Sunday, May 9, 2010

Why You Might Want to Invest in a Latin Copy of True Christian Religion

Freya Fitzpatrick has been working for a couple of years on a new Latin edition of Vera Christiana Religio (the book that's called True Christian Religion or True Christianity in English). The new Latin edition is now available and I wanted to share with you a little advertisement / explanation of why having new Latin editions is important that Freya wrote.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! A new Latin edition of True Christian Religion is available now at the low price of just $45 for a handsome red-bound, gold-lettered set of two volumes.

Well, OK, so you haven’t been sitting on the edge of your seat just waiting for this new release. And, maybe you’re wondering why you’re even being told about this when you can’t read a word of Latin – well maybe one or two words, but no more.

This project is important to you, and to me, and to the whole world because the Latin editions of the Writings are the foundation upon which translation into every other language depends.

Why can’t we just use existing Latin editions? Well, the first editions, published by Swedenborg himself are out of print, and extremely expensive if you could find them. The next editions were done in the 1800’s in Germany. They’re out of print too. The third Latin editions were edited and published in the USA in the early 1900’s, and these can still occasionally be found.

Newly edited editions (rather than reprints of older editions), however, are urgently needed because of the emergence of a new field of study called Neo-Latin. Neo-Latin generally describes Latin from the 1500s on, in other words, the Latin of Swedenborg’s day. Up until just about 1960 or so, Neo-Latin was not a recognized field of study. Scholars certainly knew that Latin was used during this period of history, but scholars had not studied the Latin of that era as unique in its own right.

This means that even the editions of the Writings from the early 1900’s are edited by people who “corrected” Swedenborg’s Latin to fit patterns of classical Latin – which are often very different in rules of spelling, grammar and punctuation than Neo-Latin. Also, Neo-Latin contains words that certainly didn’t exist in classical times, and in some places in older Latin editions, editors have attempted to suggest “correct” words to replace the words Swedenborg used – which as it turns out are legitimate Neo-Latin words.

This means new Latin editions are vital. But as you can imagine, the readership is infinitesimally small! We can sell less than half of the minimum number of books required for a print run.

You can support this use by purchasing a set of Vera Christiana Religio for: $45 plus shipping ($5 domestic, $30 international).

You can:

1) Display this Latin work with pride.
2) Designate it to be donated to a Latin student at Bryn Athyn New Church College ( or a minister.
3) Designate it to be donated to a Neo-Latin scholar.

If you would like to support this use at less than $45, send a check in any $5 increment and specify whether it is for donated set for a student, minister or scholar.

Checks should be made out to:

Academy of the New Church, memo: Publication Committee
And mailed to: Publication Committee, Leslie Alden, PO Box 45, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009

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