My plan over the next three weeks was to write the seven chapters of my Bible Introduction.   The best laid plans….   On the theme of “life sometimes interferes” I was presented yesterday, to my chagrin, with two tasks that require my attention, right away.  Both of them unpleasant.   Ugh.

As I have indicated on this blog, I have a couple of books in the publication pipeline.  One is The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research, which I am co-editing with my friend Michael Holmes (it’s the second edition; the first edition came out in 1995 in honor of Bruce Metzger; it is being published by E. J. Brill in the Netherlands).   This book consists of a collection of essays on every major aspect of New Testament textual criticism, for scholars and their students who are already abreast of the basic issues in the field.   The other is my scholarly version of the forgery book, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (being published by Oxford University Press).

As fate would have it (cruel fate), I received the page proofs for both books yesterday.

So here’s the deal.  When an author writes a book, s/he submits the final version to the publisher, who hires a typesetter to make it into a book.   When the typesetter has finished working his/her magic, the pages are run off.  They are to look exactly like they are to look in the final book between hard covers.   And they are sent to the author to check.  These are the “page proofs.”

Checking page proofs is a MAJOR pain in the WAZOO.   You have to read every word and make sure there are no typographical mistakes, left out parts, incorrect punctuation, wrong hyphenation, mistakes of any kind.  It is slow and painstaking work, but it has to be done.  And it is worse, so much worse, when the manuscript contains quotations from other languages.   These two books are full of other languages.   My Forgery book quotes scholars in French and German and cites texts in Greek and Latin.  All that has to be checked.  Ai yai yai….

So, the Bible Intro is on hold, for a while.  Gods willing, only a week.  OK, I said page proofs are slow and painstaking, but I work very fast and am focused when I have to do something like this.  I hate doing it, but the sooner done, the SOONER DONE!!   So that’s what I’m doing all day every day this week, instead of watching the Olympics or eating bon bons and watching soaps…..

But reading through the Forgery book today, it did occur to me that it might be interesting to post a few passages here and there on the blog over the next week or so.   And that’s what I think I’ll do!