From my diary

The big news is that Dr Isabella Image has today very kindly sent me a rather wonderful draft translation of an anonymous 4th century text, De solstitiis et aequinoctiis, about which I have written before.  It’s never been translated before into any modern language, and it is full of interesting things.  The author suggests that Christ and John the Baptist were conceived and born on the solstices and equinoxes, and argues this from the bible.  The argument made is not entirely convincing to modern eyes, but it is very revealing of 4th century thinking.  I hope to make this available online very soon.

The other news is that the postman brought me a copy of a French PhD thesis which I ordered from the ANRT last weekend.  It comes handsomely bound, in standard softback academic book format.  It’s certainly a huge step up from the pile of letter-sized photocopies that ProQuest send out.  Indeed it is almost worth the huge sum that I paid for it.  It contains an unpublished translation, about which I will post further another time.  I wish I could have had a PDF, tho.

I’ve also placed my first inter-library loan for some time, for a volume of Charles W. Jones on Bede.  This apparently contains a discussion of the manuscripts of the Irish computus forgeries.  This was a loose end from my post a little while back about “Theophilus of Caesarea”, and I’ll post if I find something interesting.  It will be interesting to see if ILL’s are working again.  It will also be interesting to see what they charge me!


6 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. The Samaritans have a similar conception regarding Aaron and Moses. Wonder if it is related.

  2. The material and discussion of the Classicist Dr. Peter Gainsford in his blog on the topic of Easter, Christmas, solstice and equinox is quite complete and should be read by anyone interested in this subject.

    Here is a link to the relevant section of his lengthy four part study, which will lead to the other parts:
    (The final part is a long bibliography.)

    Four books also deal with the Irish computus.

    MacCarron M. – Bede and Time_ Computus, Theology and History in the Early Medieval World (Routledge 2020);

    Warntjes I. The Munich Computus- Irish computistics between Isidore of Seville and the Venerable Bede its reception in Carolingian times (F. Steiner, Stuttgart 2010);

    Warntjens I. & Ó Cróinín D. -ed- The Easter Controversy of Late Antiquity & the Early Middle Ages. Its Manuscripts, Texts, & Tables. Conference Galway 2008. (Brepols 2010);

    Warntjens I. & O Cróinín D. -ed- Computus & its Cultural Context in the Latin West, AD 300-1200. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on the Science of Computus in Ireland and Europe Galway, 14–16 July, 2006 (Brepols 2010).

    If you have difficulty procuring these publications please be free to contact me privately via email.

  3. “He must increase and I must decrease” has pretty much always been linked to midwinter and midsummer, to the point that it was used as ‘proof’ that Jesus and John the Baptist had pagan birthdays. But I’m sure there’s a lot more to be said about it.

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