Thursday, 3 April 2008

A plea for reprints

Some of the best and most important theological books are books that you’ll never own – either because they’ve gone out of print, or because they’ve never been available in an affordable edition. So here’s my heartfelt plea to our community of theological publishers: please give us more reprints! Here’s my own wishlist of six theological books which urgently need reprinting:

  • Eberhard Jüngel, God as the Mystery of the World (Eerdmans) – undoubtedly one of the most important and ambitious dogmatic works since Barth’s CD, but it has never been issued as a paperback, and the few available hardcover copies are prohibitively expensive
  • David F. Ford, Barth and God’s Story (Peter Lang) – in my opinion, this is one of the best books ever written on Barth’s theology (and, more generally, one of the best books on narrative theology); but it has long been out of print, and it’s virtually impossible to find even a used copy
  • Adolf von Harnack, Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God (Labyrinth Press) – although this is a fundamental work in the history of modern theology, it is almost impossible to get a copy (there is one copy for sale here, if you can afford it!)
  • Robert Jenson, Story and Promise: A Brief Theology of the Gospel about Jesus (Fortress) – a unique, vivid and delightful sketch of Christian theology; I still regularly recommend this to people, even though it’s now difficult to obtain
  • Hans Frei, The Doctrine of Revelation in the Thought of Karl Barth, 1909–1922: The Nature of Barth’s Break with Liberalism (unpublished) – Frei’s 1956 doctoral dissertation has never been published, but it’s a crucial text for the development of Yale-school narrative theology, and I’m sure it would sell like hotcakes if someone printed it.
  • John Milbank, The Religious Dimension in The Thought of Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) (2 vols.; Edwin Mellen) – I’m reading this at the moment; it’s a brilliant historical study, and an important work for understanding the later development of Milbank’s thought. Someone ought to publish this as an affordable, single-volume paperback.

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