From my diary

Well here I am again.  A year ago I went off to start a contract in a town which I very much like, but involves a journey of 2-3 hours each way, and a round trip of 220 miles.  That was the last time that I had any substantial time off.  It’s been a long year.  The contract was good, but the travelling gradually became too much.  Eventually I asked the Lord for guidance; and the very next day received unmistakable evidence that it was time to seek out a job closer to home.  The last few weeks have been very difficult.  I don’t usually find myself falling asleep at my terminal!  But I now have at least two months off.

I have rarely worked from home.  But in the last couple of weeks, I did so Monday and Tuesday.  In order to do this, I purchased a docking station for the work laptop and a pair of screens.  Rather to my surprise I found that these could each be bought on eBay very cheaply, in new or near-new condition.  Having the right setup made working from home much easier.

Today I tried to connect the screens to my own laptop.  They connect but the graphics card will only support two screens, including the laptop monitor.  Usually you setup the laptop so that closing the lid turns off the screen, instead of putting the machine to sleep; and then the twin monitors come into their own.  But for some reason my machine will not permit this.  Maybe it’s a driver issue.  I shall look into this further.

Last week I looked at the French translations of the miracles of St George.  These are very easy to read, and it might well be worth running them through Google Translate, fixing the bugs, and making them accessible online.  I’ve learned a huge amount about hagiography from St George.  I need to write this up.

Over the last six months, I have been putting aside emails with blog post ideas.  Some of these are things I saw on twitter, while others are emails that I received.  So I have a fair few posts ahead of me.

That said, for the next couple of weeks I intend to try and get out in the sun.  The last year was not good for my health, and, inter alia, my vitamin D level is a bit low.  So it’s time to get outdoors, do some walks, and eat some strawberries (as one does in June).

6 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. Speaking of hagiography, I’v just finished a very interesting book by Pieter W. van der Horst [Emeritus Professor of Early Christianity and Judaism at Utrecht], Het joodse koninkrijk van Himyar en de christelijke martelaars van Nadjrân [The Jewish Kingdom of Himyar and the Christian Martyrs of Najran] (Amsterdam: Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep,2015) (120 pages), which includes his annotated translation (pp. 46-86; notes: pp. 93-111) based on M. Detoraki and J. Beauchamp, Le martyre de saint Aréthas et de ses compagnons (BHG 166); édition critique, étude et annotation (Paris: Association de amis du Centre d’histoire et civilization de Byzance, 2007) of one of the main sources for the history of this (in some sense self-consciously Jewish) kingdom (more or less where Yemen now is), in c. 520-25, and its aggressive, persecuting convert-king (!).

    It does not seem to have ever been translated into English (yet). I’m not sure about the three other main sources, but I don’t think they have, either. (Professor Van der Horst has an extensive and interesting-looking bibilography.)

    The first edition of the text of Martyrion tou Agiou Aretha’ [my transliteration] in
    Jean François Boissonade de Fontarabie, Anecdota Græca, vol. V, Paris, 1833, p. 1-62, is scanned in the Internet Archive:

    https://archive.org/details/anekdotaanecdot00boisgoog

    As is the first edition of the earliest source by Ignazio Guidi in “La lettera di Simone vescovo di Beth-Arsâm sopra i martiri omeriti” (1881) [transcribed]:
    https://archive.org/stream/LaLetteraDiSimeone/La_lettera_di_Simeone_vescovo_di_Be%CC%82th_A_djvu.txt
    [scanned]:
    https://archive.org/details/LaLetteraDiSimeone

    Another of the main sources, Axel Moberg’s 1924 edition, The Book of the Himyarites seems to be online in Scribd (but I don’t know how that works!):

    https://www.scribd.com/document/203746842/Axel-Moberg-the-Book-of-the-Himyarites-Fragments-of-a-Hitherto-Unknown-Syriac-Work-Edited-With-Introduction

    I’ve been wanting to know more about this for years, having read something about it in a general history, and had know idea how to find out more – and then saw an advertisement for remaindered books that included Professor Van der Horst’s!

    The ‘Martyrion tou Agiou Aretha’ was apparently written not long after the events (which include the successful military intervention of the Christian King of Ethiopia, ‘Ella ‘Ashbeha), and it is astonishing (in all sorts of ways – to me, anyway). One of the striking things is the focus on lay martyrs (men, women, and children) after the clergy, monks, and nuns have all been murdered. Another is the detailed attention to the intircacies of what might be called political-philosophical matters (such as (proper) authority and appropriate respect for or resistance to it).

  2. (“know”>”no”[!] (How’d I do that? Hesitating between ‘not known how’ and ‘had no idea’?)
    ‘intricacies” [!] (mere metathesis)

  3. More haste, less speed… “two of the other three main sources”: Moberg obviously translated as well as edited one!

  4. Ah there’s always vast amounts of stuff still to study! One day I will get to the Himyarites. ScribD works – you have to upload some PDF that they don’t have in order to get access to download.

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