Chrysostom’s letters – more translations at, this time from Wendy Mayer

A couple of days ago I mentioned the 30-odd letters by John Chrysostom which had appeared in draft form at, and the project (not mine) to translate the lot.

Today I learn that Chrysostom scholar Wendy Mayer has also uploaded some draft translations of letters by Chrysostom.  They may be found here, and look very good indeed.  It is great to find these.

There are five letters given there, with copious notes.  They include Chrysostom’s two letters to Pope Innocent, and Innocent’s reply (letter 11), plus Innocent’s letter (14) to Theophilus of Alexandria, and Innocent’s letter to the people of Constantinople (letter 33).

The drafts have at the top wording such as:

Note: This is a new translation based prepared for Geoffrey Dunn for the translation volume to accompany his new edition of the letters of Innocent I, in preparation for CCSL. Posted with his permission. The Greek text is found in Sozomen, HE 8.26.

Which is fair enough, of course.  I think we may all thank Dr Mayer for generously making these drafts available.

It is also excellent news that a translation of Innocent’s letters is in progress.  Papal correspondence of the 5-6th century is a historical source of the highest value, and it ought to be more accessible than it is.

It seems as if an intriguing use of is developing.  People are starting to use it as a safe place to put work in progress, draft material which may or may not be published, and so forth.

I imagine that most people who work on some worthwhile research have to prepare working documents, draft translations of sources, and detailed notes, as part of the research project.  Most of this is never published, nor always publishable.  But it may be of great interest all the same to other workers in the field!  Now, suddenly, there is a place for such material.

The availability of such material can facilitate cooperative working with people who may otherwise never hear of the work already done.  It’s an excellent idea.

I get the impression that the site is gaining some real traction.  One to watch.


From my diary

I’ve spent today driving up to Cambridge to visit the university library.  My object was to obtain some articles by R. Delmaire on the subject of Chrysostom’s letters.  For the most part I was able to obtain these; although I was disappointed to discover that the latest available volume of one serial was not shelved or accessible.  I’m reading into them at the moment.  R. Delmaire’s 1991 study examined the letters, and reordered them by date.  The order in the Benedictine edition (and the PG) isn’t even that of the manuscripts!

The Letters of Chrysostom project is not mine, so I won’t say a lot about this.  But I have also discovered a list of the opening words of all of the letters at the Sources Chretiennes site here (PDF).

Equally useful, I have discovered a list of the works of Chrysostom at the same site, with the Clavis Patrum Graecorum number for them all, here (PDF).

I’ve also received from the Lebanese typist the next 10 pages of the transcription of al-Makin’s world history.  This is taken from the 1625 Erpenius edition, which has the merit of being printed.  Once we get to the end of this – for Erpenius died before he could complete editing the text – I shall have to try the typist on a PDF of a microfilm manuscript.

An email has arrived today from the Bibliothèque Nationale Français, containing an estimate for reproductions of two manuscripts of al-Makin.  They require 50 euros each, plus 10 euros for “shipping” (why?) plus M. Hollande’s tax on top of that, totalling around 130 euros, or nearly $190!  Quite a bit for 2 PDF’s!  Worse still, they propose to supply me with scans from microfilms — at least, I hope these are scans, for the estimate says only “microfilm”.  And these will be black and white, and quite possibly unreadable.  I have a lot of time for the BNF, but this is shameful.  For that price they could at least photograph the things with a consumer digital camera and supply me with some decent images!  I shall have to pay the blackmail – it is, at least, less than the Bodleian is demanding – but it is a salutary reminder, in these days of digitisation, how bad things were and still are in some places.