Interview with B. Reynolds re: WUNT II (Mohr Siebeck)

Interview with B. Reynolds re: WUNT II (Mohr Siebeck) August 11, 2009

Benjamin Reynolds is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Tyndale University College & Seminary (Ontario, Canada).  Again, Benjamin is an alum of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary – my own alma mater.  He studied for his PhD at Aberdeen under Simon Gathercole (who studied here at Durham and was my external examiner).  He is definitely someone to keep an eye on in the near future as he is already publishing some journal and dictionary articles and some essays.  Ben has been kind enough to share his experience publishing with Mohr Siebeck.

1. How did you come to choose WUNT II for publishing your thesis?  What would have been a second choice for you?

At the beginning of the thesis process, I thought about JSNTS (now LNTS) for my thesis, but as the project progressed, my supervisor and I came to see WUNT II as the better option both for the quality of the series and the content of my thesis. A thesis on the same topic had already been published in the JSNTS series 15-20 years ago, whereas Mohr Siebeck had not published anything similar. My second choice would have been BZNW.

2. What was it like to submit the manuscript?  How much re-working did you do before you sent it for consideration to Mohr Siebeck (at the initial send-off)?

My thesis examiners suggested that I revise part of the introduction. So I reworked that section, and I edited some sections that I felt needed some smoothing out. I also made some bibliographical additions. Once those changes were made, I mailed/posted a hard copy directly to Jörg Frey. I wasn’t sure if that was proper procedure, but I knew someone else who had done it that way. It worked out positively for both of us.

3. Did your reader require much modification (of content)?

There was no modification asked of me. It was suggested that I double-check non-English citations.

4. I have heard that you have to prepare a camera-ready copy of the manuscript and typeset it.  Was that difficult for you?

Yes, you do have to prepare a camera-ready copy. I wouldn’t say it was difficult, but it was tedious. I learned quite a bit about Microsoft Word!! The most time consuming piece was the indexing and not the formatting.

5. Are you satisfied with your overall experience?

I am very satisfied. If I could go back in time to the beginning of the thesis, I would definitely set up some formatting styles and use them consistently throughout the entire writing process! What I mean by this is that in Microsoft Word (I haven’t converted to a Mac yet…) you have the option to choose “Styles and Formatting” under “Format”. A sidebar opens with the default Styles: Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, Normal. You can create your own styles so that, in my case, WUNT Heading 1 matches Mohr Siebeck’s settings for a first heading (e.g. something like 16 pt font, a space of 12 pt above, 6 pt below, centered, .2 pt spacing between characters, etc.). When you multiply that by Chapter headings, various levels of subheadings, footnote settings, body settings, block quote settings, bibliography settings, etc., you have a lot of changes to make to meet the specific publisher’s formatting requirements. If I had established style settings at the beginning of the process, all I would have needed to do was change the Heading 1 style and not every heading in my entire thesis. It was a tedious process, but the editorial staff at Mohr Siebeck were extremely helpful and quickly answered all of my questions.

6. If you could go back, would you have done anything differently (with regard to the process of publishing)?

I would have used formatting styles during the writing process, as I mentioned above. But with regard to Mohr Siebeck, I would not make any changes. They were excellent. Oh, I would pay attention to the difference between their corporate address in Stuttgart and their editorial office address in Tübingen, but that is another story not worth repeating.

7. Have you sold any of the complementary copies of your thesis on ebay (just kidding!)?

No, I didn’t! I didn’t think about it in time.

NB: Here is the description of Dr. Reynold’s monograph:

The title ‘Son of Man’ in the Gospel of John is an apocalyptic reference that highlights, among a number of things, that Jesus is a heavenly figure. Benjamin E. Reynolds analyzes the background of ‘Son of Man’ from the ‘one like a son of man’ in Daniel 7 and the interpretations of this figure in Jewish apocalyptic and early Christian literature.

Although there is no established ‘Son of Man concept’, the Danielic son of man is interpreted with common characteristics that suggest there was at least some general understanding of this figure in the Second Temple period. The author shows that these common characteristics are noticeable throughout the Son of Man sayings in John’s Gospel. The context and the interpretation of these sayings point to an understanding of the Johannine Son of Man similar to those in the interpretations of the Danielic figure.

However, even though these similarities exist, the Johannine figure is distinct from the previous interpretations, just as they are distinct from one another. One obvious difference is the present reality of the Son of Man’s role in judgment and salvation. The Johannine Son of Man is an apocalyptic figure, and thus ‘Son of Man’ does not function to draw attention to Jesus’ humanity in the Gospel of John. Nor is the title synonymous with ‘Son of God’. ‘Son of Man’ may overlap in meaning with other titles, particularly ‘Son of God’ and ‘Messiah’, but ‘Son of Man’ points to aspects of Jesus’ identity that are not indicated by any other title. Along with the other titles, it helps to present a richer Christological portrait of the Johannine Jesus.

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