The abolition of the Lupercalia – letter 100 of the Collectio Avellana

I thought that I had blogged about this, but it seems I did not, or at least, can’t find it if I did.

The ancient festival of the Lupercalia was only abolished late in the 5th century.  Pope Gelasius wrote a letter to the senator Andromachus, justifying the move.  It’s found in the Collectio Avellana, which was published as CSEL 35.1 and 35.2 a century ago, as letter 100.  The letter is on p.453-464 of vol. 1, which is p.566-577 of the PDF. 

I think that would be an interesting letter to have online.  I’ve put out an enquiry in StudentGems to see if I can find someone to translate it.

UPDATE: I did.


More thought police in Britain

Another day, another sinister story.  It seems that mainstream conservative British magazine “The Spectator” is being ‘investigated’ — harassed, rather — by the police for a blog post.

The threat to British liberty.

It’s a funny old world. I have now been contacted by two journalists informing me that Bedfordshire Police are investigating The Spectator. Why? Because of the Melanie Philips blog where she referred to the “moral depravity” of “the Arabs” who killed the Fogel family in Israel. CoffeeHousers can judge for themselves if they agree or disagree with her language and views – but should this be illegal?

The Guardian has written this story up, claiming The Spectator is being investigated by the Press Complaints Commission. This is untrue. The PCC tell me that a complaint has been lodged, but that’s as far as it has gone.

And guess who informed against them?

1) Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, gets angry about what he reads on Melanie’s blog.
2) Complains to the PCC.
3) Complains to the police.
4) Phones up The Guardian and says “The PCC are investigating The Spectator!! Story!! Police too!!
5) The Guardian duly writes it all up, on its website.
6) The Independent follows up The Guardian.

I don’t blame the police.  The police have no choice but to “investigate” a complaint from a Moslem, or a gay, or a Jew, or some other legally privileged group.  They’d be terrified not to.  Failing to follow up on “hate crime” (such a loaded phrase, redolent of the Stasi) would be grounds for career termination.  Blame Tony Blair and those who passed these laws.  Blame, above all, those in power who profit from them.  These laws are the creation of the political left.

Until the political left  feel threatened by the process they have created, they will continue to create and strengthen such laws.  For this is about power, and it all — at the moment — gives power to the dirtiest elements of the political left, and gives them the power to silence those they dislike. 

(Thanks to Curious Presbyterian for this one)


Religionsgesprach am Hof der Sasaniden (the Legend of Aphroditian) online in English

The anonymous sixth century novel, depicting a fictional dialogue between Christians, pagans and Jews at the court of the Sassanid Persians is also now online in English, thanks to the splendid efforts of Andrew Eastbourne.  The HTML is here, after some efforts by me; and a PDF is at here.

As ever, these are public domain — do whatever you like with them, personal, educational or commercial.


Fragments of Philip of Side now online

There are quite a few fragments of the monster Christian History of Philip of Side around, but no complete English translation has ever been made — until now.   Last year I commissioned Andrew Eastbourne to do it, and it is now complete and online.

A PDF of the collection is available from here.  The HTML version is here.

I’m placing this in the public domain — do whatever you like with it.

A translation of the Religionsgesprach am Hof der Sasaniden will be uploaded shortly.


The Leimonos Monastery manuscripts — online in PDF form!

This is very, very exciting!  A Greek monastery at Leimonos, on the island of Lesbos, has put 108 of its manuscript collection online!  And … better yet … it has done so in PDF form.  You can download the things, which is what we all want to do.  To access it, go to its Digital Library and click on ‘manuscripts’ and then on ‘Patristic’. 

This is wonderful!  I am so excited!  It makes the fussy, over-complicated, under-usuable projects of places like the British Library look sick.  I guarantee that the Leimonos manuscripts will get studied more than any other manuscripts in history, over the next few years!  Because access is all.  If you’re teaching people about mss, what are you going to use?  You’ll use the Leimonos mss.

I saw the announcement at Evangelical Textual Criticism, where they list some of the bible manuscripts online.  But of course we’re interested in much more exciting things!  And if you click on “more…” under each ms., you get a catalogue of contents for each volume.

