Is it just me…

…or is it somewhat odd that Review of Biblical Literature would publish a review in German of the English translation of a German commentary on the Gospel of Thomas (or any other book)?

The book in question is Uwe-Karsten Plisch’s The Gospel of Thomas: Original Text with Commentary translated by Gesine Schenke Robinson. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2008 and the review is written by Tobias Nicklas from Regensburg University.

The description from the RBL website (I assume this is the publisher’s blurb) says:

This edition presents the texts in the classical languages and provides an English translation and a readily readable commentary. It includes: an introduction to the Gospel of Thomas; the complete Coptic text; the text of the Greek fragments and a Greek retranslation of all logia with parallel texts from the canonic gospels; an English translation; an extensive commentary; illustrations of the Coptic manuscript; an appendix with an index and bibliography. The introduction and commentary do not assume knowledge of the classical languages, making The Gospel of Thomas accessible to a broad audience.

Nicklas’ review is positive and it contains several passages from the English text which give a feel for Plisch’s writing style.  His concluding paragraph says (in my English translation):

The result is clear: U-K Plisch has produced an extremely interesting, important volume, which not only offers the necessary tools for beginners who are engaged in [studying] the fascinating text of  Gos Thom, but will also be consulted with some profit by the expert.

This is clearly a book that I need to own and I’ve already placed an order.  Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly cheap book (given that it’s paperback) and although the Australian dollar is looking significantly better on the world exchange market than it was a couple of weeks ago, it’s going to cost me AUD91.53 by the time I have it shipped to me. 😦  Readers in the US will be able to buy it much more cheaply through, where it qualifies for their free shipping deal.

And is this a potential gym reading project? Well,  making an informed analysis of the translation of the Coptic text won’t be possible – although the sight of my trying to juggle the commentary and my hardcover copy of Crum on the very small platform on the exercise bike might amuse other gym users. It may well be possible to get an overview of the line of argument though, seeing I won’t need to have a separate copy of the text, and  I should have finished Schottroff by the time this book arrives.


I am impressed! I ordered this book on 30 March from Amazon, using the standard international shipping rate which predicts 18-32 days to delivery.  It arrived on 15 April ie less than the predicted minimum time.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to take more than a cursory glance at it. 😦  It also turns out that the book is hardcover, which makes the price much more reasonable.

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