Category Archives: Publishers

Eerdmans: A Case Study in How a Responsible Publisher Handles Charges of Plagiarism

This is simply brilliant and though I have long admired Eerdmans and their spectacular work, I now admire them even more.

August 15, 2016

At the beginning of July 2016, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. received allegations against one of its New Testament commentaries and immediately undertook a careful investigation. Eerdmans is now withdrawing that book and two others by the same author.

Eerdmans editors compared the text of The Letter to the Hebrews (Pillar New Testament Commentary, 2010) with various secondary sources and submitted findings to external experts for verification. Summing up the findings, Editor-in-chief James Ernest said, “Our own editors and our outside consultants agreed that what we found on the pages of this commentary runs afoul of commonly accepted standards with regard to the utilization and documentation of secondary sources. We agreed that the book could not be retained in print.”

Examination of the same author’s Letter to the Ephesians (PNTC, 1999) and Epistle to the Philippians (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1991) found them less pervasively flawed but still untenable.

The author, Peter T. O’Brien, was presented with the findings and provided the following response: “In the New Testament commentaries that I have written, although I have never deliberately misused the work of others, nevertheless I now see that my work processes at times have been faulty and have generated clear-cut, but unintentional, plagiarism. For this I apologize without reservation.”

President and publisher Anita Eerdmans summed up the company’s stance as follows: “Eerdmans is steadfastly committed to the highest ethical standards in academic and business practice, and we apologize to all who are negatively affected by this situation. Our Bible commentary series, among the best of their kind, are authored and edited by the field’s top scholars. The strong measures we are taking in this case are meant to underscore our firm belief that our commentary program is, and must remain, solid.”

Eerdmans is taking the following steps:

● Ceasing sales and pulp stock of all three volumes, placing them out of print.
● Offering credit to individuals and trade partners who have purchased the above three volumes.
For detailed instructions on how to pursue this option, please write
● Discussing best practices for quality control with press editors, series editors, and authors.

Members of the media wishing to contact Eerdmans may send e-mail

The Funniest (In the Sense of Most Absurd) Advert Email I’ve Yet Received

I won’t mention the publisher, because generally they do pretty good work.  But this… this commendation… is just so absurd.

This month also brought the release of the long-awaited next book by Peter Leithart, Delivered from the Elements of the World. According to James K. A. Smith, “When you read Peter Leithart, you suddenly realize how timid most Christian theologians are, tepidly offering us a few ‘insights’ to edify our comfort with the status quo. Leithart is like a lightning strike from a more ancient, more courageous Christian past, his flaming pen fueled by biblical acuity and scholarly rigor.”

BAhahahahahahahahahahhahahahhaha. Not.

Sheffield Phoenix Press is Closing Down

I received this email (as did all authors of SPP volumes) this morning and it makes me a bit sad:

We are sorry to inform you that Sheffield Phoenix Press will cease to publish new books as from the beginning of 2016 (with the exception of a handful of titles in 2016 and volumes of the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew Revised, expected from 2018 onwards). Sheffield Phoenix Press remains in existence to sell its 300+ already published volumes, and it is our intention to keep these books in print for the foreseeable future.

All our titles will continue to be available through our website (, with a year-round 50% discount on hardback books for individuals (unless there is a paperback), as well as from online and local booksellers.
Ailsa Parkin remains as our Manager, and will continue to deal personally with customers’ orders.

This has been a difficult decision for us, and we have made it with sadness. We would like to thank authors and editors who have given us their confidence in offering their manuscripts to us. We regret that we could not find academic colleagues with an interest in joining the Press and carrying forward its work when we felt we needed to retire from it.

It has been a pleasure to us, in the 12 years since we founded Sheffield Phoenix Press, to have been publishing academic books as a labour of love (we have not realized any financial gains from the Press). It has been a contribution we felt we could make to furthering the field of academic biblical studies.

There’s more, but that’s the relevant bit. 😦   They’ve done some good work.

