From my diary

Portions of this post are written under the UK government legislation controlling criticism of homosexuality.

Summer has suddenly arrived, with massive heat and glaring sun.  I’ve had to go and lie down with a headache!  Not used to the bright light, I’m afraid.  I have some interesting emails to deal with, but they’ll have to wait until Monday.

Something made me search around the web last night for information on the Lex Scantiniana, which prohibited unnatural vice.  I found quite a lot of politically-motivated rubbish, pretending that in fact it did not prohibit homosexuality. If Juvenal wasn’t one of my favourite authors, and his second satire not more or less engraved on my mind verbatim, I might have been more impressed.  Yet those writing were evidently academics.  It reminded me of just why I always held the humanities in contempt in the 80’s, as merely a bunch of people decorating their politics and prejudices with the aid of handbooks. 

But it caused me to look again at Juvenal, who indeed says what I remembered him saying.  Ramsay’s translation omits the grosser elements of the translation, and quite properly — who wants to know such things?  But it leaves little doubt that homosexuality was prohibited by the Scantinian law; indeed the remarks made would have no point otherwise.

Apparently the text of the Scantinian Law is lost, and all we have are references, starting with Cicero ca. 50 BC.  It would probably be good to compile all the data on a page.  But not while I can’t see straight!  And anyway… who really wants to chase down the facts about a vice and its practice and regulation?  Let’s think of things about which we can be enthusiastic.  The squalid elements of human society have always been with us; it is the other side that makes mankind noble and worthwhile, and the study of his history a delight. 

On, then, to other things.

A copy of Shapland’s translation of the Letters to Serapion by Athanasius arrived yesterday.  Bless Glasgow University library, who once again came to my rescue with a loan of an obscure book.  I owe more than I can say to the staff at that institution, which I have never visited.  Down the years they have been prepared to lend me all sorts of things. 

I scanned the text in Finereader 10, which I detest more and more.  Attempts to export the result as a PDF failed; or rather, the PDF was complete rubbish.  I thought I would just pick up the raw TIFF files and combine them using Adobe Acrobat; but in FR10 they have decided to hide the image files inside some kind of proprietary format.  FR10 also fought me when I wanted to split images and when I wanted to export the scanned text to a Word document.  It just isn’t designed for book scanning these days, I think.

A note back from the translator of the Coptic portions of Eusebius Gospel Problems and Solutions; apparently the transcription of the Coptic isn’t that good, with lines missing.  This is a blow.  Also the font used — Keft — is really for Sahidic.  I had not known that the different dialects of Coptic used different fonts, but it seems to be so.  I wonder if a Bohairic font exists anywhere?

Another email tells me that the translation of Chrysostom’s sermon In Kalendas is still progressing, which is good news.


Chrysostom sermons that exist

It looks as if some of the sermons by Chrysostom that I was thinking of getting translated already exist in English.  The sermon on his return according to this is said to be included in W. Mayer and P. Allen, John Chrysostom (The Early Church Fathers), London: Routledge, 2000.  A look at the table of contents confirms this. I certainly don’t want to spend money on texts already translated.


Sermons of Chrysostom after his first exile

John Chrysostom made a lot of enemies very quickly in Constantinople after he became patriarch, especially among the more corrupt clergy and court officials who objected to his campaign for higher standards of behaviour. They quickly arranged for him to be deposed and exiled.  But when the Constantinople mob found out, a riot was threatened and he was quickly recalled.

After his return, attempts were made to patch things up, especially with Severian of Gabala who had been insulted pretty seriously by John’s deacons. 

I find in Migne three sermons; De Regressu Sancti Joannis (PG52, col. 421), De Recipiendo Severiano (col. 423), and Severian’s reply De Pace (col. 425).  All three are given in Latin, and seem far too short to be full versions.  I don’t know if there are more sermons than these three.

The full Greek text of Severian’s reply exists, and indeed it turns out to be online.  But what about the Chrysostom sermons?  Are there Greek versions of these, and if so where?


Anianus of Celeda and Chrysostom’s sermons in the West

The sermons of John Chrysostom became known to fathers such as Augustine at a very early date.  Apparently a bunch of them were translated by the deacon Anianus of Celeda in the early 5th century.  Emilio Bonfiglio has written a dissertation on the translations of Anianus, although I have not seen this, and it may be in Italian anyway.

Quasten’s Patrology gives Anianus as the translator of some of the sermons on Matthew, and the encomiums on St. Paul; but also of other works.  It would be very interesting to learn more about this activity.  We’re all familiar with the Latin translations that appear in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca opposite the Greek; but what proportion of these are in fact ancient translations, rather than renaissance?

I’ve managed to find online a paper about Anianus of Celeda, given by Kate Cooper and published in the papers of the Oxford Patristic Conference here.  This tells us that he wrote a prefatory letter to each of those two translations (PG50, 472-3, to Evangelius before the Paul texts and PG58 975-6 to Orontius for the homilies).  A new and rather different version of the letter to Orontius was uncovered in 1972 by Adolf Primmer (Die Originalfassung von Anianus’ epistula ad Orontium, in Antidosis: Festschrift für Walther Kraus, ed. R. Hanslik, A. Lesky, and H. Schwabl, 278–89. Vienna, 1982).  It would certainly be worth getting an English version of these.


