Problems with Lake’s Translation of the Apostolic Fathers

Some people have asked if I could give some examples of the problems with the translations of the Apostolic Fathers in the original edition done by Kirsopp Lake. It’s a fair enough question – although I do want to stress for the 29th time that I think on the whole he made a very fine translation indeed. But there are some serious and widely recognized problems with it.

As one might expect, the translations are dated in places. No longer do ...

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Lake’s Apostolic Fathers

I mentioned that the first edition of the Loeb Apostolic Fathers  was done by Kirsopp Lake and that I think he was a great scholar and that it was a great edition.  I’ve always looked up to him, as a brilliant scholar of an earlier generation with very many interests closely parallel to mine.   Our backgrounds could not be more different.  He grew up in England and went to Oxford; I grew up in Kansas and went ...

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The Art of Translation

When I agreed to produce a new translation of the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library, my first thought was: How hard can it be?  These were texts that I had read and studied from the time I was in my PhD program in the early 1980s.  I translated them regularly with my graduate students.  I taught seminars on them.   It can’t be that tough, can it?

Oh boy was I wrong.   If you’re not accustomed ...

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The Sense of an Ending

I am today taking executive privilege and allowing myself a hiatus in my discussions of various things academic in this post.  I still have several posts I want to make about editing the edition of the apostolic fathers – especially about translating them – and I want to get back to what I was writing about before all that, as I do more and more reading of relevance to the topic of belief in Jesus’ resurrection.  And I want ...

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Textual Problems in the Apostolic Fathers 2

In my previous post I discussed a textual problem in the writings of Ignatius, simply as a way of illustrating the kinds of textual decisions that need to be made when one publishes a new edition of any ancient text. There are lots and lots of textual variants in the various writings of the apostolic fathers. As with the New Testament (where there are thousands more manuscripts and hundreds of thousands more variants), most of the variant readings do not ...

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Textual Problems in the Apostolic Fathers 1

In my previous two posts I discussed how I was asked to do a new edition of the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library. In the previous post I mentioned several difficulties confronting anyone doing a bi-lingual edition of a text. Among other things, there is the problem of knowing what to print as the text to be translated. The problem is that (a) we do not have the original texts of any of the Apostolic Fathers (just as ...

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The Loeb Apostolic Fathers: The Challenges

To continue my thread about translating the Apostolic Fathers for the Loebs….

So, the editor at Harvard Press, Peg Fulton, asked me if I would be interested in taking on the task of doing a new edition of the Apostolic Fathers for the Loebs. She wasn’t offering me the opportunity then and there. She was suggesting that I write up a prospectus that she could take to the board of the Loebs, in which I described the need for ...

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The Apostolic Fathers: Serendipity Strikes

It seems that much that has happened in my professional life has been because of serendipity.  Back when I was a believer, we called it Providence.  (!)   It’s how I got my first job at Rutgers in 1984; how I got my current position at UNC in 1988; how I got asked to write something other than a technical study involving the Greek manuscript tradition of the New Testament – a textbook for undergraduates (in the early 1990s), and thus, ...

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Translating the Apostolic Fathers

In my last post I answered a question about whether I would ever publish a translation of the New Testament. (Short answer: almost certainly not!). But I want to take a couple of posts to talk about the work of translation.

There is a very big difference between being able to read an ancient text in its ancient language (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Coptic, whatever) and producing a translation of it for publication. You might think that it’s all basically the ...

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My Translation of the NT?

QUESTION:

Do you have any plans to publish your own “best” version of the NT in English? From reading several of your books, it does seem as though you probably already have a translation sitting in a drawer somewhere. I have not been able to find scholarly reconstruction that was produced in the last three and a half decades. Most of the newer “translations” are theologically motivated and sound more like modern slang. Have any of your colleagues/ students ...

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