Among other things, I am spending a chunk of each day just now reading the page proofs for the second edition of my anthology After the New Testament. “Page proofs” are the type-set pages as they are ready to appear in the printed book. This is the last chance an author has to catch mistakes, typos, and so on. The new edition of this book is fairly long– over 550 pages – and reading proofs is one of the very least interesting parts of the job. It’s a serious pain in the neck. The press also (typically – depending on the press) employs a proof-reader; but no one can catch everything, and there are certainly typographical errors that will not be caught. In the first edition of this particular book, in the opening lines of the Gospel of Peter, where “King Herod,” Jesus arch-enemy, is introduced, my text was printed as “Kind Herod.” Ai yai yai….
In any event, as I mentioned back in January, and then again in May, there are sixteen chapters in this new second edition. Each one deals with a different aspect of early Christianity (100 – 300 CE), for example, one on the pagan assaults on Christianity, one on the relationship between orthodoxy and heresy, one on the development of early Christian liturgy and worship, one on the rise of Christian anti-Judaism, and so on. Each section has a short introduction to the topic, written, of course, from a historical perspective; and then there follow a set of readings of primary texts (i.e., Christian texts of the second and third century) that I’ve chosen as particularly illustrative of the topic. Unlike some of the other books that are kind of like this, I do not give large numbers of small snippets of text to illustrate this or that point. I give either complete texts (all of the Gospel of Peter, e.g.) or large chunks of texts (when the full text is really too much – which is quite often the case.)
In this second edition I have…
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