The patristic manuscripts include homilies by Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzen, Ephraem the Syrian, the Ladder of John Climacus, and much more.  There’s a catena on psalms 1-71, for instance.

The various manuscripts include the Physica of Aristotle, Barlaam and Joasaph, and Cyril of Alexandria’s Lexicon.

The most interesting part of this is the miscellaneous manuscripts, which could contain anything.  You’d never order a microfilm of one of these — but now you can browse, have a hunt, see what you can find.  Treasures are bound to be discovered!

Nor is the library just manuscripts.  There are the archives, and there are PDF’s of early printed books.



Online Libanius Translation Project

I wish this one all the best — it’s a great idea.  The Libanius Translation Project:

You are invited to join this open, collaborative project to translate the writings of the the fourth-century CE orator Libanius of Antioch. The first phase is the translation of the fifty-one Declamations, short orations on historical and mythological subjects. Most of these have never been translated into English.

(Via AWOL).

There are already some translations up!


Copyright law change: Google “could never have started their company in Britain” says PM

Apparently David Cameron, the UK prime minister, has grasped that the UK copyright law is rubbish.  I learn from this article:

“The founders of Google have said they could never have started their company in Britain,” the prime minister told his audience of thrusting internet entrepreneurs.

“The service they provide depends on taking a snapshot of all the content on the internet at any one time and they feel our copyright system is not as friendly to this sort of innovation as it is in the United States,” he added.

The announcement that followed, of a wholesale review of the UK’s intellectual property (IP) laws, was greeted with unalloyed delight at Google’s California HQ – and left the music industry, ravaged by web piracy, with that all too familiar sinking feeling.

The article is in the Guardian, the house paper of the left-wing establishment, so naturally harps on about the poor dear vested interests.  You need not bother to read the remainder of the article.

But it is interesting, therefore, that the PM at least grasps the problem.  UK copyright law cripples anyone wanting to contribute to the internet.  I have hopes, therefore, of an improvement.


Clavis to the letters of James of Edessa

This is J. J. van Ginkel’s list of all the extant letters of James of Edessa.  Since he has drawn it up, and it is visible online in toto, I hope he will not mind if I post it here.  My purpose in doing so, of course, is to bring this numbering into general use.  The numbering as far as #17 is ancient; beyond that is modern.

I need to go back and retrofit the Ginkel letter number to material from the letters which I have online.  Note that there are certainly some scanner artefacts in this, so use with care.

