Last week I did a live “TV” interview with Ratio Christi on the topic, “Can We Trust the New Testament?” The interview covered a wide range of topics from textual criticism to bible contradictions to the development of the NT Canon. Here it is:
Over the last decade, I have taught an elective here at the RTS Charlotte campus entitled “The Origin and Authority of the NT Canon.” We cover a variety of subjects related to the origins of the NT, including definition of canon, theology of canon, epistemology of canon, the historical reception of the canon, and so on.
It was this class that gave birth to my book, Canon Revisited (Crossway, 2012). I was unable to find a book on canon that answered the questions my students were asking. So, I decided to write one that did!
On of my favorite parts of the class has been a section where we explore early New Testament manuscripts and the way those manuscripts inform us about the history of the NT. We also read from high resolution photographs of P66–a late second-century copy of the Gospel of John (see inset photo). [Read more…]
There is little doubt that most people are confused by the book of Revelation. Perhaps is not surprising, then, that people are equally confused by its journey into the New Testament canon.
Revelation is one of those “debated” books in the early church, along with books like 2 Peter, 2-3 John, and Jude.
If you are looking for more on the canonical history of Revelation, I point you to my recent article entitled, “The Reception of the Book of Revelation in the Early Church” which has just come out in the new volume Book of Seven Seals: The Peculiarity of Revelation, its Manuscripts, Attestation and Transmission, eds. Thomas J. Kraus and Michael Sommer (Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 159-174. [Read more…]
Next week, Aug 1-5, I will teach an elective at RTS Charlotte entitled, “The Origin and Authority of the New Testament Canon.”
In this class, we will be covering not just the history and development of the canon, but also its theological meaning, and its epistemological foundation. In other words, we will not only discuss when these books were recognized, but we will explore how we know which books belong and which do not.
So, the class will cover the various canonical models present in theological circles today, as well as responding to modern historical-critical scholars who attack its integrity.
One other interesting part of the course is that we will do in-class reading from high resolution photos of the Greek manuscript P66, an almost complete copy of John’s gospel dated c.200. This is one of the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament that we possess and provides a wonderful introduction to the world of ancient manuscripts. We will discuss not only the Greek text, but scribal habits, inscriptional features, nomina sacra, and more.
As one might guess, the base textbook for this class will my Canon Revisited (Crossway, 2012). But, I will also be using other texts and articles along the way.
Probably too late for many of you to consider taking this course, but if you are in the area, and have some free time, come and join us. You can read more about it here.
And, as an additional note, the class is being recorded by our Global Campus and should be available online in the year to come.
It has been a while since the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife has been in the headlines. It was originally unveiled by Karen King at Harvard (here), but quickly exposed as a likely forgery. I have also written on the fragment (here and here).
While this document’s status as a forgery is relatively certain, what has been uncertain (until now) is the identity of the forger. Who was the person who created this document and convinced King and others to promote it?
The forger must have had some Coptic abilities. But, the abilities would have had limits–as demonstrated by the mistakes in the Coptic text.
What is remarkable is that King herself has not undertaken a rigorous investigation of the document’s origins and provenance. Who discovered this document? Who owned it? And how was it passed along? If the authenticity of a document is in doubt, this is an important avenue to pursue. But no one has wanted to pursue it.
But, now someone finally has. A journalist named Ariel Sabar has just published a splendid piece in The Atlantic documenting the history of this forgery and tracing it back to the current owner, and likely forger, a rather shady German business man, and washed-out Coptic student, named Walter Fritz.
Tomorrow I head to Atlanta for the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. This is always a great occasion to catch up with old colleagues, meet new ones, and network with scholars from around the country.
In addition to a full slate of meetings, I will be involved in the following three sessions:
1. On 11/18 at 10:40AM I will be giving a paper in the Synoptic Gospels section (Hilton Grand Salon C) where I will review the recent book by Monte Shanks, Papias and the New Testament (Pickwick, 2013). Afterwards there will be a panel discussion on Papias with me, Monte Shanks and Darrell Bock.
2. Also on 11/18 at 4:40PM I will be giving a paper in the NT Canon, Textual Criticism, and Apocryphal Literature section (Hilton 201) on a miniature codex of 2 John (Gregory Aland 0232). The theme for this year’s session is the physical and textual features of early Christian manuscripts, so this seemed to be an appropriate topic.
