Re: Corrupt Vulgate

A couple of things more to say publicly, in reply to Michael Bushnell's
postings on the "CCAT Vulgate" -- the first was sent to Michael
privately a couple of days back, but is probably worth repeating here:

[Michael wrote, on the list]
> > 
> > I would also point out that the Vulgate is not under copyright, and
> > for CCAT to attempt to maintain control when unnecessary is
> > suspicious.

[I replied, privately]
> You are simply wrong. The version of the Vulgate available from the
> United Bible Societies, and with their permission from CCAT, is clearly
> and rightfully under copyright. It is the critical edition prepared at
> Beuron in the 1970s, and we circulate it with critical apparatus (and
> with software permitting the apparatus to be eliminated, if one wishes).
> I have long argued that it would be useful to have a legitimately public
> domain version, which would involve encoding (or revising the existing
> materials) one of the older (thus out of copyright) versions, preferably
> of the Clementine Vulgate. But I have found no volunteers for this task.
> Everyone wants to eat the cake, but there are few bakers.
The second comment is in response to Michael's most recent posting on
the list, where he says "the current CCAT distribution channel leaves
out many non-academic uses." 

I am at a complete loss to know what that means. The "CCAT Vulgate" has
been available since the mid-1980's on diskettes for both DOS and Mac,
and on CD-ROM for DOS, Mac, and IBYCUS, and could be obtained on 9 track
tape as well, if one wanted it that way. It is in flat file format, and
software to tailor the format to various needs is also distributed with
the diskettes. (For CD-ROM access, the software depends on the accessing
programs, but we even have a program to allow the flat files to be
offloaded from CD-ROM to one's own medium of preference.) The 1987
PHI/CCAT CD-ROM became sold out a couple of years ago, so PHI reissued
the main biblical materials on its classical Latin CD-ROM (PHI 5.3),
which can be obtained for about $50. These various distribution channels
are not specific to any single type of use.

Currently, with the increasing use of the Internet, we are attempting to
find ways to make these materials even more accessible, without losing
the good-will and permissions from the United Bible Societies and other
"owner/copyright holders" with whom we have worked over the years. It is
not an easy task insofar as much of the needed effort comes from
volunteered spare time, or from graduate students trying to support
their needs for life's necessities. To put things onto the network,
where no income is forthcoming to support graduate student involvement,
cannot happen overnight. It is much easier to support disk delivery
strategies. But we are committed to try to make things work on the
Internet, and to that end have set up the access-only gopher system now
in place (you can search, but you can't copy). We are trying to move to
a situation in which user agreement signers can copy materials
themselves, and thus preserve the requirements under which we distribute
most of the texts in the first place. The main problem, other than
finding time, that occurs to me now is how to make the software
utilities that are needed for flexible manipulation of the texts
available on the network without creating even more headaches. I have
lots of other things to do besides writing explanations of this sort, or
telling someone why or how "binary" or "hex" files work.

In fact, I must sign off now to finish the bibliography for a paper on
computer assisted NT text criticism. It was due many months ago. Network
patience is something to be nurtured in these pioneering times! Take
advantage of what is already available, or be prepared to wait for the
new delivery mechanisms to mature and become sufficiently stable.

Bob Kraft, UPenn/CATSS/CCAT