First, a few less-than-serious thoughts on Ebojo’s review of The Early Text of the New Testament, followed by a few more serious ones:
- I can’t recall ever reading a book review which spends close to 50% of its words on typos, etc.
- I hadn’t heard of rbecs.org prior to reading about the review on the ETC blog. Why didn’t I think of starting a book review site with some other postgrads? Free books! [Seriously, I like what I see there. Check ’em out].
- This might be the last book OUP will be sending to RBECS.
- If Ebojo is in interested in proofreading as a side job, interested clients need only visit the book review for an example of the quality of work.
- This confirms what I often think after hearing Text-crit. folks speak or write: They mind the details. (Nevermind that a bunch errors wound up in a book written and edited by them). [For the record, I am pro TC and try to keep my TC skills sharp.]
- I suspect that very few people, including the editors and authors themselves, read as carefully as Ebojo. In fact, I doubt few, if any, will read through all the observed typos pointed out in the review. Perhaps we should!
On a more serious note, I question how helpful it is to mention typos in this manner in a book review:
Is the purpose to hold authors, editors, publishers accountable?
Is it to help the publisher make corrections if the book goes into a second printing (which few in our field do)? Why not just inform the publisher, then?
Is it to aid readers who might be confused apart from being alerted to the errors? Perhaps, but few errors cause such confusion.
I reckon that in most cases reviews which point out typos are really advancing the status of the reviewer as careful reader (implicitly or explicitly as more careful than the editors/copy-editors). This review has successfully done that for Edgar. And in general text critics are fond of such things in reviews because they know that often details matter (although in this case barely any of the things pointed out actually matter in the sense of unsuccessful communication, they are just messy and show that the bibliography wasn’t properly cared for).
I think in general there is something in both preparing readers – Edgar is basically saying that the content is generally good quality but the presentation leaves something to be desired; and in holding publishers and editors accountable. In this case the background assumption that OUP still cares about good levels of presentation presumably led to surprise and delight in noticing so many problems (although to be fair I think not all the things Edgar points out are actually typographical errors – those who actually read through all his lists and compare the book may well prefer the book to Edgar’s “corrections”).
Thanks for the plug, Josuha! Your’re surely welcomed to join in if so you fancy.
Thanks for the invitation, Dan.
It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.