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Gregory the Great, Dialogues (1911).  Preface to the online edition

I became aware of the existence of this translation by accident.  An American gentleman emailed me and asked after this work, and also Optatus of Milevis.  A quick search revealed the existence of this translation; an inter-library loan brought the book to my hands in a week; and a weekend's work placed it online.

The work itself is medieval; collections of hearsay about miracles of the saints.  Much of it is plainly exaggerated or untrue.  Some people blasphemously call this 'pious fiction' -- I am less sympathetic to this, although perhaps I expect too much accuracy.  In my view telling plainly doubtful stories about miracles simply encourages scepticism about the Christian faith. But the constant refrain of the book is the devastation caused by the Lombard invasions.  Perhaps it is harsh to criticise people trying to find some comfort from stories, in a dreadful world; and the later history of the book is not the responsibility of its author.

The book itself is an Arts and Crafts movement volume.  The headings are all in Gothic, the binding is a reproduction of a 16th century Italian binding, and illustrations, some in colour, appear at intervals.  The illustrations are all photographs or colourings of Renaissance paintings, and have been omitted.  Likewise the list of illustrations with notes has been omitted.   The notes appeared at the back; I have mixed them in with the footnotes (all biblical references) and placed them at the end of each book.  The text itself OCR'd  very easily; the headings had to be typed in.

The text is very old-fashioned, and was modernised only in spelling, and not always then.  I have added some more -- 'Bennet' changed to 'Benedict', 'Totilas' to 'Totila', etc.  But I do not have the time to remove all the Jacobean phraseology.

Book 2 had been scanned long ago by the St. Pachomius Library, an Orthodox website.  They placed it in the public domain, for which many thanks.  I have used this as the basis for book 2, while adding in page numbers and footnotes.

23rd August 2004

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This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2004.  All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font, free from here.

Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts