Saturday, 10 April 2010

Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics for $99

Readers of this blog will be familiar with recent publishing developments around Barth's Church Dogmatics. I've already discussed the new 31-volume edition and the Logos digitisation, and I've also mentioned the astonishing and indispensable Digital Karl Barth Library. (Incidentally, I'm very pleased that my own institution has now activated a subscription to this database – current students can access it here.)

Anyway, it's very exciting to note another new development: T&T Clark have sold the publishing rights of the old 14-volume edition to Hendrickson. So Hendrickson will now be producing an affordable hardcover reprint of the Church Dogmatics: it's due for release in November, and it's currently selling for $99 through Christianbook.com. There's also a blog entry which answers various questions about this reprint.

So for all those of you who've felt dismayed and rebuffed by the high prices of the existing editions, this is a fantastic opportunity. Kudos to T&T Clark and Hendrickson for making this great work available to a much wider audience!

(Incidentally, if you've never understood why you should read Karl Barth, I refer you to the picture above: the man is on a postage stamp for heaven's sake! Read him!)

21 Comments:

Terry Wright said...

The Queen features on our postage stamps, but I'm never inspired to watch her Christmas Day message to the nation.

remylow said...

Muntzer was on the FDR postage stamp, so it's got to count for something

John C. Poirier said...

Here in the states, we've put Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and Mickey Mouse on postage stamps.

Evan said...

(Incidentally, if you've never understood why you should read Karl Barth, I refer you to the picture above: the man is on a postage stamp for heaven's sake! Read him!)


I can just see it, in a Christian Century article decades from now about "How I Have Changed My Mind"...

It all began with a postage stamp.

Daniel said...

Quick question --

Obviously for years the Dogmatics have been pretty pricey all around, whether individually or as a complete set. For someone who knows nothing about publishing, why all of a sudden can Hendrickson release the set for way less money than the original releases? Why were they (and is the new version) so darn expensive?

Thanks!

Brad said...

I'd like to echo Daniel's question -- I saw the link from Evan's blog recently, but was highly suspicious; will the pagination be the same? the quality? the durability? I'll happily put down the $100 today if all those questions are in the affirmative, but without seeing them in person, or knowing much about Barth, I have no way of knowing. Can you answer any of them for us?

Brad said...

Just saw the FAQ in answer to all my questions that you linked to -- sorry for the redundancy!

J said...

14 volumes of Dogma by Calvin, er, updated by Barth--Yay. That won't fit on a postage stamp, except maybe...one in hell.

kim fabricius said...

Speaking of hell ...

"Listen to the fool's reproach! it is a kingly title!"

-- William Blake, "Proverbs from Hell"

alphabet said...

J seems to be settling in to his role of institutional troll well

Jim said...

wow ben, where'd you hear about this amazing deal...?

Ben Myers said...

Oh yeah, h/t to Jim (and about 13 other people!) for letting me know about this.

To answer Brad and Daniel's question, the best thing to do is just go and look at one of the existing Hendrickson reprints (Nicene Fathers, Keil and Delitzsch, Charles Hodge, etc). This gives you a pretty good idea of the quality of the reprints.

And it's worth mentioning that, in recent years, the T&T Clark hardcover set was being produced at a pretty lousy quality anyway (very different from the quality of the earlier T&T Clark printings). So I doubt that there'll be a huge gap between these recent T&T printings and the quality of the Hendrickson set.

Faith in Action said...

So what is it about Karl Barth that is so appealing. I hope you post mjore detaial.

http://poweroffaithprayerandworship.blogspot.com/

Rachel said...

Psh, Ben! I ordered this for Adrian months ago! Thanks for the post though. And you've provided inspiration for my first book: "Sent Unto All The Nations: 21st Century Mission Through The Postage Stamp."

Ben Myers said...

Great book title, Rachel! And as for spending too much money on Barth: my wife knows exactly how you feel...

Anonymous said...

Is the German text even available for anywhere near that price?
Like Daniel, I also wonder how such a big difference between prices is possible. Or put more rudely, have we been scammed by exorbitant prices up untill now?

Norman Jeune III said...

I think the concern over the current low price is a bit misguided.

The deal is basically this; up until now, T&T had the rights to something they knew would fetch a higher price. Now, with the release of the new set, the market value of the old version naturally decreases. T&T probably looked at it and figured the highest potential profit in it for them at this point was to sell the rights to the older translation. Hendrickson obviously bought the rights at a price that allows them to sell the older version for a cheaper price, reaching a wider demographic of readers. Hendrickson is literally banking on the fact that a low purchase price, very little overhead, and a high volume of sales equals big profit. T&T and Hendrickson are not run by theologians, they're run by capitalists!

Just be happy for the rare instance when the interests of profits seeking executives happens to benefit the consumer in a significant way, and you can get a copy at a reasonable price now!

Craig said...

I don't own a complete set but have been in the market. So what do you folks think: Is the new translation sufficiently better to justify the higher price? Or is this the way to go?

David Bell said...

I had a large collection of Barth books including the Church Dogmatics. When I resigned from the ministry I sold the lot (except the great biography of Barth which I purchased about 30 years ago). I have mourned my loss over recent years and am now planning to buy the new Hendrikson set. The Bromiley translation was fantastic, but it helped that I knew how to read Greek.
Barth was always and still is like manna from heaven for me.

David Bell said...

I thought I would add a note about the price of the Hendrikson set. It is still advertised at $99 at www.christianbook.com, but Amazon are selling this new edition (exactly the same) for $699.
Head straight to christianbook.com.
I have been advised that my set has been despatched with a postage charge of $85 added.

David Bell said...

Minor correction. The Amazon set is $626.85

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