An interesting experiment at HMML by Adam McCollum

Adam McCollum is the dedicated cataloguer of manuscripts at the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library run by Fr. Columba Stewart.  The latter is doing an enormously valuable job; of getting copies of all the Syriac and Arabic manuscripts located in oriental monasteries in places like Syria and Iraq.  The urgency and importance of this task should be obvious to us all at the moment.

Adam’s task is seemingly more prosaic; to catalogue the results.  In practice this requires a wide familiarity with the literature and a great deal of dedication.  But it also gives him the chance to make original finds, and to publicise the texts.  

On his blog today is an interesting post, and a PDF download:

Among some manuscripts at the Church of the Forty Martyrs, Mardin, that I have recently cataloged are some that deal with the hagiographic Qartmin trilogy of the stories of Samuel, Simeon, and Gabriel.

Some of this material has been published (and even partly translated), but the published texts are not easy to come by. While going through these texts I came across one episode in The Story of Šemʿon (Simeon) in Syriac and in Arabic that, not too short and not too long and of enough entertainment value and philological interest, called for greater readership than it currently has residing in manuscripts.

The text, in either or both languages, would be suitable for intermediate, perhaps even beginning, reading courses, and of course anyone interested in hagiography and the history of asceticism, and more generally scholars of Syriac and Arabic, would lose nothing by studying the passage. I stress that the file below is merely a beginning effort, and while I have proofread it, it still should be considered a draft! Here it is:

episode_mar_shemun_syr_arab

The ease of making texts available this way — from manuscript to electronic file to the internet in a matter of days, with the option of correction always there — has the potential to change greatly any academic field based on texts, and I hope that more such text presentation will appear. Comments especially on this general prospect are encouraged!

Emphasis mine.  He is quite right.  The PDF presents the text, in Syriac and in Arabic, in a perfectly serviceable form.  And … the world can see it and use it.

Well done, that man.

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