in the manuscripts. I’ve not had a chance to read it yet, but it looks fascinating. Dr Cassin has done some real work here, and I will discuss it further.
Also I found myself thinking about Mithras today. Readers will remember that between 2009 and the end of 2010 I revised the Wikipedia Mithras article, to produce something reliable, only to have the work hijacked by a troll. The troll deleted all references to me — the author of most of it! — and changed it to “prove” that Mithras preceded Jesus, etc; and he has sat on it, dog-in-the-manger, ever since. But in a way he did me a favour, since I was beginning to contribute far too much time to Wikipedia.
But the reason that I dedicated so much time to looking up and verifying and quoting so much material about Mithras was to dispose of the many myths that circulate online. That reason is still valid, and it seems to me that it would be sensible to write a few pages about Mithras, using secondary sources of a reliable kind, in order to provide a useful resource to those who need it.
The obvious thing to do would be to start with the last reliable version — nothing the troll did was of any value –, and remove whichever bits I have not written or validated myself, and then build on that.
There would be a main page, consisting of short sections, each with a link to a page on that specific subject. Each sentence in the short sections would be referenced; probably to a reference on the specific page, rather than on the main page.
It would be important to have a professional look to the pages. I’m not sure how best to achieve that, short of hiring someone (which, of course, is an option). Some nice graphics would be nice, if I knew a decent graphics designer who could draw…
Ideally the pages would be editable online; but at the moment I couldn’t spare the time for online editing anyway. I don’t really want to install MediaWiki, so we may have to sacrifice that, and just fall back on some kind of HTML editing.
The object, as always, would be to allow a reader to access the subject, not to push a narrative or my opinions (indeed I have none on Mithras, except that I don’t want to see disinformation circulating).
As part of this, my policy is always to have references that quote the source in extenso, and to link to the online text where possible. In this way the reader can verify for himself whether or not the reference is fair or accurate. I did this, after I discovered that most of the references in the Wikipedia Mithras article, before I worked on it, were in fact bogus. Quote and link makes that problem disappear, and I would continue it.
Naturally I would want to link closely to primary materials. It would be right to do something about inscriptions and images, if one could.
A page on Mithra, the Persian deity whose name was probably borrowed by the unknown founder of the Mithras cult, would probably be useful.
A guestbook in which comments and feedback could be added would probably be useful also.
Ah, but when will I get the *time*!!!!