3. On 11/19 from 1:00-4:10PM (Hilton 304), I will be moderating the open session of NT Canon, Textual Criticism and Apocryphal literature. There is a great line up of papers by Zachary Cole, Peter Gurry, Nick Perrin, and David Yoon.
But, in the midst of all of this, the most important part of ETS should not be missed: books! This is the main time each year to see all the new publications in one place, and often they are being sold at a major discount. And I will be sticking around for a few days at SBL and enjoying the book tables there as well.
If you are coming to either of these conferences, hope to see you there.
Whenever I teach textual criticism to my seminary students, I usually get two very different responses. For some students, their eyes glaze over and they tune out as soon as they hear the word “paleography” for the first time.
For others, they find themselves fascinated by how texts were transmitted and copied in the ancient world. And they are excited by the fact that we can go to museums and see actual NT manuscripts–the earliest artifacts of Christianity. This archaeological component to textual criticism makes it a very tangible enterprise.
One thing that really helps teach students about this complex subject is finding the right text book. But, admittedly, this has been a challenge over the years. While I have great respect for Metzger’s original edition of The Text of the New Testament, it is written at a scholarly level that creates a challenge for most first-year seminary students. And the new Metzger-Ehrman edition has additional sections that I am not convinced are an improvement over the original.
On the other end of the spectrum is probably Greenlee’s Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism. This volume is much more introductory and certainly accessible to first-year seminary students. However, its brevity creates the opposite problem–many issues are not covered at all, or at the level of detail needed.
This conundrum has, in my opinion, been largely solved by the new book by Stan Porter and Andrew Pitts, Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism (Eerdmans, 2015). I received an advance review copy many months ago, but today I received the final version in the mail.
Porter and Pitts aim for (and, I think, hit) the proverbial middle ground between Metzger and Greenlee, thus providing an excellent introduction to seminary students with the appropriate level of detail. It is the essential third bowl of porridge in Goldilocks and the Three Bears!
I also enjoyed this volume because it includes a section on the canon of the New Testament–something most textual criticism volumes do not address. This provides students with a helpful introduction to how the New Testament was formed in the first place.
Here are the endorsements on the back cover, including my own:
Craig S. Keener
— Asbury Theological Seminary
“This very readable textbook provides a helpful and balanced introduction to text criticism aimed at just the right level for beginning students. It is clear, introduces multiple views, gives good reasons for the approaches it favors, and — an unexpected bonus — offers in two relevant chapters useful, concise introductions to canon formation and translation theory.”
Michael J. Kruger
— Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte
“Because of the complexity of the field of textual criticism, most introductions are either too detailed or too basic. This exceptional volume by Stanley Porter and Andrew Pitts provides a welcome balance between these two extremes, introducing students to all the critical issues without overloading them with unnecessary detail. It also covers topics that most introductions overlook, such as the development of the New Testament canon and modern English translations. For anyone looking for a balanced, thorough, and yet readable introduction to textual criticism, this is it.”
J. K. Elliott
— University of Leeds
“Newcomers to the Greek New Testament will find this guide a useful introduction explaining how the establishing of the text is undertaken. It also gives insight into the treasures awaiting a perceptive user concerning textual variants found in the manuscript tradition.”
Craig A. Evans
— Acadia Divinity College
“This is no ordinary introduction to textual criticism. In addition to offering explanations of the criteria and the critical apparatus, Porter and Pitts explain in very practical ways what the discipline tries to do and the thinking that lies behind it. As a bonus readers are treated to up-to-date discussion of the formation of the canon of Scripture, the nature of the materials used in the production of ancient books, and a history of the English Bible and the theories of translation on which translations are based. The book is rich with examples and insights.”
David Alan Black
— Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism is an excellent treatise on a vitally important subject. Stanley Porter and Andrew Pitts were seeking to produce a textbook that falls midway between Bruce Metzger’s Text of the New Testament and my own New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide, and they have succeeded brilliantly. . . . Their careful research deepens our understanding of the role of textual criticism in exegesis, and I am confident that this book of theirs will be widely used both inside and outside of the classroom.”
— Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
“Porter and Pitts have admirably achieved what they set out to do — provide a succinct introduction to the manuscript tradition of the Greek New Testament for first- and second-year students of Koine Greek. . . . This book is ideal both for students in classrooms and for general readers who seek reliable information about the origins and the text of the New Testament.”
Thomas J. Kraus
— University of Zurich
“In this book Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts take interested students by the hand and introduce them to the essentials of New Testament textual criticism. . . . They provide welcome, concise assessments of external and internal evidence for judging textual variants. . . . A very useful tool for instructing students in New Testament textual criticism.”
If we learn anything from church history, its that the church fights the same battles over and over again. Until Christ returns and redeems His church, this reality is, to some degree, inevitable. And one of those reoccurring battles is the issue of biblical authority. For a variety of reasons, this topic continues to pop up again and again.
In the last 50 years, one of the key issues related to biblical authority is the issue of inerrancy. Is inerrancy a recent, post-enlightenment, rationalistic (and largely American) invention as so many maintain? While one most always be careful to explain and nuance the meaning of the term, I don’t think it should be kicked to the curb as some suggest. Rather, I have argued elsewhere (see here) that it is one of the most natural words for expressing the core belief that Christian’s have always had about the Bible, namely that it is true.
Because of the importance of inerrancy, I was pleased to participate in the forthcoming volume, The Inerrant Word: Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspectives, ed. John MacArthur (Crossway, 2016). This volume pulls together a fine collection of pastors and scholars including Ligon Duncan, John Frame, Carl Trueman, Stephen Nichols, Al Mohler, Kevin DeYoung, Sinclair Ferguson, Mark Dever, R.C. Sproul, and others.
My own chapter was entitled, “Inerrancy, Canonicity, Preservation, and Textual Criticism.” As the title suggests, I deal with two major challenges two inerrancy: Do we have the right books? And do we have the right text?
The volume is set for release on March 31, 2016.
In the ongoing debates about the reliability of early Christian manuscripts, and whether they have been transmitted with fidelity, it is often claimed that early Christian scribes were amateurs, unprofessional, and some probably couldn’t even read.
In Michael Satlow’s recent book, How the Bible Became Holy (Yale, 2014), this same sort of argument appears. Satlow’s book argues that both the OT and NT canons were late bloomers, and that they bore no real authority until the third or fourth century CE. And part of the evidence for this claim comes from Satlow’s assessment of the NT manuscripts. He states:
The copies of early Christian manuscripts from around the second century CE were utilitarian. They were generally on papyrus rather than the more expensive and durable parchment. They lack the signs both of being written by a professional scribe and of being intended for public recitation (255).
There are a lot of claims in this brief couple of sentences. Unfortunately, virtually every one of them is mistaken. Let’s take them one at a time:
1. Early NT Manuscripts were unprofessional/utilitarian. This claim, though widespread, has been seriously questioned in recent years. Although some of the earliest Christian papyri (second and third centuries) were not characterized by the formal bookhand that was common among Jewish scriptural books or Greco-Roman literary texts, others were much closer to the literary end of the scale than is often realized. In fact, many second/third century Christian texts do exhibit a more refined hand and literary style, such as P77 (Matthew), P46 (Paul’s letters), P4-P64-P67 (Luke and Matthew), and P66 (John).
Such evidence led Graham Stanton to declare, “The oft-repeated claim that the gospels were considered at first to be utilitarian handbooks needs to be modified” (Jesus and Gospel, 206). Likewise, Kim Haines-Eitzen directly states, “The earliest copyists of Christian literature were trained professional scribes” (Guardians of Letters, 68, emphasis mine).
2. Serious manuscripts were on parchment, not papyrus. This, again, is a bit misleading. For the first four centuries, most Christian manuscripts were on papyrus but this does not mean they were valued less or regarded as something other than Scripture. Indeed, the Gospels were on papyrus during this time period, but Justin Martyr tells us they were read as Scripture alongside OT books (1 Apol. 67.3). Moreover, many OT manuscripts were on papyrus during this time period! And this certainly doesn’t suggest their authority should be lessened.
In addition, the idea that parchment is more durable than papyrus has been challenged by both T.C. Skeat (“Early Christian Book Production,” 59-60) and Harry Gamble (Books and Readers, 45). See also comments on papyrus by Pliny the Elder (Nat. 13.74-82).