1. To John of Litarba: on two homilies of Jacob of Serug, which are not by Jacob nor Ephrem (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 79a 81a).
2. To John of Litarba: on medicine and its spiritual interpretation (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 81a-81b).
3. To John of Litarba: on 2 Pet. 2:5 referring to Noah as the eighth person (BL Add. 12172(b). fols. 81b-83a).
4. To George the deacon: on Ephrem’s Madrasha 25 on the Nativity of our Lord (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 83a-85a).
5. To John of Litarba: on the feast of the Invention of the Cross and on Ephrein s Madrasha 44 on Faith (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 85a-87b).
6. To John of Litarba: on problematic passages in the Gospels, e.g. descent of Christ from David (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 87b-91a).
7. To John of Litarba: on calculating the age of the world (discrepancy between Eusebius and the calculation of Jewish Passover) and on why Jacob dated Christ’s birth in A.Gr. 309 (against Eusebius A.Gr. 312: BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 91a-91b).
8. To John of Litarba: on the number of books by Solomon (five or three): why the books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Esther, Judith, and (1-3) Maccabees are not canonical: on the additional year in the calculation of the Alexandrians (AM 5181 or 5180); chronological, theological, and exegetical topics: on earlier authors (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 94b-96b: followed by: Scholion on the book of Wisdom (fols. 96b-97b)).
9. To John of Litarba: on prayers, offerings, and alms on behalf of impious and sinful believers (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 97b-99a).
10. To John of Litarba: on Predestination (BL Add. 12172(b). fols. 99a-104a).
11. To John of Litarba: on Predestination (addition to previous letter; BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 104a-110a).
12. To John of Litarba: on Ephrem’s Madrasha 2 against false doctrines (Shabblaye, Quqaye. Palut) (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 110a-111b).
13. To John of Litarba. reply to eighteen questions: on Gen. 15:13, on literacy before Moses, on the Nubian woman in Num. 12:1, on the cause of Satan’s fall, on Job 2:6, on Behemoth, the bird in Job 30:13 and Leviathan, on Zachariah in Matt. 23:35/Luke 11:51, on Jonah, Tiglath-Pileser and Jonah 3:4 (40 or 3 days), on the wild gourds (2 Kgs. 4:39), on Obadiah. on the articles carried away from the temple by the Babylonians, on the rock spouting water, on the authors of the Psalms, on the Hebrews and the antiquity of their language, on 1 Kgs. 4:32-33. on Song of Songs 3:7-8, on 1 Sam. 17:55. on Gen. 18:32 (BL. Add. 12172(b), fols. 111b-121b).
14. To John of Litarba. reply to thirteen questions: on the composer of the Quqite hymns (Simeon the Potter): on the man in whose house our Lord celebrated the Passover: on 2 Cor. 12:7: on Philip, who baptised the eunuch of Candace: on John 19:25: on Peter the Fuller: on Timothy Ailouros; on the three people called Mar Isaac: on the Magi from Persia at the birth of Christ: on the direction of worship of Jews and Muslims: on Ezek. 37:1 14: on the distinction between XXX, XXX and XXX: and on the clause ‘to judge the living and the dead’ and Phil. 2:10 (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 121b-120b).
15. To John of Litarba: on Acts 10:34 35 and Rom. 2:10-11 (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 126b-129b).
16. To John of Litarba: on 1 Sam. 18:10; 15:35; 19:22-24: 28:3-20: 16:1-1-23; and 17:55 (BL Add. 12172(b), fols. 129b-134a).
17. To John of Litarba: on chronological, theological, and exegetical topics; on earlier authors (BL. Add. 12172(b): also Mingana 4: on the sinner and wicked: Mingana 9: Moses bar Kepa (quotations)).
18. To John of Litarba: introductory letter to a collection of canons (BL. Add. 14493: Harvard Syr. 93: Mardin Orth. 322: Damascus Patr. 8/11).
19. To George of Serug on Syriac orthography (BL. Add. 7183. Add. 12178, Add. 17134; Mingana 101: Berlin 174 (Sachau 70): Vat.sir. 118).
20. To an anonymous person: poetic exhortation to seek wisdom, not only in words, but also in deeds after reflecting on the three creative agencies: God. Nature, and Mind, and Jacob as a poet (seven-syllabic metre: fragment: BL Add. 12172(a), fols. 65a-70a).
21. To Eustatius of Dara: on Jacob as an ascetic or a man of the world (fragment: BL Add. 12172(a), fols. 70a-72b).
22. To Eustatius of Dara: reply to an invitation to visit (fragment: BL. Add. 12172(a), fols. 72b-73a).
23 To Eustatius of Dara: explanations to a previous poetic (twelve-syllable metre) letter (fragment: BL. Add. 12172(a), fols. 73a-73b).
24. To Eustatius of Dara: on two letters of the Greek alphabet (i and k: fragment: BL Add. 12172(a), fols. 73b-74b).
25. To Eustatius of Dara: on Gibeonites and Joshua bar Nun (fragment: BL Add. 12172(a), fol. 74b).
26. To Eustatius of Dara: on the pros and cons of ‘East’ and ‘West’ (i.e. Byzantine Empire) (fragment (?): twelve-syllable metre: BL Add. 12172(a). fols. 74b 77a).
27. To the priest Abraham: allegory on viticulture (BL Add. 12172(a), fols. 77a 77b).
28. To the sculptor Thomas: questions to be put to Nestorians (BL Add. 12172(a), fols. 77b-78a).
29. To Kyrisuna of Dara: (fragment, in twelve-syllable metre; BL Add. 12172(a), fol. 78a).
30. To Kyrisuna of Dara: contains references to philosophy (Aristotelian ὅρος) and contains Greek sayings (fragment: referred to in a letter by George of the Arabs).
31. To the priest Simeon the Stylite: on he who has doubts about his profession (BL Add. 17168).
32. To the deacon Barhadbshabba: on Chalcedonians (BL Add. 14631: compare George of the Arabs to Barhadbshahba).
33. To the priest Addai: baptism and blessing of water in the Night of Epiphany (BL Add. 14715).
34. To an anonymous person: brief sketch of history (BL Or. 2307).
35. To the priest Thomas: Syriac liturgy (BL Add. 14525. Vat. sir. 581. Mingana 3: also used by Dionysius bar Salibi (H. Labourt, Dionysius bar Salibi. Expositio Liturgiae (CSCO 13-14, Syr. 13 14; Paris 1903), ed. 6-12. trans. 36-40).
36. To Daniel (fragment: possibly a pupil of Jacob of Edessa and later (after Constantine) bishop of Emesa; Michael the Syrian. Chronicle 11.15, ed. Chabot, 2:472: 11.17. ed. Chabot, 2:480).
37. To Moses (fragment): Paul reaching the third heaven (possibly Moses of Tur Abdin: Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis 1, 607: also quotation in Mingana 4).
38. On the day of Nativity of Jesus (to Moses of Tur Abdin according to Dionysius bar Salibi. Expositio Liturgiae, ed. Labourt. 49, trans. 67).
39. To Bar Hadad, Bishop of Tella (BL Add. 14731: quotation by Moses bar Kepa).
40. Addressee unknown (ending of a letter: Berlin 201 (Sachau 165)).
41. To Constantine (quoted by Moses bar Kepa: cf. the Hexaemeron which is dedicated to Constantine; possibly a pupil of Jacob of Edessa and later bishop of Bithynia, Emesa. later Edessa: cf. Michael the Syrian. Chronicle 1 1.15, ed. Chabot, 2:472: 11.17, ed. Chabot. 2:480: 11.20. ed. Chabot, 2:496: Oxford Syr. 142 (Marsh 101)).
42. To George the Stylite (although possibly spurious: Jacob third person) (Berlin 188 (Sachau 218). Mingana 317).
43-5. Three letters to Stephen (Seert 81; now lost (?)).
46. To Lazarus: on the mysterium of the Incarnation (fragment: Mingana 4: Charfet Patr. 79. fol. 27a).
47. To Isho`yahb (fragment: BL Add. 7190).
48. To Harran (‘Malakites’) (Berlin 116 (Sachau 12). Cambridge Add. 2889).
49. On the Divine Economy (Oxford Syr. 142 (Marsh 101): Mingana 105. Mingana 152. Mingana 480 (1-13). Mingana 522: Vatican Borg. 147 and 108 (possibly related to Damascus Patr. 8/11).
50. To Paul of Antioch (fragment: Assemani. Bibliotheca Orientalis I. 477-478).


