Tuesday, December 27, 2011


How is this for a belated Christmas present: I have just learned that the paper I presented at the 2009 SBL International Meeting (prepub PDF) has been published by Peter Lang in the proceedings volume from the session titled The Canon of the Bible and the Apocrypha in the Churches of the East (full bibliographical info below).

Hovhanessian, Vahan S. (ed.):
The Canon of the Bible and the Apocrypha in the Churches of the East
Series: Bible in the Christian Orthodox Tradition - Volume 2
Peter Lang Academic Publishers
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. VIII, 113 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1035-1 hb.
 As a budding (if not young) academic, I guess I should be proud, but truth be told, I'm not. On one hand, I'm somewhat surprised that besides from submitting the manuscript, I had no input in the editing process, which would have enabled me to correct some serious translation errors. On the other, had I had some say in the publishing process, I might have withdrawn the paper from publication completely. As I found out only a few weeks ago, the Arabic text which I thought I had rediscovered had already been published in a critical edition (Testamentum Salomonis arabicum, Córdoba: Servicio de Publicaciones Universidad de Córdoba, 2006) by Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, who is a much more competent scholar than I am. Now true, I did make a few connections he did not plus it's the first time the subject has been presented to the English-reading public, so the paper is not a complete waste of cellulose, but then again, I did make a few horrible translation errors which shall now forever live in print and on Google Books and then there's the total embarassment of the whole thing. I wonder if that's ever happened to anyone else and how they dealt with it.
And the worst part is that this seems to be a constant theme accompanying my academic endeavors - every time I invest time, energy and money into a project that seems worthvile, just as a tangible result is about to be produced, I find that someone, somewhere has already done it, only better. Used to be one of those long dead Russian motherfuckers (and they still remain the most likely suspects), now it's just about everybody. This happens three or four times and you start seriously doubting if you have what it takes to, well, make a contribution and if you and the world at large would not be better off if you just packed it in, called it a day and went off to harvest jam in Cambodia* or build power plants in Yakutia**.

* The Slovak equivalent of being up shit creek without a paddle.
** A real option available to me.