An Open Letter to Publishers of Biblical Studies Stuff

Dear Publishers,

Might I humbly request that when you publish biblical studies materials by scholars that you

  • respond to email in a timely manner.
  • inform your authors as the process moves along at each step.
  • meet your own deadlines
  • refrain from foot-dragging
  • be punctual
  • be punctual

and finally



Sincerely and on behalf of every scholar who has ever suffered the insufferable mind numbing frustration of working with publishers who are more concerned about God only knows what than producing volumes in a timely and punctual manner.


Oh HuffPo- Do You Know No Theologian?

Because I’m guessing that you don’t.  Because the fact is, NO ONE KNOWS the answer to such a question but God and he doesn’t tell us lowly mortals.  So if your article doesn’t consist of the very concise sentence ‘no one knows’ in answer to your question, you’re wrong.


Please stop publishing theological stuff aimed only at provoking ‘discussions’ of issues for which no discussion is meaningful.  Stick with infotainment and Ariana rants of praise for lord Obama.  That’s where your writers shine.  That and cat memes.  Stay with what you know.  Leave theology to the theologians.  Or you’ll need to rename your website ‘The Evans-ian Post…’

Twitter Theology That Makes Me Sigh

Have publishers now come to the place where they have to invent non-existent theological debates in order to peddle their latest tome?  Aren’t there already enough real and pressing theological issues to write about?


Has anyone, anywhere, at any time, ever heard someone say ‘I think the Gospel must be a factory that makes useful and uniform disciples from a supply of raw souls’?  Ever?  Anyone?  Anywhere?

And what’s a raw soul?  Sigh.

Where Do the Authors of All Those Horrible Books in ‘Christian’ Bookstores Come From?

You know the type- the authors of the kinds of things you see festooning the shelves at your local Jesus junk store by the likes of Rachel Evans and Rick Warren and Joel Osteen and TD Jakes and Beth Moore and Ed Young and Mark Driscoll.  Where do publishers find those people?

The mystery has been solved.  Behold:


Brill on YouTube- With Author Interviews, Etc.

It’s not just biblical studies and theology though- it’s everything.  Still, there you have it. is On Strike, Again

Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht aren’t troubled though, they have a German company to deliver their volumes-

Bei Amazon wird wieder gestreikt.  Zeit also, auf unsere zuverlässige Verlagsauslieferung Brockhaus Commission hinzuweisen, die unsere Bücher (und natürlich auch viele andere) schnell und kompetent zum Kunden bringt. Und anders als bei Amazon hat man eine feste Ansprechpartnerin, die einem prima weiterhelfen kann. Vielen Dank dafür!

Amazon has just gotten too big for its britches.  What it is doing to authors and publishers is nothing more than extortion.  I’d rather pay a little more and support a company I can respect than get an Amazon discount and feel like a heel.

‘Fortress Commentary on the Bible’ Blogger Roundtable at SBL

Fortress Press is planning to have general editors Hugh Page, Margaret Aymer, Gale Yee, Matthew Coomber, and David Sánchez (5 of the 6 editors of the Fortress Commentary on the Bible), along with Fortress Editors Neil Elliott and Scott Tunseth, at the Fortress suite for an informal blogger roundtable at SBL on Monday (11/24) from 10:00-11:30 am.

Biblical studies bloggers interested in attending should contact Emily Varner directly and right away; the event will likely have a fairly low attendance cap (20 or fewer total participants, perhaps). Emily’s contact contact info is:

Fortress will send bloggers who attend a copy of either the OT or NT volume of this commentary ahead of time, so that participants can review it and form questions for the editors. More info on the newly released Fortress Commentary on the Bible is at the link above and numerous others on that page, such as an interview with the editors, what contributors have to say, and an online sample.

Peter Lang Verlag Tweets


If you go here you can read more.  Contact me if you would like the directions for submissions.

Sad News From Logos…

the-person-the-pew-commentary-seriesGot this email and wanted to pass it along…

Dear Jim,

We would like to inform you that more people need to pre-order your commentary. If they don’t, within 24 hours, you will be killed. If, however, enough people do pre-order it you will be killed. So, either way, you will be killed.

