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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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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Christians Charged as Perverts and Criminals

I have some more posts dealing with resurrection matters; but I thought maybe I should give it a break for a day or two, since the resurrection isn’t the most interesting thing for absolutely everyone. So here’s something else for today:

At one point in my bible introduction I talk about the persecution of the early Christians (specifically as mentioned in 1 Thessalonians) and point out that deep into the second century Christians had a very bad reputation. Here, without much ...

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Why Did Scribes Add the Bloody Sweat?

I have explained why it is almost certain that Luke did not himself write the passage describing Jesus “sweating blood” in Luke 22:43-44: the passage is not found in some of our oldest and best manuscripts, it intrudes in a context that otherwise is structured as a clear chiasmus, and it presents a view of Jesus going to his death precisely at odds with what Luke has produced otherwise. Whereas Luke goes out of his way to portray Jesus ...

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