Monday, May 31, 2021

Some article titles…

I'm editing an article for an upcoming journal issue and ran across this bibliographic entry, which for some reason struck me as funny:
Fadhil, A. A.
2014 Die neuen spätaltbabylonischen Briefe des “königlichen Barbiers” aus Sippar. RA 108: 45–60.
Get it? "New, late, old..."

OK, I guess you have to be a bit slap-happy from too much editing…

Friday, May 28, 2021

Table of contents on copyediting stuff

This will be updated as I add postings, so if you want, you can bookmark this. I'll add a date after each entry so you can see if anything is new. Don't forget the SBLHS2 blog site. They don't post regularly, but when they do, it's important stuff

Copyediting: Little things I learned along the way

Here are a few little things learned by experience (read: I screwed up!):
  • If the publisher doesn't already state it, ask if they want track changes on or off
  • Look through the entire document before doing global changes
  • Always, always, always keep a backup copy of the originals
  • Use a cloud service as well as a local backup for everything in case your computer dies (it will at some point)
  • Clarify the hierarchy of styles
  • Even if you are sure you will remember why you made the changes you did, keep a style sheet recording them. You will be glad you did.
OK, why did I say these things?

Every publisher is different. Some want track changes always on; some want it always off. Others (most, in my experience), even if they want track changes, don't want global changes marked. E.g., most don't want the elimination of double spaces tracked. I failed to ask about track changes for a publisher once, and consequently haven't worked for that publisher since. They wanted them and when I didn't do it (because most of the ones I had worked for at the time didn't), that was the first and last time I worked for them.

Caution!! If there are graphics in a document, they are frequently surrounded by extra spaces. If you do a global search and replace on double spaces, you will delete the image too! Yes, I know, it's screwy, but that is how Word works (or doesn't!). Which is why, you always, always, always look through the document first. And, it is why you always, always, always keep a backup of the originals. Two reasons: the one I just mentioned, and two, to refer to if something looks screwy—especially if there is Hebrew or some other right-to-left language. Word doesn't do well with them and sometimes you delete something without knowing it.

And while we're at it, beware of paging in Word. It can make it look like there is something missing or something duplicated at automatic page breaks. If it looks like that is true, always do a couple of page up/page downs to get Word to rewrite the screen.

Also, Word likes to automatically repage things and that frequently makes the first couple of footnotes disappear. The only way I've been able to make them reappear (short of restarting Word) is to do a global paragraph reformat (Cmd-A, Cmd-opt-M). If it shows up as a tracked change, do a Cmd-Z to reset; the footnotes will remain visible.

And, do not ever do a global change in the footnotes that involves the final paragraph marker! You will no longer see that footnote and won't be able to edit it.

OK, enough about Word.

I can't stress enough to use a cloud service (or two) for backups. I use two: One for deep storage, and one for day-to-day. I'm cheap and don't want to pay for them, so that's why I have two. But, redundancy is also a good thing. I also have Time Machine on my computer for local backups. But, someday, your computer will die at the most inopportune time. If that happens, and your backup computer (you do have a backup computer, don't you?!) isn't able to access the Time Machine backup, guess what? Yep. If you aren't live saving to a cloud service, you're up that proverbial creek.

I always tell people there are three kinds of people: Those who have lost a file they desperately need, those who will, and those who lie. I've been messing around with personal computers since 1982 or 1983, when I built my first one from a Heathkit (remember them?). I accidentally deleted an important system file on the original disk in the first month. Fortunately, my dad had the identical computer and I was able to recover it from his. But I learned right there to make backups, make backups, make backups. And even so, I've lost files. Like the time that the removable hard drive failed. No, it didn't just fail, it deleted everything on the disk! And, not content to do that, it corrupted the original, too, on the hard drive it was backing up from.

Keep a style sheet. Notate anything you do that deviates from the hierarchy of styles for whatever reason. Also, keep a record of unfamiliar place names, people, or words that you had to look up in the dictionary because there are multiple options, or you couldn't remember whether they were open or closed compounds. You will forget!

