Typing up Origen

Origen’s Homilies on Ezekiel are mostly extant in a Latin translation by Rufinus.  For the book version, we’re going to need an electronic text.  I’ve scanned a few Latin texts in  my time using OCR, and the results have often been variable.  Back in 2000, the quality of software was lamentable.  Today it is better, but even Abby Finereader 10 doesn’t include recognition for Latin.

So I’ve decided to hire someone to do it manually, and we’ll see how it goes.  Market rates seem to be about $10 per 1,000 words, which is liveable with.

I ought to apologise, by the way, for all the project-related posts at the moment.  These are occupying every minute of my time, so I really am thinking about nothing else right now!

How big is my Migne, part 2?

I need to get an electronic text created of the polytonic Greek in Selecta in Ezechielem by Origen.  The Selecta are cols. 767-825 in PG13; but of course alternate columns are the Latin translation, so there’s only 29 columns of text.

How many words per column?  Well, it seems to be about 400 words (although columns vary a lot).  So word count might be about 11,600 words.

I’ll advertise and see what people want to transcribe this.  One could transcribe 100 words fairly quickly, I think?

Origen update

I commissioned a translation of Origen’s fourteen homilies on Ezekiel earlier this year.  Today I had what must be very nearly the final versions of homilies 11-14, including translations of relevant Greek fragments from the catenas.  This means that the job is nearly done.  It also means, less pleasantly, that I need to start thinking about how to market these, in order to recover at least some of the money, so that I can then put them online.

The sermons are lost in the original Greek; what we are translating into English for the first time is St. Jerome’s Latin translation of them.  We’re using the GCS critical text.  In the Patrologia Graeca is a pre-critical version.  But also present is an excerpt from Origen’s Commentary on Ezechiel — also mostly lost — which is about a page in length.  We’ll do that as well.

In Migne there is also a collection of Selecta in Ezechielem.  These are fragments of Origen’s original Greek text, found mixed with excerpts from other authors in the medieval Greek commentaries or catenae.  The labelling of which father contributed which excerpt can be pretty erratic in the catenas, so not all his material labelled “Origen” is probably authentic.  Migne prints what there is, tho.

Translation of the Selecta has begun, and the fragments on chapters 1-3 of Ezekiel have been completed.  Interestingly the catena fragments are much more readable than Origen at full length.  Probably the brevity of the chunks has something to do with this, but I think people will find them interesting.  Here’s one on chapter 1, verse 3.  Origen writes:

“in the land of the Chaldaeans.”  “Chaldaean” is translated as “all work.” And these [i.e., Chaldaeans] are astrologers, who talk about fate, and are completely tied to perceptible things, and work hard among them, making them into gods.  The “land of the Chaldaeans” is the worst position and attitude.  Indeed, the Chaldaeans represent a symbol of those who are arrogant in impiety.

I smiled when I read this, since later Syriac fathers would identify with the Chaldaeans.  I think we may be sure that they never saw this comment when doing so!

More Origen and James of Edessa

I’ve now finished skimming through James of Edessa, and straightening it out.  I did about half of it in the last couple of days, interestingly.  All those evenings in the hotel trying to do a page or two didn’t really achieve a lot.

The first draft of Origen’s 13th Homily on Ezekiel has arrived.  With luck I’ll be able to comment and return it this evening.

A knock on the door downstairs tells me that the blasted American custom of “trick or treat” on middle-class estates on Halloween has started.  It never happened when I was young; this is purely the effect of the mass media.  I don’t have a door-bell, so they won’t be sure I heard.  With luck I shan’t suffer any harm.

Updates on Origen, and Stephanos of Alexandria

I’ve received a revised version of Origen’s 12th homily on Ezekiel, and paid for it, and apparently homily 13 is in an advanced state.  So very good news here. I need to review it and comment, which I will do in a day or so.

Meanwhile my alchemical friends have transcribed the unpublished English translation of the 4th lecture by the 7th century philosopher Stephanos of Alexandria.  They did a nice job.  I’ve sent a copy of it to the editor of Ambix; and also invited someone who tells me he knows Greek and is interested in alchemy to revise it.  Let’s see if he can!

I did a couple more pages of James of Edessa’s Chronicle today as well!

Origen Homily 12 on Ezekiel

The first draft of the English translation of Origen’s 12th Homily on Ezekiel has arrived!  I hope to read through it later today.

I’ve been reading F.A.Paley’s collection of Greek witticisms, Greek Wit.  This was in two volumes, which later editions bound together, as the copy I have seems to be.  My first attempt to obtain this, from Amazon, brought me a slim but expensive reprint which only contained the second part.

What strikes me is the wit in Lucian’s life of Demonax.  I have never read most of Lucian, and I don’t even know if his works are mainly online.  The other source was the Byzantine florilegist Stobaeus, about which I know little.  Hmm…. more to read!

More project news

Origen’s 10th homily on Ezekiel (out of 14) is pretty much done, a bit of discussion aside.

Better yet, I have received the Arabic transcription and English translation of three treatises from Sbath’s collection of Arabic Christian theological material.  These are #17, #18 and #19.  All look very good, and one at least will bear posting here when I’ve paid for it.  All are concerned with the truth of Christianity, ca. 900 AD.

Lots of progress

It never rains but it pours.  Today, in my inbox I find:

  1. The first draft of the translation of Origen’s 10th Homily on Ezekiel.
  2. The sample chunk of the translation of the lost 60% of John Chrysostom’s Oratio 2 adversus Judaeos.
  3. Portion 15 of the translation of Sbath’s collection of Arabic theological and philosophical texts.

It is nice to see all these projects coming along, tho!  I’ve asked the Eusebius translator to look over the Chrysostom sample.  The other two translators are well known to me for the quality of their work.