We have discussed this in our staff meetings and have come to the conclusion that if we promise to kill you if people pre-order the commentary, then many will, simply out of their contempt for you. And if we promise to kill you if enough people pre-order as well, we feel many will become excited.

Accordingly, we have installed 666 servers dedicated strictly to taking the landslide of pre-orders we know will come in once word of our intention to kill you is made known. We would ask you to spread the word among the other bloggers but we realize that

1) anyone who reads blogs about the bible already reads yours; and
2) other bloggers never mention your stuff anyway so why waste your time or ours in asking them to do so.

Anyway, we’re happy to be collaborating with you on this project and we’re quite looking forward to you being dead very soon,

Yours, cordially and in Christ’s love,
have a great day!

Martin Luther Kvidahl

Well… isn’t that…. something….  I guess this is farewell…   (I hope it doesn’t hurt).


Rick Warren’s decontextualization of Daniel will be turned from a book into a series of newsletters? That’s sad. Now not only will the people who read his books be misled, so will those who get his newsletters.


Let me say this clearly- and perhaps even forcefully: The Book of Daniel wasn’t written so fat people could find a way to lose weight. Warren wishing it were does not change that simple truth. Warren harvesting Daniel for decontextualized texts in order to squeeze a misreading out of it not only violates the text, it violates every pastoral purpose.

In short, these sorts of misreadings aren’t the work of God because they aren’t the Word of God. They are the work of God’s enemy and ours.

T&T Clark Is Looking for Suggestions

And they’re willing to offer some fun incentives for your help.

It’s no secret that T&T Clark has published some EXCELLENT books in its 192 year history. At the moment we’re thinking of embarking upon a new series which presents some of our great backlist with simple updates and new introductions from the author (or another scholar in some cases) sketching out the more recent developments in the field, and how the book in question has made its impact and continues to do so.

So, for example, we are currently discussing doing a new edition of Larry Hurtado’s ‘One God One Lord’ in this way, and of Athalya Brenner’s ‘The Israelite Woman’.These are both Biblical Studies titles, but we intend to cover theology too.

We have a few other ideas, but obviously the best ideas are likely to come from our readership itself.

So here’s the deal:

[And you’ll have to go to their blog for the list of rules.]  Put on your thinking caps, creative souls.

Bill O’Reilly’s Worthless ‘Jesus’ Book…

Is reviewed by Joel Watts here.  Candida Moss is reviewing it as well and when her work is online I’ll pass along the linkage.  And that will be the last mention by me ever of O’Reilly’s worthless ‘Jesus’ book.

To be sure, I value Joel’s review and Candida will doubtless, as she always does, have something bright to say.  But for myself, I have neither interest in nor time for persons, dilettantes, like O’Reilly.  He isn’t a scholar (so his book holds no interest for me) and he isn’t knowledgeable about the Bible or theology (as anyone who has listened to him is painfully and grotesquely aware).  The publisher isn’t exactly known for producing anything theologically substantive nor even anything remotely academic.  Ergo, I have no motivation to bother with him (and I’m definitely not going to buy a copy of it and put any money in his pocket).

I equate O’Reilly to the folk who send me, unsolicited, from time to time copies of their books.  Books like ‘The Beloved Disciple Was Lazarus and Here’s My 300 Page Proof of It’ and ‘The Shroud of Turin Has Jesus’s Blood On It’ or ‘The Red Heifer Has Been Found and Now the Jews Can Build the Third Temple’ and other such assortments of nonsense which I drop straight into the garbage where they belong.

Accordingly, even if O’Reilly’s book showed up at the post office I wouldn’t review it.  I would drop it in the trash.  Its native home.  I would return it to its womb.

In the words of Luther- Bill, We leave you to your own devices, for nothing properly suits you except hypocrisy, flattery, and lies.  And again  A natural donkey, which carries sacks to the mill and eats thistles, can judge you – indeed, all creatures can! For a donkey knows it is a donkey and not a cow. A stone knows it is a stone; water is water, and so on through all the creatures. But you mad asses do not know you are asses.  And most truthfully of all–  This new thing you have devised is the vilest cesspool that the devil has on earth.

