College of Arts and Sciences Poster Presentations


Translating the "Historia Ruth": Boise State University's 15th Century Incunabulum of Peter Comestor's Historia Scholastica

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Karen Wadley


The goal of this project was to produce an English translation of the Book of Ruth as found in the Boise State University library’s 15th century Latin incunabulum of Peter Comestor's 12th century Historia Scholastica, in order to make the text available for use and study by students and faculty who lack the necessary Latin language skills.

We began by reading one of the standard works on paleography, by E. M. Thompson, researching common Medieval Latin abbreviations and contractions, and visiting the text in person while acquiring photographic facsimiles of the BSU text from which to base our transcription and translation. Utilizing our paleographic knowledge, and conferring with the standard transcription of the Historia Scholastica from the Patrologia Latina, volume 198, we established our own group transcription from the BSU text, noting the instances where our text differed from the PL198 version. Next, we each translated our transcribed and expanded Latin, and then came together to produce one group translation, emphasizing accuracy and readability.

To date, we have transcribed and translated 107 of the 205 lines in the Book of Ruth. The project, undertaken by the 2011-12 Latin 323 and 492 classes, has been ongoing since August 2011, with a completion date scheduled for early July, 2012.

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