The Continuing Saga of Sergei Bulgakov and Bill Eerdman’s Money

In which Bill Eerdmans dashes my hopes and corrects my grammar (click here for context).

BillDear D.J.:

Thanks for your blog.  We don’t need to make any more money.  Think of what we’ve saved eschewing the Footnotes, which could be unprofitable anyway, given their incoherence.  We’d have sent you off on a goose chase, or, herding cats.  Maybe the main text has unwittingly embodied the notes of note, eliding any necessity of vain scholarly pursuit.

Happy to send you a distraction from your obsession with the whimsical Jakim, a copy of Addison Hart’s The Ox-Herder and the Good Shepherd.

Ever, as ever,

William B. Eerdmans, Jr.
2140 Oak Industrial Dr NE
Grand Rapids, MI  49505
(616) 459-4591 / 800-253-7521

For some reason, my response to Bill Eerdmans was not preserved in my Sent folder. So I am going to reproduce it from memory, but I will keep the bloc quote for the sake of the illusion.

DSC04753Dear Mr. Eerdmans,

Thanks for your response. I am disappointed, but not surprised. Personally, I like chasing geese. Most academics do. That’s how dissertations get written.

There is no need to console me with a free book. Just permit me to repost this email to my blog for interested readers. But if you want to send me a free book anyways, my address is …

His reply to my reply…

BillDear David:

Thanks for yours. Go ahead and “repost” our exchange.

Always pleased to correct a scholar. Try “anyway” instead of “anyways”.

Ever, as ever,


I have learned two things from this exchange. First, Bill Eerdmans is a delightful rapscallion, and I really want to have a beer with him someday. Second, if Bulgakov’s footnotes are going to get translated, it’s going to have to be something scholars do for themselves. I am picturing a Wiki for all his footnotes. Each page has three columns. The original language is on the left, next is the translation, followed by the requisite quibbling about nuance, connotation, etc. In order for this Wiki to be useful, it would have to be exclusive to those with the requisite credentials (otherwise we could not cite it), and somebody else will have to do it because I cannot read Russian. If I could, I would never have been kvetching about this in the first place.

So somebody get started on that please, and let me know when it’s up. Thanks!

Bill, I also like wine.
Bill, I also like wine.

P.s. I will let you know if I get that free book. Sure, I said I didn’t need it, but we all know that that was one of those lies people agree to in polite society. Like when “Bill” and I have a beer someday. He will offer to pick up the tab, and I’ll insist that I can cover my own drinks, but we’ll both know that I’m lying. He offered, and being a polite rapscallion, I expect he’ll make good.


Update: For the record, those last two sentences were tongue-in-cheek. When I “beer” with people (yes, I’m making it a verb now), I usually buy a couple of rounds and toast to their health. Thus I raise an anticipatory glass to you, Bill Eerdmans (even if you won’t be adding those footnotes)! I’ll buy the first round!

Oh, and thanks for the book!

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