I’ve spent today driving up to Cambridge to visit the university library. My object was to obtain some articles by R. Delmaire on the subject of Chrysostom’s letters. For the most part I was able to obtain these; although I was disappointed to discover that the latest available volume of one serial was not shelved or accessible. I’m reading into them at the moment. R. Delmaire’s 1991 study examined the letters, and reordered them by date. The order in the Benedictine edition (and the PG) isn’t even that of the manuscripts!
The Letters of Chrysostom project is not mine, so I won’t say a lot about this. But I have also discovered a list of the opening words of all of the letters at the Sources Chretiennes site here (PDF).
Equally useful, I have discovered a list of the works of Chrysostom at the same site, with the Clavis Patrum Graecorum number for them all, here (PDF).
I’ve also received from the Lebanese typist the next 10 pages of the transcription of al-Makin’s world history. This is taken from the 1625 Erpenius edition, which has the merit of being printed. Once we get to the end of this – for Erpenius died before he could complete editing the text – I shall have to try the typist on a PDF of a microfilm manuscript.
An email has arrived today from the Bibliothèque Nationale Français, containing an estimate for reproductions of two manuscripts of al-Makin. They require 50 euros each, plus 10 euros for “shipping” (why?) plus M. Hollande’s tax on top of that, totalling around 130 euros, or nearly $190! Quite a bit for 2 PDF’s! Worse still, they propose to supply me with scans from microfilms — at least, I hope these are scans, for the estimate says only “microfilm”. And these will be black and white, and quite possibly unreadable. I have a lot of time for the BNF, but this is shameful. For that price they could at least photograph the things with a consumer digital camera and supply me with some decent images! I shall have to pay the blackmail – it is, at least, less than the Bodleian is demanding – but it is a salutary reminder, in these days of digitisation, how bad things were and still are in some places.