As I have pointed out before on the blog, the topic of the last post, the edition of the non-canonical Gospels (The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations), which I published with my colleague Zlatko Plese, was meant for academics – professors of New Testament and early Christianity and their graduate students. Most other people, of course, have no need or desire to see the original Greek, Latin, or Coptic of a text along with a translation. People generally just want an English translation.
But having a facing-page translation is a great thing for scholars and budding scholars. The only way really to understand a foreign language text in its many nuances is to read it in its own language. And since these are texts that deserve to be studied carefully, minutely, with full attention to all the fullness of their meaning, they really need to be read in the Greek, Latin, and Coptic languages in which that they have come down to us.
For some scholars, the book would be useful because it provides the original language text for all these writings, and gives all these documents in one volume. Otherwise, having access to all the texts is time consuming and difficult – one needs different books to have the text of the Coptic Gospel of Thomas, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Peter, Papyrus Egerton 2, and so on. Now they are all in one volume.
For other scholars…
To see why any of this matters for you, the general reader (not just scholars) — you will need to see the rest of this post. The membership fee for the blog is extremely reasonable — about two bucks a month. For that you get tons of information, day after day. So why not join? All the money goes to help those in need.