More on Chrysostom and Bareille

A correspondant whose return email address was invalid — preventing a reply! — wrote to me:

Just a quick message to inform you that Bareille’s french translations have a reputation of not being accurate.

There’s a much better translation (and a new edition of the greek) of Chrysostom first sermon in Sources Chrétiennes 272 as an appendix to  his Dialogue sur le Sacerdoce (Sur le sacerdoce [Texte imprimé] : dialogue et homélie / Jean Chrysostome ; introduction, texte critique, traduction et notes par Anne-Marie Malingrey).

I can’t write more now, but I want to thank you for all what you do : making all these patristic texts available.

The good wishes are much appreciated. 

It is always a question how good some of these older translations are.  We have to be a little wary about what subsequent translators say as well — they do have a vested interested in asserting that their own translation was worth doing, after all!

But I don’t think I will go back and revise the work with the SC text in mind, tho; it’s good enough for most purposes.


Chrysostom’s “First sermon” now online in English

I’ve finished translating Chrysostom’s first sermon into English from the French of Bareille.  As far as I know it hasn’t previously been translated into English.  It’s here.  I place the translation in the public domain, so do whatever you like with it, personal, educational or commercial. 

Of course it would be far better to have this translated directly from the Greek, but I think I will save my funds for texts that don’t exist in Bareille. 

It was quite interesting to see that Google translate, which I made use of, has got still better at handling French.  It still needs intervention, but the work this time was minimal.  I see that Google has also added a page of “Translators Toolkit” which I must explore.

I do have a few tools which I have written myself which help me to work with translating.  The most important of these is a little utility which takes a paragraph and splits it into a sentence a line.  I then paste that into Google translate, copy the resulting translation back, and the tool will interleave the sentence of text with the Google translation.  It makes working on the text very easy, as I don’t have to look back and forth between  two solid masses of text.


From my diary

This is a busy time of year, when the government requires that we do unpaid labour as clerks, filling in tax returns.  It’s worse if you are self-employed, for your business also must be accounted for to the tax collectors.  That time is now upon me.  Still there is progress.

The Eusebius project is now awaiting a transcription of the Syriac fragments.  This will be done by the end of May, I have been told.  That date is now my target date for completion of the editing of the volume.  I’m also awaiting some tweaks to the Coptic translation, but these can be omitted if need be.

The Origen project has passed a milestone.  The final version of the text and translation of all the Greek fragments of Origen’s Homilies on Ezechiel and other works on the same book has now been done.  The introduction to that section needs a few changes, but the body is done.  The translation of the Latin needs some revision, but only five sermons remain to do.

The translation of John Chrysostom’s In Kalendas, on the pagan festival of New Year, is proceeding apace and another chunk arrived today.  This will be given away online.

My own translation of Chrysostom’s first sermon is about half done.  It’s not a great sermon — nor a great translation! — but it will get done as and when I can get time from chores.

A sample of Severian of Gabala’s sermon De pace is now with the reviewer.  The latter will also soon finish up his translation of Eusebius’ De solemnitate paschalis, which will also go online.

So … much going on.


From my diary

I’ve been asked how it is that I have moved from Tertullian to Chrysostom.

The answer is that I haven’t moved to Chrysostom, really.  I started work on the web with the Tertullian Project, because there was nothing much about him online and I was filling a gap.

But when I came online, I found a great deal of anti-Christian polemic consisted of supposed “quotes” from the Fathers “proving” that the Fathers advocated lying, cheating, violence etc.  The grand author of these was a book by one Joseph Wheless, Forgery in Christianity, from which the material was plagiarised and improved. 

In some cases it was easy to show that the “quotes” were fake by going to the online English translation.  But others quoted from works not online.  So I began to place online translations of patristic works where there was an existing out-of-copyright translation which was not online.  This collection grew into the Additional Fathers, where I made these texts available as public domain.

From this it has been a natural step to start adding translations, by doing them myself, or commissioning them.  Naturally I tend to look for shorter works.

My current emphasis on Chrysostom arises from my discovery that the Homilies against the Jews were online, in a version whose copyright status is unclear, but that a portion remained untranslated.  This I commissioned and distributed.  But while looking at the entries for Chrysostom in Quasten’s Patrology vol. 3, I am struck by the number of short works which remain untranslated into English.  Some are of great historical interest, such as the one on the celebration of New Year in Roman times, or those on Christmas.  All these get quoted in anti-Christian polemic, probably in a distorted way.

My interest in Severian of Gabala came from someone writing to ask me about a passage in one of his sermons De sigillis librorum.  Until then I knew little about Severian.  A little research revealed an interesting author, whose works were unavailable in English.  Reading Bareille’s French translation revealed an author whose style is very distinctive and would translate well. 

So at the moment I am concentrating on ways to get works by these authors online.  I think I can make a difference.  In a few months, doubtless, my attention will be drawn by something else.  But whatever I do, I think it will benefit everyone.  So … let’s be a butterfly!

