I am pleased to announce today the start of a new project.
I had long been a fan of the very fine work by Geoffrey Steadman and his Greek and Latin Texts with facing vocabulary and commentary.
When I first came upon these I examined the possibility of doing the same for Patristic texts, but at the time I was put off by certain difficulties and the labour. Recently I have returned again to this idea, and found the situation changed. Namely, I am feeling much more competent in Greek, there are more useful digital tools available to me, and I have benefited from some very clear instruction from Steadman about his own processes. This, along with tackling a short text first as a test, has given me renewed enthusiasm and confidence about the whole endeavour.
So I have released a first sample text, of Basil of Caesarea’s Epistle 361.
This is a proof of concept of what I’m doing and where it will go. The commentary aspect is very light on in this first sample, I will admit, but I expect that it will be considerably developed in my next one.
My aim is to provide a set of resources that will aid readers approaching Patristic texts for the first time, (or the hundredth time!) In my opinion and experience Classical programs tend not to deal with these texts, while Koine programs are often inadequate for the rigours of reading Church Fathers. Furthermore, there is considerably less in the way of supports and helps to readers of these texts. This project will help bridge that gap.
The texts follow very close Steadman’s layout. I am to provide accurate vocabulary notes on each page that will minimise time spent flicking back and forth to dictionaries, etc., and facilitate a faster reading of the text. Furthermore, grammatical notes help the reader with more unusual forms and constructions. In later, full-length texts I will include more commentary, as well as an introduction to the text.
The texts that this series will utilise are Church Fathers from the 2nd to 7th centuries. In every case I will draw upon editions that are in the Public Domain.
I have a long list of texts ready to work on. My intention is to begin with shorter texts, and then work on longer ones, as this is a more productive process. I will also tend to favour more mainstream and influential texts. The focus will primarily be Greek to begin with, but Latin texts are also in my scope, beginning with some Cyprian.
When can I expect to see more?
I produced Epistle 361 both as a sample for interested readers, as well as to familiarise myself with the workflow process. I had intended to do several more epistles and release them as a volume together, but problems with selection and obtaining texts has moved me to start elsewhere.
On current projections, I should have some full-length texts available towards the end of this year, and hopefully print volumes around the same time. The first two works will (very likely) be:
Vol 1. The Martyrdom of Polycarp, and Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis
Vol 2. Ad Ablabium (On not three Gods) by Gregory of Nyssa
I have already commenced work on the first of these, and am making good progress. I would say I am one-third of the way through the Martyrdom of Polycarp, which I will complete in full before doing the Greek version of PPF (not the Latin version).
This site is set up specifically for this project, and you will be able to download free pdf files of all publications, as well as additional resources as and when they become available.
This is a very exciting project. Keep up the good work!
Thanks Alex, I look forward to putting up a pdf of the first text in a few weeks time.
I just downloaded your firs two offerings in this project. These will be used as a much needed review in reading Greek and as an introduction to reading the Church Fathers in the original. Thanks for starting this project!
You’re very welcome, Robert, and I hope you both enjoy and benefit!
χαιρε ω φιλε, πως εχεις? I am very excited about the possibilities for this project. I recently finished my first reading of Steadman’s PPF in Latin and it was a real blessing, as I could read it fairly easily even though most of my Latin reading is only from the Vulgate. Was not aware of a Greek version. That will be interesting to see. Last year I read through the Apostolic Fathers with Michael Holmes’ bilingual ed. (Baker Academic) and am looking forward to reading more patristic texts.
Thanks for doing this, Seamas. I believe it will be very helpful.
I greatly appreciate your work and Geoffrey Steadman’s.