Why Are There Typos in Academic Works?

You may think typos exist as the result of overworked editors who are just too sleepy after ours of indexing to notice subtle mistakes–but if you think this, you’re absolutely right wrong.  In fact, typos exist to foil the attempts of your usual not-too-bright forgers and plagiarists, as Mark Goodacre demonstrates:

This is an oddity that was difficult to fathom.  Why was the fragment’s author missing out this direct-object marker, especially if he was dependent on Coptic Thomas which includes it?

I must admit that I never thought to look at the page-by-page PDFs, looking instead only at the web version.   But yesterday, Mike Grondin himself made a telling observation on the Gospel of Thomas e-list.  While the level of accuracy in Mike’s excellent website is very high, there is one place in the PDFs where he has a typographical error, and the error corresponds precisely to the same oddity in the Jesus’ Wife fragment…

So plagiarists beware!  Steal from an academic work to make tons of money on eBay and you may find you were too ignorant to catch mistakes like this that will undo your whole authenticity claim (I’m looking at you, Lead Codices forgers).

See the published article by Andrew Bernhard, who is responsible for the typo-catching, here (.PDF format).

James McGrath has a humorous take on this as well that you’ll want to read.

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3 Responses

  1. [...] evidence that the modern forger used Mike Grondin’s online interlinear – namely the reproduction of a typo from that online source.The Gospels allegedly according to Jesus’ disciples copied [...]

  2. Was yours an intentional typo?

  3. Yes, and similarly, the 944 Google Books results for “new testament periscope” were put there to encourage undergraduates to make laughable errors about Jesus walking on submarines.

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