Has Anyone Ever Heard Of…

Edina Press in Edinburgh?  And if so, does anyone have any contact information for them?  I cannot find them, or it, and need to.  So if you do, please do drop me a note.

Much Ado About Absolutely Less Than Nothing

The biblioblogs are abuzz with word of Tausig’s ‘New, New Testament‘ which is just an old, old Marcionite or Jeffersonian idea (i.e., one’s own private canon to replace the Church’s canon).  It’s much ado about absolutely less than nothing.  You probably have a copy of the non-canonical gospels laying around somewhere so save your money.  This pseudo-New Testament will only be useful to people who think Christianity should abandon itself and become a new age sect (as the endorsements at the link above make clear).

To create this New New Testament, Hal Taussig called together a council of scholars and spiritual leaders to discuss and reconsider which books belong in the New Testament. They talked about these recently found documents, the lessons therein, and how they inform the previously bound books. They voted on which should be added, choosing ten new books to include in a New New Testament.

Oh well if THEY voted (since they’re so much wiser than the Early Church was) I guess that changes everything…

[There’s nothing new under the sun- even the absurdity of ‘the me canon’ which nicely meshes with the ‘me-church’ and the ‘me-faith’ so beloved in certain quarters these days].

UPDATE:  Evidently Joel reviewed the thing.  I guess I should read his blog (more often)…

Publishers and their ‘Expiring’ Digital Review Copies

I’ve done a few reviews of books sent electronically and I really don’t mind doing so but I don’t think I’ll do any more.  Why?  Because publishers are now in some cases sending electronic editions which expire after 30 or so days.

So what ends up happening is that one receives an electronic copy and works through it only to end up, when all is said and done, with ‘nothing to show for it’.

Publishers send books to reviewers, to journals, and to biblical studies specialists because they want word getting out about their newest offerings and with the implicit understanding that the work of doing the review is recompensed by retention by the reviewer of the book reviewed.

When one reviews electronic books to which access is cut off after a month the publisher, in effect, gets the book publicized gratis.  It’s very clever, but it leaves me cold and, again, I think I will bypass any future offers to review books I’m not going to be able to use beyond 30 days.

Did You Know That A Recent Discovery of Noah’s Ark Will Call into Question the ‘Theory of Revolution’???

It’s a fact!  And those ‘bible code’ crackpots think they’ve discovered the key to Noah’s Ark… Ha!

The book is about the discovery of what is believed to be Noah’s ark. A team of Turkish and Chinese explorers found a huge tree construction on top of mountain – Mt. Ararat in Turkey.

The book and its content will question the foundation of the theory of Revolution* and will raise confidence in the Bible as a historically reliable document, which once again has proven its credibility. It’s time for the truth to be revealed.

Author: Henri Nissen

It certainly is time for the truth to be revealed, so here it is: save your money, don’t buy this or any other idiotic book claiming to describe the discovery of Noah’s Ark.  Especially one aiming to debunk the theory of revolution…  [Eric Cline tipped me off].


* sic!!!!!

You’d Have to be Insane to Pay to be Published In a ‘Peer-Reviewed’ Publication

I’m sure many of you have gotten the same email from SAGE-

Get published! Submit your manuscript to SAGE Open—an open-access publication.

Open access huh? Then why does it cost folk $395?

Publish in SAGE Open, SAGE’s groundbreaking, open-access publication of peer-reviewed, original research and review articles, spanning the full spectrum of the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities. More than 975 manuscripts have been submitted in the last year. Submit your manuscript through SAGE Track, SAGE’s web-based peer review and submission system, powered by ScholarOne Manuscripts™. Submitting your manuscript is free. If you are accepted, then pay the author acceptance fee of $395 (discounted from the regular price of $695)! For more information, view the SAGE Open manuscript submission guidelines.

Insanity. But I suppose there are some people who value ‘peer review’ so much they’re willing to pay big money to say they have it. I prefer to have editorial oversight exercised by sensible people who don’t ask me to pay them up front beforehand for the ‘privilege’.

%d bloggers like this: