Yesterday in a forum I stumbled upon a thread about the quality of astrological translations.
I will not quote neither the forum nor the translator they were talking about because he is known in the astrological world – this is the Christmas spirit 🙂 – especially because he always writes about philological exactitude.
This is a point which is very dear to me, because in the net I read many “experts” -as they call themselves- for whom I can’t understand which expertise they are talking about.
People who can’t read original works because they can’t read Greek or Latin, their only source is English translations, insisting on their mistakes (together with their expertise). Often their “knowledge” is limited to lesser works because they can’t read neither most important works (being untranslated in English) nor academical works about “their” favourite authors.
Obviously I’m not talking neither about Chris Brennan with his translation project of Hellenistic astrology or Ben Dykes– Bonatti translation is in my Amazon wishlist if someone would buy it for me 🙂
But I heard too many gossips about well known authors from Greek for example, and not just in the net. And I know well several translators of astrological texts, even the one they were talking about in the astrological forum.
I’m writing this because yesterday I read in that post the same doubts I have since longtime. Should we trust as philological correct, texts coming from people we don’t know any curriculum vitae, any background?
Obviously I always appreciate any translation of old astrological texts, and in doing mine my only goal is just sharing with others texts I think important and valuable, with no pretence to be an “expert.” I don’t want to play this game.
But if I should trust someone, I would look just at the academic world, I should admit – same conclusion of the writer of the post in the astrological forum. Professors have no interest in selling their books to earn money, and have a well known background. In this I’m lucky to be an Italian because we have many true experts inside Italian University, Vescovini for Abano, Faracovi for Cardano, Ernst for Campanella, Bezza for Ptolemy to give some names.
My favourite one – I have all her books- is Simonetta Feraboli and her work about stellar catalogues in Greek and Latin literature. Without forgetting David Pingree, Charles Burnett, Franz Boll.
On my side, I’m very skeptical about self-teaching, surely this comes not from Tradition. The word Qabalah, the ancient Jewish knowledge, means “from mouth to ear” because it was mostly an oral tradition and a teacher was needed to learn it. According true Tradition there is no esoteric or exoteric knowledge people can learn with Dummies.com !
How people can insist they are preserving tradition when they are breaking the first rule?