OK, that's more than I intended to write today, so until the next installment...

Here's the table of contents for all the copyediting stuff.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Up to a point…

I'm in the process of proofreading a large project, and on page 250 (out of about 1008), I ran across this subheading:
Knowing that tribulation produces patience (... up until verse 5A).
Yep. Tribulation only produces patience until you get to verse 5A. I wonder what it produces after that?

Why read?

Bob on Books has a great post on why he reads. Here's a snippet, but read the whole:
Ever since I learned to read, I’ve loved to read. If nothing else, it is a habit. At this point asking me why I read is like asking why I breathe or eat or sleep. It is that much a part of life. There are a number of other associated delightful habits–reading reviews, browsing book sites, wandering around bookstores and book sales, visiting libraries, or even just organizing my TBR [to be read] pile.
I concur! All that and more…

Monday, May 24, 2021

Psalm for the day

For the music leader. Of the Lord’s servant David.
36 I know the sinful utterance of the wicked:
     No fear of God confronts their own eyes,
2    because in their own eyes they are slick with talk
    about their guilt ever being found out and despised.
3 The words of their mouths are evil and dishonest.
    They have stopped being wise and stopped doing good.
4 They plot evil even while resting in bed!
    They commit themselves to a path that is no good.
    They don’t reject what is evil.

5 But your loyal love, Lord, extends to the skies;
    your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the strongest mountains;
    your justice is like the deepest sea.
        Lord, you save both humans and animals.
7 Your faithful love is priceless, God!
    Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the bounty of your house;
    you let them drink from your river of pure joy.
9 Within you is the spring of life.
    In your light, we see light.

10 Extend your faithful love to those who know you;
    extend your righteousness to those whose heart is right.
11 Don’t let the feet of arrogant people walk all over me;
    don’t let the hands of the wicked drive me off.
12 Look—right there is where the evildoers have fallen,
    pushed down, unable to get up! Ps 36 (CEB)

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Tools of the trade: academic copyediting

This is the first of an off-again, on-again series that I've promised myself I would do—about two years ago! Oh well, better late than never.

I've been doing independent/free-lance copyediting for nine years now. That doesn't make me an expert, by any means, but it does mean that I've managed to survive and even thrive in the gig economy. People sometimes ask me about how to get started. Well, let's start with the tools of the trade...

If you've never done any copyediting—or even if you have—I would recommend that you read through, and do at least some of the exercises in, The Copyeditor's Handbook, now in its fourth edition. This is loaded with invaluable advice. I see, too, that they've added a companion volume that might be worthwhile.

Other indispensible tools:

  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition. You need a good dictionary, if only to confirm open or closed compounds (open ones have hyphens, closed ones don't, e.g., cross-cultural vs. preexilic). It's usually abbreviated M-W 11.
  • Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing. When I started at Eisenbrauns in 2003, the first thing Jim did was give me a copy of this book. It's a marvelous little book that you should read. I still consult it regularly.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style, now in it's seventeenth edition. This is the bible of copyediting academic stuff. Buy it. Read it. Consult it. 'Nuff said. They also have an online site, which I use extensively to search for specific questions where the index doesn't help. You need a subscription to access the full answer, but it gives you the paragraph number, so you can consult the hard copy. It's abbreviated either CMS17 or CMOS17.
  • The SBL Handbook of Style, second edition (abbreviated SBLHS2). If you edit in biblical studies or ANE, this is probably the most-used reference you will have. The hierarchy of styles (more on that in a later post) for most academic publishers in biblical studies will be their house style, then SBLHS2, then CMS17. They also have a companion website that is extremely useful here. I always keep it open in a tab of my browser.
  • IATG3 (Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete—you see why they abbreviate it!). No, it's not cheap, even in paperback! But, it has saved me hours of time and untold frustration. It's a listing of abbreviations for journals and book series—726 pages of tiny print's worth of abbreviations!

