Bearing in mind that I skipped all the pre-Book 1 introductory Cliff Notes drawn from St. Isidore, and all the pre-Book 2 Cliff Notes section also drawn from St. Isidore, I’m getting along rather well with translating Beatus. I’m in Book 4 right now; and we’re up to Chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation. (This is the bit with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Instead of gloom and doom, Beatus is concerned with the leftovers from Jesus’ two loaf-multiplication miracles being a sign of the universal call to holiness.)
There are twelve books in all, but this is the last really long book. (Books 5-12 are all stuffed in Volume II of the Beatus critical edition, and that’s with half of every page taken up with footnotes and manuscript variation notes.) So if I don’t go back and pick up Isidore until later, it’s all downhill from here. But it’s becoming clear that, at least for the later books (like now), most of the basic symbolism stuff is back in the Big Huge Chunks o’ Isidore. So at some point I really do have to go back and pick that up. (Maybe between Volume I and Volume II.)
The problem is that careful translation and careful checking of sources really does take a looooong time. It’s been six months — albeit not six months of sustained effort, much less full-time effort. So if I were done with Book 4 and Isidore too, I’d be feeling much better about it.
I would now like to plug the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner marker-pen set. When a highlighter is just way too big, and when you’ve got three or four different sources to indicate on the same word, these pens are super-duper excellent. They have a very handy carrying case built-in, which actually props itself up on your desk for easier access to all the colors. Also, they don’t have that marker smell and don’t try to asphyxiate you. (Their webpage is boringly German and practical, but trust me about these excellent markers. Here’s the justly-awardwinning box.) I bet they’re even nicer for art.
Yellow (Amarillo): St. Apringius of Beja.
Orange: St. Caesarius of Arles.
(I guess this is funnier for New York pronunciations, but I did that by chance.)
Pink: Bishop Primasius of Adrumentum.
Indigo: St. Isidore of Seville.
Blue: St. Bede.
Green: St. Gregory the Great.
Olive green: St. Jerome.
I have to get more colors for doing the Isidore section, though, because it draws material from all sorts of stuff he wrote. (Or repurpose the old ones, of course. But really, I already must have gone through a whole lot of Apringius-yellow and Gregory-green.)
Oh, you want to know why. Well, as I may have mentioned, St. Beatus tends to copy over his sources from other books which may or may not have been well copied. Also, he feels free to change parts of speech a tad, replace weird words with stuff from the Spanish vocabulary, and mix quotes together for added educational value. Some of his sources have already done the same thing with older sources. The critical edition deals with this by just telling you what line of the crit edition the quote is on, and then what line the source quote is on in the source. Everything else is up to you, buddy. So after a long career of highlighting only when necessary, I have a project where I’m doing a ton of it, just to save my mind and save me from having to go back and look stuff up again.
(Though actually, I usually underline. Squiggly lines for words that are similar but not the same part of speech, ellipses vertically indicated between words, plenty of space left over for more underlines from more sources.)
There is probably a way to do this text-marking directly with Migne source PDFs, but probably not without a great deal of trouble. In a few years, I’m sure it will be considerably less trouble; maybe in a few years there will be an ebook of the critical edition. But for now, I have markers.