Citing a Specific Printing

In all but a few instances, the citation of a scholarly resource need not indicate the specific printing of the work in question. However, occasionally, as an alert reader of this blog reminded us, the specific printing of a work is a matter of significance. For example, the 4th printing of the 15th edition of the Synopsis quattuor evangeliorum “is often different in important details” from the 2nd printing. The question then arises: how should an author indicate a specific printing in note and bibliographical listings?

SBLHS 2 does not address this question, and CMS offers no clear answer, so this blog post will establish SBL Press style until it can be added to the next edition of SBLHS. The preferred way of indicating a specific printing, when it is necessary to do so, is to list the printing after the edition specification, as in the following:

1. Kurt Aland, ed., Synopsis quattuor evangeliorum: Locis parallelis evangeliorum apocryphorum et patrum adhibitis, 15th ed., 4th printing (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2005).

Aland, Kurt ed. Synopsis quattuor evangeliorum: Locis parallelis evangeliorum apocryphorum et patrum adhibitis. 15th ed., 4th printing. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2005.

Please note the following details: (1) we use a comma between the edition number and printing number in both the note and bibliographical citations; (2) the year of publication given should be the specific year of the printing, not the first copyright year of the edition; (3) as usual, we translate a publisher’s description of the edition and printing (here “15. revidierte Auflage, 4. korrigierter Druck”) into English (it is unnecessary to label the 15th edition “revised”; by definition, a new edition has been revised).

The principles illustrated and explained above can be applied whenever an author needs to cite a printing. For those curious as to how many editions and printings of Synopsis quattuor evangeliorum there are, we offer the following information from the copyright page of its most recent printing:

1st–3rd editions: 1963–1966

4th edition: 1967

5th–8th editions: 1968–1973

9th edition: 1976

10th–12th editions: 1978–1982

13th edition: 1985

14th edition: 1995

15th edition, 1st printing: 1996; 2nd printing: 1997; 3rd printing: 2001; 4th printing: 2005

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