I was thinking last night about how to handle the fact that a French translation by Bareille exists of most of Chrysostom (although not the letters, I notice, nor the spuria).  I think it is probably best if I don’t commission translations of works that exist in that fashion — a translation from the French will probably do for most non-academic purposes.  If I restrict myself to commissioning only material where nothing exists in English or French, that would probably be the most effective use of my funds.


Mysterious book – anyone know what it contains?

A correspondant draws my attention to this book at Brepols.  But I’m blessed if I can work out what the book contains:

Homiliae Pseudo-chrysostomicae
Instrumentum studiorum I.
K.-H. Uthemann, R.F. Regtuit, J.M. Tevel (eds.) 309 p., 153 x 245 mm, 1994. ISBN: 978-2-503-50340-0. Languages: Greek. Paperback. Retail price: EUR 113,00

German is not my language, but with the aid of Google here is a translation:

The study of pseudo-Chrysostomica has made great progress since 1968 with the Codices Graeci Chrysostomici [a list of manuscripts of works] and the list of as yet unedited texts collected by M. Geerard in 1974 in the second volume of the Clavis Patrum Graecorum, for those patristic scholars who work on critical editions of homilies. But the texts themselves have not yet become available to the larger circle of interested patristic scholars; if we wait for critical editions of the same, for the history of the tradition based on all now available witnesses to be clarified, then there is little hope that in coming decades, they will become known to patristic scholars and generally philologists, who are not working directly with the relevant manuscripts themselves. The Clavis of M.Geerard alone lists 239 unedited texts, and this list is far from complete. If you are looking for a way to present all known Pseudo-Chrysostomica and in print as soon as possible and still provide a generally useful text, then it can only mean reproducing the output of one or more “good” manuscripts of the text without each apparatus, without any compromise in the direction of a critical edition.The texts, which Bernard de Montfaulcon (1655-1741) created today afford us useful service, and whoever is interested in the particular content of a text will usually make use of Migne.The scientific ideal of a critical edition is therefore not in question, certainly not from the editors of this new Instrumentum studiorum.

So … what does the book actually contain?

UPDATE: A correspondant points me here, to the online Chrysostom bibliography, which gives a list of contents:

Uthemann, K.-H., R. Regtuit & J. Tevel, Homiliæ Pseudo-Chrysostomicæ, Instrumentum studiorum. Volumen I, Turnhout: Brepols, 1994. [rev. Voicu JbAC 38 (1995) 198-199; contains updated texts of 42 homilies: De sacrificiis Caini (CPG 4208), In Noe et filios eius, de cherubim (CPG 4232), Hom. de Noe et de arca (CPG 4271), De paenitentia sermo 1 (CPG 4615), Quod grave sit dei clementiam contemnere (CPG 4697), Oratio in martyres omnes (CPG 4841), In ver et in resurrectionem (CPG 4858), In illud: Vigilate et orate (CPG 4870), De nativitate 1 (CPG 4871), In Adam et de paenitentia (CPG 4888), In orationem Pater noster (CPG 4896), In tentationem domini nostri Iesu Christi (CPG 4906), De creatione mundi, revera Ad Stagirium (CPG 4911), De fide et contra haereticos (CPG 4917), In caecum natum (CPG 4918), Oratio in exaltationem crucis (CPG 4927), De salute nostra et oratione perpetua (CPG 4938), Encomium in sanctos martyres (CPG 4950), Sermo de quadragesima (CPG 4955), In sanctum Stephanum (CPG 4958), Sermo de agricolis in vinea laborantibus (CPG 4966), De ieiunio (vel In postremum iudicium) (CPG 4968), De vigilantia (CPG 4972), In pharisaeum et meretricem (CPG 4984), In illud: Iesus autem fatigatus ex itinere (CPG 5003), In sanctam theophaniam (CPG 5004), In Paulum apostolum CPG 5013), In illud: Si enim dimiseritis hominibus (CPG 5019), De nativitate Iohannis Baptistae (CPG 5023), In Adam et in Sodomitas (CPG 5045), Quod deus superbis resistat (CPG 5047), In illud: Nemo potest duobus dominis (CPG 5059), De nativitate II (5064), De nativitate III (CPG 5068), Quod debet episcopus docere (CPG 5073), Hom. in Ps. 71 (CPG 5074), Contra Iudaeos et Graecos et haereticos, De exitu animae, In illud: Attendite vobis ipsis, In illud: Noli aemulari in malignantibus, De paenitentia sermo II, Sermo in Adam; the last 6 are not listed in CPG]


Chrysostom’s first sermon

The first sermon preached by John Chrysostom as a priest in 386 AD is extant (PG 48, 693-700).  A German translation exists in the old Bibliothek der Kirchenvaters 3 (1879), p.401-414.  It is also one of the texts translated by Bareille’s 11 volume French translation, and appears in volume 1. 

As far as I know, no English translation exists.  I don’t know that the contents are particularly noteworthy.  But I fancy translating something, so I may run Bareille’s French across into English.  It won’t be publishable, but — who knows — it may make the text more widely known.