The Challenges (and Obligations) in Translating ps. - Ptolemy's Aphorisms-CANCELLED

Darin Hayton, Associate Professor of the History of Science, Haverford College
Monday, January 31, 2022 -
12:30pm to 1:30pm
Virtual Lecture - Conducted in English
Monday, January 31, 2022 -
12:30pm to 1:30pm

This lecture has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.

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I will use Ὁ Καρπός, the Greek version of ps.-Ptolemy’s collection of astrological aphorisms, as an opportunity to reflect on some of the challenges one encounters in translating texts. Some of these challenges are linguistic, e.g., technical vocabulary, ambiguous terms, conceptual distinctions that we have lost or now impose on words, while others arise from the aphoristic form that provides little context. Some challenges stem from the variations in the surviving copies of the text, variations we often consider errors, corruptions, omissions, or accretions, variations that are sometimes noted in the manuscripts but rarely resolved. It is tempting to throw up our hands and either avoid translating a text or outsource our decisions to the editor of a critical edition. I want to discourage taking either approach and, instead, think about how struggling to make sense of and to translate the texts we encounter enriches our historiographic project.

Sponsored by
Program in Translation & Intercultural Communication