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Re: The Fathers' articles

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  • dwashbur@nyx.net
    ... I would also have to point out that Peterson s statement, though I m sure it wasn t intended this way, sounds more than a little arrogant. Until recently,
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 27 11:50 AM
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      Bob Waltz wrote:

      > On Thu, 24 Jul 1997, wlp1@... (William L. Petersen) wrote:
      >
      > >I am confused: We have two excellent *Patrologies* in English, Quasten's
      > >and Altaner's. Neither is expensive (Quasten has been reissued in paper;
      > >my Altaner in English was picked up for < $5 at a secondhand store years
      > >ago). If anyone is *really* interested in textual criticism and the
      > >Fathers, why not use these sources? If anyone is a *serious* amateur and
      > >has the money for a computer, then they certainly can afford a
      > >*Patrology*--which has an extensive bibliography.
      >
      > I don't know if I should get into this, but there is a comment I would
      > make here: I, for one, have a computer for work. I could not afford
      > one for personal use.

      I would also have to point out that Peterson's statement, though I'm
      sure it wasn't intended this way, sounds more than a little arrogant.
      Until recently, I lived in a town in Wyoming where my chances of getting my
      hands on such books was about as likely as winning the Wyoming
      lottery (Wyoming doesn't have a lottery). There are many, many
      resources on the Net that I couldn't get - in some cases still can't
      get - any other way. The Net is the future; get used to it or get
      left behind.

      > And I would make a point: The article at the web site is not by
      > any means intended as a substitute for a patrology. Rather, it
      > is intended to give information of use to textual critics. It's
      > not the same thing, though the two are related.

      Agreed. An encyclopedia by nature is not a complete compendium, but
      I don't see anybody throwing out their Brittanicas because they don't
      contain as much information on desert tortoises as some major
      research papers.

      > I am not expert in this part of the field (as I keep saying!),
      > but it seems to me that there is no work which really approaches
      > the Fathers from the text critic's viewpoint. If we (not necessarily
      > me!) can offer such a tool, even a brief one, I think it would
      > be very helpful.

      And it is! I refer to it a lot. I confess I just read the article
      on the Fathers a little while ago (largely because of Peterson's
      complaints, I wanted to see what all the gripe was about) and found
      it excellent. It is accurate as far as I can see, well organized,
      easy to follow, and immensely informative. I don't understand what
      the beef is. So it's not the same thing as a huge book. So what?

      > >For those who wonder why others do not "better" the Fathers' page: (1)
      > >Professional academics have better things to do.
      >
      > Surely you don't mean that you have better things to do than supply
      > information to the next generation of textual critics. And if that
      > *is* what you mean, then how can you object if I -- in my admittedly
      > limited way -- attempt to do what I can.

      My first thought when I read Peterson's statement above was "Then
      what are you doing fiddling around in this list? Why aren't you out
      doing that 'original research'?" Better things to do? The only
      difference is that Bob is writing his material on the Web and some
      others aren't.

      > >We try to do *original*
      > >research. (2) Professional academics also see no need to reinvent the
      > >wheel: We already have two very satisfactory *Patrologies*, hundreds of
      > >pages in length, and giving articles on each father; why duplicate what has
      > >already been done?
      >
      > As noted, I do not think this is a duplication.

      To say nothing of the fact that he missed the point of the
      encyclopedia...

      > For that matter, the whole point of an "Encyclopedia" is to summarize
      > information. An encyclopedia never covers a subject in complete
      > detail. But encyclopedias still exist -- not because they supply
      > complete information, but because they supply a place to start.
      >
      > I will concede that it would be good to supply bibliographic information
      > for the patrologies. I hadn't thought of it.
      >
      > >Finally, one other note: in his post on 22-7-97 @ 10:22, the author of the
      > >site obseved that "The information on the site should all be accurate; it is
      > >taken from reputable sources." Now, however, in his post on 24-7-97 @
      > >10:09, the same individual writes, "...This has led, inevitably, to some
      > >errors [in the articles]." What a difference two days makes!
      >
      > Yes, it does. Kind people have offered me information about errors
      > and oversimplifications in certain sources. Problems not mentioned
      > in any reviews I have seen. I concede the error. I am trying to
      > correct it in the best way possible.

      I can't help wondering if the above-mentioned compendia of patristic
      material are completely without errors, oversights, typograpical
      errors, etc. etc. etc. Bob is doing something to help the general
      community be better informed about TC. And Bob, there are plenty of
      us who appreciate it.

      Dave Washburn
      dwashbur@...
      http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur/home.html
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