Classicorum auctorum e Vaticanis codicibus editorum – download pdf’s

Angelo Mai’s great series of volumes of publications from palimpsests in the 1830’s are accessible online.  Unfortunately the titles tend to be abbreviated and hard to find. 

Here’s what I can find.


More on Severian of Gabala

It seems that I am not the only person interested in Severian of Gabala.  I have come across a series of publications by Remco F. Regtuit, who is assistant professor of Greek at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

So far I have seen none of his works, but articles on “The Charm of Severian of Gabala” — something I have noted myself — suggest good things!  Unfortunately none of this material seems to be accessible online.

One interesting publication I learned of is Henning J. Lehmann, Per piscatores: studies in the Armenian version of a collection of homilies by Eusebius of Emesa and Severian of Gabala, 1975.  This is research on a collection, published between 1956-9 in Handes Amsorya by Nerses Akinian, based on Ms. New Julfa 110.  It sounds very like the collection published a century earlier by Aucher, which perhaps exists in several manuscripts. 

Another is an edition and translation of an unpublished homily, ed. by Aubineau, Un traité inédit de christologie de Sévérien de Gabala : In centurionem et contra Manichaeos et Apollinaristas. Cahiers d’Orientalisme V.  Geneve, 1983.

But once again, how do we access any of this?