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Photo of first four footnotes to Homily 1 of first edition of the Ascetical Homilies
Photo of first footnote to Homily 1 of second edition of the Ascetical Homilies
GIF text that explains that we left some footnotes that show variant readings to give the reader an idea about them, and kept all footnotes that help comprehension of the text
GIF Text that explains that Homily 1 of first edition had 34 footnotes to distract the reader, but second edition has fewer, and only those that help comprehension

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What’s New in the Second Edition: 2. Reduction of Footnotes

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Devotional not Academic

In the first edition of the Ascetical Homilies many footnotes documented textual problems that we grappled with in preparing our translation, but they gave it the air of a textbook.

Saint Isaac is speaking from the heart as a father to his spiritual children; the appropriate presentation is devotional and inviting rather than academic and daunting.

Not only did the footnotes distract, but they also gave undue importance to the variant readings, and the translator’s efforts in sorting through them, as if a knowledge of how the sundry texts in Greek and Syriac differ from each other and among themselves were needed to benefit from St. Isaac’s writings.

In fact the Greek and Syriac texts vary more frequently than was suggested by the footnotes; to have noted them all would have made the text completely unreadable, and to no purpose for a pious reader, since the difference in meaning is rarely significant.

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