3. NT manuscripts were not intended for public reading. This idea, again, has been seriously challenged by a number of modern scholars. Larry Hurtado and Scott Charlesworth have both observed that NT manuscripts, compared to elite literary texts in the Greco-Roman world, have an inordinate number of reader’s aids, more generous spacing between lines, and more characters per line–all designed to help in the public reading of these books. This also seems to fit Justin Martyr’s statement noted above that early Christian texts were being read publicly in worship.
On top of all of this, one might add that Christian scribal practice of abbreviating key words such as God, Lord, Christ, and Jesus–called the nomina sacra (“sacred names”)–indicates a substantially well-organized and developed book/scribal culture.
The nomina sacra were not only widespread among early Christian manuscripts (we can hardly find a text without them), but they also have deep roots that go well into the first century.
How does such an early, widespread scribal convention emerge out of a scribal culture that is supposedly amateurish and disorganized? In short, they don’t. On the contrary, Skeat argues that the nomina sacra “indicate a degree of organization, of conscious planning, and uniformity of practice among the Christian communities which we have hitherto had little reason to suspect” (73).
In sum, the oft-repeated claim that early Christian scribes were unprofessional and untrained simply does not fit with what we know about early Christian manuscripts nor about early Christian literary culture. Loveday Alexander provides a perfect summary,
It is clear that we are dealing with a group [early Christians] that used books intensively and professionally from very early on in its existence. The evidence of the papyri from the second century onwards suggests . . . the early development of a technically sophisticated and distinctive book technology (“Ancient Book Production and the Circulation of the Gospels,” 85).
One of the classic debates among New Testament scholars pertains to the state of the New Testament text in the earliest centuries (2nd-4th). Was the text transmitted in a “wild” and “uncontrolled” fashion? Or did it exhibit a degree of stability and tenacity (as the Alands would put it)?
My friend Chuck Hill and I engaged this question in 2012 when we edited the volume The Early Text of the New Testament for Oxford University Press. In this volume, we collected together over 20 of the finest textual scholars today to address these important questions. The volume did not answer every issue, nor did all its contributors even agree with each other, but (hopefully) it made some important contributions to the discussion.
Given that the book was quite pricey when it came out in hardback–and even in paper back isn’t cheap ($50!)–and is highly technical, we didn’t expect a slew of reviews. But, I was pleased to see the recent review by Jeff Cate, Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University.
Cate provides a helpful overview of the contents of the book, and then offers this conclusion:
The Early Text of the NT is an important and unique contribution to these current debates. The individual NT books are examined separately to prevent homogenizing and blurring textual issues in unfortunate and misleading kinds of ways. The second-century sources are also examined individually to see the evidence they are able to present collectively. While some of the material in the essays has been discussed elsewhere by these and other scholars, still much of the analysis has been approached in a new and fresh manner. Crucial data regarding textual reliability in the second century is especially to be noted in both essays by the two editors (Hill and Kruger). The twenty-one essays in The Early Text of the NT are not the final word about the NT text in the first three centuries, but nonetheless it is an important word that must be considered. Those wishing to engage in this debate must examine closely the detailed data provided in this volume.
Thanks to Jeff for the kind review. You can read the whole thing here.
One of the standard challenges for New Testament textual criticism is whether we can work our way back to the original text. Some scholars are notoriously skeptical in this regard. Since we only have later copies, it is argued, we cannot be sure that the text was not substantially changed in the time period that pre-dates those copies.
Helmut Koester and Bart Ehrman are examples of this skeptical approach. Koester has argued that the text of the New Testament in the earliest stages was notoriously unstable. Most major changes, he argues, would have taken place in the first couple centuries.
Ehrman makes a similar case. Since we don’t have the originals, and only copies of copies of copies, then who knows what the text was really like before our extant copies were made.
But is it really true that we only possess copies of copies of copies? Is there really an enormous gap, as Koester and Ehrman maintain, between the autographs and our earliest copies?
A recent article by Craig Evans of Acadia University suggests otherwise. In the most recent issue of the Bulletin for Biblical Research, Evans explores the question of how long manuscripts would have lasted in the ancient world, and whether that might provide some guidance of how long the autographs might have lasted–and therefore how long they would have been copied.
