Thursday, December 23, 2004

M. R. James

There was a real treat on BBC4 last night, the beginning of an M. R. James season, with a documentary about the man followed by a quite amazing 1968 adaptation of Whistle and I'll Come to You directed by Jonathan Miller and starring Michael Hordern. Here are the web pages on the season, which feature some interesting bits and bobs, with a breakdown of other treats to come:

M. R. James Season

I am looking forward to The Treasure of Abbot Thomas tonight. The NT link here, in case you are unfamiliar with the work of M. R. James, is that he was the author of The Apocryphal New Testament and other works on Christianity from the first century to the mediaeval period. Lots of his translations from The Apocryphal New Testament are on-line, though not always in the best editions.

One remarkable fact I learnt last night was that James had mastered Ethiopic by the age of 12 when he went up to Eton.

If you have never read his ghost stories, give them a go. I once took them with me on a caravan holiday to Cornwall. They are full of the wonderful dusty old world of libraries, parchments and middle aged professors on holiday. Christmas time is a great time to be introduced to them.

Update (24 December, 00.54): Jim Davila comments on Paleojudaica.


Peter Kirby said...

Hi Mark,

I plan on putting together a complete version of M. R. James's "Apocryphal New Testament." What is the best edition, do you think?

Peter Kirby

Mark Goodacre said...

I don't know, Peter, I am afraid. Can anyone else help?

Peter Kirby said...

Oh, no problem; I understood wrong what "though not always in the best editions" meant: it was a comment on the quality of the online renditions.

Though, besides the obvious factor of typographic correctness (getting all the words and getting them right), what goes into a good online version? It would be a good thing for me to know, as I have made a few and will make more.


Anonymous said...

I would suggest that Peter Kirby as shown here is a spoof. Peter Kirby is a pseudonymn for someone well known for using aliases.