There are other fun books that you might find useful, like Lapsing into a Comma, or Dreyer's English, or Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, as well as other ones I can't recall right now. But these are the ones that are on my desk and that I consult constantly. The pages of my SBLHS2 long ago ceased being white and if I hadn't reinforced it with book tape, I'm sure it would be falling apart even more than it is.

So, that's the first installment. Hopefully the next one will follow relatively soon...

Here's the table of contents for all the copyediting stuff.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Thought for the day

I can vouch for them: they are enthusiastic about God. However, it isn’t informed by knowledge. They don’t submit to God’s righteousness because they don’t understand his righteousness, and they try to establish their own righteousness. Christ is the goal of the Law, which leads to righteousness for all who have faith in God.—Romans 10:2–4 (CEB)

<idle musing>
Let those who have ears to hear, hear! This is an apt description of the Christian in the United States who has equated the US with God's church and allowed nationalism to overtake a scriptural view of the world.

Lord, have mercy!
</idle musing>

Monday, May 17, 2021

LXX Jeremiah and MT Jeremiah equivalencies

I'm editing a book of papers from a conference for SBL Press. Among the essays/papers is one that references LXX Jeremiah frequently. In the process of checking the MT-LXX cross-references, I noticed that the list of equivalencies in SBLHS2 has some errors. Specifically: appendix B, p. 268: MT Jer 49:7–22 is equivalent to Jer 30:1–16 LXX, not Jer 29:8–23 (there are only seven verses in Jer 29). And it looks like the other equivalents in Jer 49 MT are also wrong, but I didn’t need to chase those, so I’m not sure the exact verses.

So, if you are using SBLHS2 appendix B in Jeremiah, be sure to check that they are correct.

Here's the table of contents for all the copyediting stuff.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Psalm for today

Praise the Lord!
     Those who honor the Lord,
     who adore God’s commandments, are truly happy!
2 Their descendants will be strong throughout the land.
     The offspring of those who do right will be blessed;
3     wealth and riches will be in their houses.
     Their righteousness stands forever.
4 They shine in the dark for others who do right.
     They are merciful, compassionate, and righteous.
5 Those who lend generously are good people—
     as are those who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 Yes, these sorts of people will never be shaken;
     the righteous will be remembered forever!
7 They won’t be frightened at bad news.
     Their hearts are steady, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are firm; they aren’t afraid.
     In the end, they will witness their enemies’ defeat.
9 They give freely to those in need.
     Their righteousness stands forever.
     Their strength increases gloriously.
10 The wicked see all this and fume;
          they grind their teeth, but disappear to nothing.
     What the wicked want to see happen comes to nothing!
Ps. 112 (CEB; emphasis added)

<idle musing>
Interesting how the psalmist describes those who honor the Lord, isn't it? Practical things that are labeled as "socialist" are the very traits that the psalmist says mark the righteous.

Leads one to wonder how much of what we call "Christian" in our culture owes more to the culture than it does to the Scriptures...just an
</idle musing>

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The importance of a real education

I read an intersting article in the Atlantic, concerning the importance of teaching critical thinking (bascially the Humanities) for society and the dangers of the competitive attitude among administrators who have lost sight of what a college/university was created for. Here's a couple of snippets, but do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.
The turn away from the humanities is a sign of competitive schooling’s most far-reaching effect: It perverts our culture’s understanding of what education is, and makes us forget that schooling has value beyond status seeking.
When schooling is the path to income and status, students study the subjects that yield the highest wages and the greatest prestige, inducing too many people to study finance and law and too few to study education, caregiving, or even engineering. But private wages are not the same thing as the public interest. Child-care workers, for example, give much more to society than they take from it, generating almost 10 times as great a social product as they capture in private wages. Bankers and lawyers, by contrast, capture private wages that exceed their social product—they take more than they give. The distortions reach beyond specific jobs. Art, culture, and community all make the world a much better place, but they are notoriously difficult to monetize in the market. Competitive schooling therefore drives students away from these fields. No surprise, then, that the rise of competitive education has been accompanied by a steep decline in student interest in the humanities.
Education’s core purpose is (or once was) to help people engage with the world and grow into themselves—to discover the overlap between their interests and their talents and develop it. Different people and schools each embrace distinctive visions of empathy, understanding, wisdom, and usefulness: The scholar aspires to know the forces that drive history forward, the inventor seeks to bend technology to practical ends, and the activist strives to reform institutions and inspire citizens to embrace justice. Schools with different educational missions ought to favor different students, and students with different aspirations ought to favor different schools.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