Evans culls together an insightful and intriguing amount of evidence to suggest that literary manuscripts in the ancient world would last hundreds of years, on average. Appealing to the recent study of G.W. Houston, he argues that manuscripts could last anywhere from 75 to 500 years, with the average being about 150 years.
The implications of this research on the textual stability of the New Testament are not difficult to see. Evans says:
Autographs and first copies may well have remained in circulation until the end of the second century, even the beginning of the third century…The longevity of these manuscripts in effect forms a bridge linking the first-century autographs and first copies to the great codices, via the early papyrus copies we possess (35).
In other words, it is possible (and perhaps even likely) that some of the earliest copies of the New Testament we posses may have been copied directly from one of the autographs. And, if not the autographs, they may have been copied from a manuscript that was directly copied from the autographs. Either way, this makes the gap between our copies and the autographs shrink down to a rather negligible size.
In the end, we do not possess merely copies of copies of copies (etc.) as some skeptics maintain. The early date of our copies, combined with the likely longevity of the autographs, can give us a high degree of confidence that have access to the New Testament text at the earliest possible stage.
If so, then there are no reasons to think that there were wild, unbridled textual changes taking place in this earliest period. On the contrary, Evans’ study provides good reasons to think the NT text was transmitted with a high degree of accuracy and fidelity.
If you want to check out Evans’ full article, see: “How Long Were Late Antique Books in Use? Possible Implications for New Testament Textual Criticism” BBR 25.1 (2015): 23-37.
If you want to dive even deeper into the transmission of the New Testament text, see my recent book (edited with Chuck Hill): The Early Text of the New Testament (Oxford, 2012).
Over the last few decades, the world of textual criticism has had a less than an optimistic feel about it. While the central purpose of textual criticism has traditionally been the recovery of the “original” text (regardless of whether one is dealing with the New Testament or any ancient text), some are now suggesting that it should not necessarily be the goal of the discipline.
Bart Ehrman, commenting on the attempts to recover the original text, declares, “It is by no means self-evident that this ought to be the goal of the discipline…there may indeed be scant reason to privilege the ‘original’ text over forms of the text that developed subsequently” (“Text as Window,” 361, n.1).
In addition, others have express substantial skepticism about whether the “original” text can even be recovered at all. Helmut Koester has argued that the text has changed dramatically in the earliest time period of its transmission–a period prior to our earliest copies–and thus scholars are “naive” if they think it can be recovered (“Text of the Synoptic Gospels in the Second Century,” 19).
Now, it is important to recognize that these scholars are correct in many ways. Prior generations of scholars have perhaps given too little attention to the complexities and challenges in recovering the original text of the New Testament. And it is correct that we cannot have absolutely 100% certainty regarding every single textual variation.
That said, I thought it might be helpful to also revisit the more optimistic voices within in the practice of textual criticism. One key question is whether the original text has been lost entirely (and thus appears in none of our manuscripts), or whether our manuscripts (at least somewhere) contain the original text. Here are just a few quotes from scholars who think that the original text is still in our possession:
“The point is that we have so many manuscripts of the NT … that surely the original reading in every case is somewhere present in our vast store of material” (“Textual Criticism” in New Testament and Its Modern Interpreters, 91).
“The immense amount of material available to NT textual critics … is their good fortune because with such an abundance of material one can be reasonably certain that the original text is to be found somewhere in it” (“Textual Criticism of the New Testament,” 6).
Kurt and Barbara Aland:
“One of the characteristics of the New Testament textual tradition is tenacity, i.e., the stubborn resistance of readings and text types to change …. This is what makes it possible to retrace the original text of the New Testament through a broad range of witnesses” (The Text of the New Testament, 70).
“The transmission of the New Testament textual tradition is characterized by an extremely impressive degree of tenacity. Once a reading occurs it will persist with obstinacy …. It is precisely the overwhelming mass of the New Testament textual tradition which provides an assurance of certainty in establishing the original text” (ibid, 291-292).
“It is probably quite clear that the element of tenacity in the New Testament textual tradition not only permits but demands that we proceed on the premise that in every instance of textual variation it is possible to determine the form of the original text” (ibid, 294).
“In spite of the remarkable [textual] differences, scholars are convinced that we can reconstruct the original words of the New Testament with reasonable (although probably not 100 percent) accuracy” (The New Testament, 481).
