5-21-2012 | Monas Hieroglyphica

"One who does not understand should be silent." - John Dee

Turner & Burnes: "We encourage those seriously studying Dee’s Hieroglyphic Monad to attempt their own translation, or if that is not possible, to at least closely compare the different versions available. One soon finds that much of Dee’s word play in Latin loses its resonance when translated, and by taking the most logical English equivalent -- say, circle for Circulus -- many of the multiple levels of meaning start to fade."

"As one moves further through the Monas, the differences in translation become much harder to navigate and both of the previous English translators seem to make errors or omissions, though Josten makes many fewer than Hamilton-Jones. Hamilton-Jones, while easier to read, seems to work mainly by paraphrase, clearly has preconceived ideas about what he is translating, and provides no notes on why he has chosen particular words or what the originals were, though he does offer a commentary that refers the reader to other alchemical writers expressing similar ideas. Josten, on the other hand, scrupulously tries to keep to a literal translation and provides the Latin side-by-side with his English translation and notes, but often loses the beauty (and occasionally the meaning) of the language in his wordiness. Their translation errors show that neither man completely understood the work he was translating, though Josten is much more honest in saying so."

Via: A Partial Re-Translation of the Monas Hieroglyphica

PDF: Original Latin Scans via Bill Heidrick

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