I wanted to update everyone on the latest news on the Shams al-Ma’arif. This post on my Grimoire Wish List about the book is one of the most popular on this site, with dozens of people asking when an English translation will be available.
In late January, I found that WordPress had caught two comments from an individual claiming to sell an English translation to people. I was skeptical, so I wrote this person and asked for a review copy. After repeated emails, we found ourselves at an impasse, as he was unwilling to send one, and I was unwilling to send money. He did offer to send me a few pages, but to me, that tells me nothing about the book as a whole.
Now, I’m not one to insist on a review copy before I cover a book. I’ve actually purchased quite a few of the books I’ve reviewed here on the site, and I work to adhere to the regulations on blogging to let people know what’s a review copy and what’s not. (Those rules were obviously written by a person who has no knowledge of how reviews of any sort were written, but we’ll pass over that for now.) Nonetheless, to obtain a copy, it was clear I’d have to send over fifty dollars to a private individual in a European country, and that’s not a step I’m willing to take.
Thus, I can say the following: Yes, there’s an individual out there who says he’s selling an English translation of the Shams al-Ma’arif. No, I haven’t seen it. No, I don’t know if it’s any good – when the translator says his English isn’t too great, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. Yes, I can say in general that sending large sums of money to individuals in foreign countries is not a good idea. No – I’m not going to link to it, given what I’ve already said.
Now, for all I know, it’s a wonderful translation and the people doing it are quite upstanding. I don’t know that, however, so I can only advise people who see it advertised to proceed with caution.