“This oldest form of the text [of Galatians] is no doubt closely (very closely) related to what the author originally wrote, and so it is the basis for our interpretation of his teaching” (Misquoting Jesus, 62).
Of course, I threw in these last two quote by Ehrman to make a point. Even the most skeptical textual critics still acknowledge (at least at certain points), that the original text, or something very close to it, is recoverable. For Ehrman, this optimism is essential for him to maintain because elsewhere he argues that scribes changed the New Testament text for theological reasons (see The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture). But, he could never make the case for these theologically-motivated changes unless he had some way to know that they were actually scribal changes, and therefore not original.
Although we can acknowledge that absolute certainty about every single variant is unattainable, we can also acknowledge that absolute certainty is not necessary. We can recover a text so very close to the original that it is more than sufficient for accurately communicating the message of the Scriptures.
I was pleased to see two recent positive reviews of my co-edited volume (with Chuck Hill), The Early Text of the New Testament (Oxford, 2012). As a side note, the book is now out in paperback for only $45 (which I mentioned in a prior post here).
Over at the Review of Biblical Literature, Amy Donaldson concludes her review:
For anyone interested in the early text of the New Testament, the state of research, and further avenues of study in this topic, this book is a valuable introduction and reference tool. For those interested in specific books of the New Testament or patristic authors, the individual chapters on a range of topics will provide a helpful point of intersection with this larger theme of the New Testament text leading into the fourth century. As the editors acknowledge in the introduction, this volume is not meant to be the final word on this subject but is an initial step in moving forward the larger conversation on the early text of the New Testament and our comprehensive assessment of it in light of continuing research and new evidence.
In the Irish Theological Quarterly, Thomas O’Loughlin offers a positive assessment:
This collection [of essays] stands as a benchmark in a series of contemporary discussions by some of the best scholars writing in any language today. The collection is in three parts. The first concerns scribal culture—note that this category is far broader than the traditional ‘palaeography and codicology’—in early Christianity with four papers. That by Gamble (pp. 25–36) is, in effect, his book of lens through which we can now re-read his 1995 book; while that of Kruger (pp. 63–80) brings together evidence on attitudes to the reproduction of texts in a new and fascinating manner….
This is an important book of which biblical scholars will have to take account—and they will be rewarded for their attention—not least as a status quaestionis on many topics; that said, one can already sketch out other collections that will both fill out and balance the picture.
Thanks to Tommy Wasserman, a contributor to ETNT on the text of Matthew, for passing along this review!
In 2012, Oxford University Press published The Early Text of the New Testament, edited by myself and my friend Chuck Hill. The volume was designed to assess the most primitive state of the NT text available from our sources. It covered three main subject areas: (1) The textual and scribal culture of early Christianity; (2) The manuscript tradition itself; and (3) Citations of the NT in early Christian writings.
Contributors included Tjitze Baarda, Jeff Bingham, Juan Chapa, Scott Charlesworth, Carl Cosaert, J.K. Elliott, Paul Foster, Harry Gamble, Peter Head, Juan Hernandez, Larry Hurtado, Tobias Nicklas, Stan Porter, Dieter Roth, James Royse, Billy Todd, Christopher Tuckett, Joseph Verheyden, Tommy Wasserman, and Peter Williams.
Chuck and I also contributed. My article was entitled, “Early Christian Attitudes toward the Reproduction of Texts,” where I explored what Christians actually said about textual reproduction (and what they said about the sanctity of their texts), as opposed to what they actually did in textual reproduction (which is another matter altogether).
Chuck wrote a fantastic article entitled, “‘In These Very Words’: Methods and Standards of Literary Borrowing in the Second Century.” He tackled the well-worn issue of patristic citations of NT texts and whether we should expect those citations to reflect the actual state of the text.
One of the biggest complaints we got from students (and fellow scholars!) was the excruciatingly high cost of the book–$175. Of course, this is not unusual for a large (483 pp.) book from Oxford, but it is painful nonetheless.
On this score, I just received the good news yesterday from OUP, that the paperback edition is now available, and for the bargain price of only $45. So, for all of those who might have delayed purchasing the book due to the high price, now is a good time. And maybe now I will not feel so guilty if I assign it as required reading for one of my classes!