Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New Book on Christian Oxyrhynchus Texts

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Releasing this week is what looks like a substantial new book on Christian texts from Oxyrhynchus titled Christian Oxyrhynchus: Texts, Documents, and Sources by Lincoln H. Blumell and Thomas A. Wayment.

Hardcover: 752 pages
Publisher: Baylor University Press
ISBN: 1602585393

From the publisher’s blurb:
Blumell and Wayment present a thorough compendium of all published papyri, parchments, and patristic sources that relate to Christianity at Oxyrhynchus before the fifth century CE.Christian Oxyrhynchus provides new and expanded editions of Christian literary and documentary texts that include updated readings, English translations—some of which represent the first English translation of a text—and comprehensive notes. 
The volume features New Testament texts carefully collated against other textual witnesses and a succinct introduction for each Oxyrhynchus text that provides information about the date of the papyrus, its unique characteristics, and textual variants. Documentary texts are grouped both by genre and date, giving readers access to the Decian Libelli, references to Christians in third- and fourth-century texts, and letters written by Christians. A compelling resource for researchers, teachers, and students, Christian Oxyrhynchus enables broad access to these crucial primary documents beyond specialists in papyrology, Greek, Latin, and Coptic.
We asked the publishers for a review copy so that we could report as to whether the book was any good or not, but they said, “Due to the size and cost of this book, we are not able to mail physical copies for review in Britain.” So we don’t know at this point of time whether this book is any good or not. Hence: caveat emptor.

14 comments :

  1. Nijay Gupta commented on an unidentified publisher who was also reluctant to send out review copies: http://cruxsolablog.com/2015/08/04/a-discouraging-trend-some-publishers-refuse-to-offer-hard-copy-review-books-gupta/#comments

    I wonder if this only happens to books that a publisher is not confident about?

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  2. The book is possibly so heavy they may not even be interested in marketing the book in Europe.

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  3. They already get the marketing gain by being mentioned on the blog. Supplying an actual copy is only potential loss on the marketing side, since you guys tend to be more critical than the average blog.

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  4. Baylor University Press representatives were present at the SNTS in Amsterdam the other week, and this book was on display there (offered for £59.99). The thing is that it is distributed in the UK by Gazelle Book Services Ltd (https://www.gazellebookservices.co.uk/GazelleBooks/sresult.pgm) so the shipment of a review copy should not be a problem.

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  5. I should say that Gazelle Book Services was the exhibitor at SNTS (representing BUP).

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  6. Trying to figure out the marketing strategy of such a publisher is not easy from the outside. Knowing that what you are looking at (in the post above) is part of a marketing strategy does help in evaluating potential purchases. (Of course my general policy is: if in doubt recommend it for the library)

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  7. Have them send the book to me and I will give it to you at SBL... if it's mammoth size is not too great for me to lift it and hand it to you. Perhaps, I shall need some sort of forklift to conduct the exchange.

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  8. I would understand this logic so long as they don't sell it in Europe due to its "size and cost."

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  9. Tommy wrote: "Due to the size and cost of this book, we are not able to mail physical copies for review in Britain.” Imagine Fortress Press saying: due to the "size and cost" of NT Wright's Paul and the Faithfulness of God, "we are not able to mail physical copies for review in Britain".

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  10. I sent an email to Lincoln; maybe he can rectify this.

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  11. According to Amazon, Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds. Definitely too heavy to ship. Might down the plane. And they're selling it for $89.95 hardcover, and $85.45 on Kindle? Wow, what a discount. The text is probably unreadable on Kindle, and thus totally useless, but don't worry, you get a $5 break. Give me a break! Why are academic publishers so evil?

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  12. Ivory tower textual criticism?

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  13. It's interesting that in both cases mentioned, they used the term "physical" and "hard" copies. In other words, they seem willing to send out review copies as PFDs or text files, but the reviewers preferred to sniff their noses at this option. I hardly think this is a sign the book isn't worthy. It actually says more to me about the reviewer than the book or the publisher.

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    1. As an avid PDF reader (and occasional reviewer) I can say that it's not that easy to read through a 700-page PDF file in the same manner one would read a hard copy. Also, I find it easier to spot errors (esp. when reading my own work) in a hard copy as opposed to when reading it on the screen.

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