It happens slowly

10 Some of the redeemed had been sitting in darkness and deep gloom;
      they were prisoners suffering in chains
11 because they had disobeyed God’s instructions
      and rejected the Most High’s plans.
12 So God humbled them with hard work.
      They stumbled, and there was no one to help them.
13 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
      and God saved them from their desperate circumstances.
14 God brought them out from the darkness and deep gloom;
      he shattered their chains.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
      and his wondrous works for all people,
16 because God has shattered bronze doors
      and split iron bars in two!

<idle musing>
It happens slowly, gradually, step-by-step until suddenly, you realize you have been listening to lies and you are surrounded by darkness. Not that you necessarily "disobeyed God's instructions" or "rejected the Most High's plans" as much as you looked at the dark side of things. You didn't praise God for the beauty, but instead majored on the minor little flaws. And then, suddenly, the whole world seems dark and gloomy.

Then, if you have sense, you cry out to the Lord, and he delivers you. Unfortunately, I don't always have sense, and so I wander around in the gloom for a bit before I realize I'm there, making those around me miserable by my gloom. But, eventually I realize what's happening and then cry out to the Lord, who then brings me out of the darkness and deep gloom, or in the words of another psalm (30:11–12):

11 You changed my mourning into dancing.
      You took off my funeral clothes
           and dressed me up in joy
12 so that my whole being
      might sing praises to you and never stop.
Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The source

The prophets discovered the holy dimension of living by which our right to live and to survive is measured. However, the holy dimension was not a mechanical magnitude, measurable by the yardstick of deed and reward, of crime and punishment, by a cold law of justice. They did not proclaim a universal moral mechanism but a spiritual order in which justice was the course but not the source. To them justice was not a static principle but a surge sweeping from the inwardness of God, in which the deeds of man find, as it were, approval or disapproval, joy or sorrow. There was a surge of divine pathos, which came to the souls of the prophets like a fierce passion, startling, shaking, burning, and led them forth to the perilous defiance of people’s self—assurance and contentment. Beneath all songs and sermons they held conference with God’s concern for the people, with the well out of which the tides of anger raged.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 182–83

Monday, May 10, 2021

The logical outcome

To bury the modern concern for victims under millions and millions of corpses——there you have the National Socialist way of being Nietzschean. But some will say, “This interpretation would have horrified poor Nietzsche.” Probably, yes. Nietzsche shared with many intellectuals of his time and our own a passion for irresponsible rhetoric in the attempt to get one up on opponents. But philosophers, for their misfortune, are not the only people in the world. Genuinely mad and frantic people are all around them and do them the worst turn of all: they take them at their word.—Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightening, 175

<idle musing>
Everything in that paragraph could be said of today's politicians, couldn't it? And of many media personalities. Or, as a book I read as an undergraduate for a philosophy class put it: Ideas Have Consequences. C.S. Lewis also touches on it in That Hideous Strength (he has a way of saying stuff in fiction that many can't express in essays).

One of my professors in seminary used to say that the ramifications of your ideas will be seen in your students. And he was correct, which can be a scary thought.
</idle musing>

Monday, May 03, 2021

A scary equation

Before placing too much confidence in Nietzsche, our era should have meditated on one of the most sharp and brilliant sayings of Heraclitus: “Dionysos is the same thing as Hades.” Dionysos, in other words, is the same thing as hell, the same thing as Satan, the same thing as death, the same thing as the lynch mob. Dionysos is the destructiveness at the heart of violent contagion.—Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightening, 120