Wednesday 2 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Frei, The Doctrine of Revelation in the Thought of Karl Barth, 1909–1922: The Nature of Barth’s Break with Liberalism (unpublished) – Frei’s 1956 doctoral dissertation has never been published, but it’s a crucial text for the development of Yale-school narrative theology, and I’m sure it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.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure if you ask nicely enough Prof David Ford might have a copy or two of his book lying around ...

Patrick McManus said...

Hi Ben,

I'll have to check, but I think I've still got a second copy of God as Mystery if you know of anyone interested. I worked at CRUX books in Toronto for 4 years and we got a whole crate one time with a minor misprint on the dustjackets (instead of saying, in the subtitle, On the... it says One the.... We sold them off at $9.99 each and I bought a few. Let me know. If someone wants to pay shipping, I'm game (I just have to look through a few dozen boxes!).


Ben Myers said...

Hi Anon: Ford's book is a sad gap in my own library, and I've been trying for years to find a used copy. So if you happen to be on friendly terms with David Ford....

Thanks, Patrick, that's a very generous offer! Could I request it for Jon Mackenzie? He's a student in Scotland who'll be doing his doctorate on Jüngel with John Webster — I'm pretty sure he's been looking for a copy.

W. Travis McMaken said...

Anyone can surf over to Wipf & Stock and put in a request for a re-print.

Strider said...

Robert Jenson's *Story and Promise* is available from Sigler Press, as are other titles by Jenson (Triune Identity, Visible Words, and Unbaptized God).

Anonymous said...

The Ford book is on for £20.

Anonymous said...

Ben, as WTM noted, anyone can come over to our site and put in a recommendation for reprints. I'm sending a link to this post to those folks who do a great job of tracking down permissions for reprint projects. Maybe we can get some of these in print for you in the near future. Be sure to pop over to our site the next time a reprint idea comes to you. And, check out our growing catalog of excellent new pubs as well.

D. Christopher Spinks, PhD
Editor, Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 W. 8th Ave, Suite 3
Eugene OR 97401

Tel: 541-344-1528
Fax: 541-344-1506

Patrick McManus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I emailed Wipf and Stock about John Burnaby's study of Augustine, Amor Dei, about a year ago, and had a prompt reply to say they were negotiating copyright but it would come soon. It's come as a handsome paperback.

Another I'd be interested in is Nicholas Lossky, Lancelot Andrewes, the Preacher, 1555-1626: The Origins of the Mystical Theology of the Church of England. Only available for daft money and yet to be issued as pbk.

Jon said...


That would be absolutely amazing! Here in Britain it's actually cheaper to get on the property ladder than buy a copy of God as Mystery. I tried to get a hold of your email for logistical purposes but couldn't find one. Where should I email?

Thanks again,

Patrick McManus said...

Hi Jon,

email me at



Anonymous said...

1. There has been more than one attempt to publish Frei's dissertation. A committee was formed to consider it. However, the overriding consideration was that he himself was clear that he didn't want it to be published. Anyone who wants it can get it through UMI.

2. There is no such thing as an out of print book. Any instructor can get the books you list through Wipf and Stick. They then have them available on demand.

Dave Belcher said...

Hi Ben,

Any word on the reprints of the Barth CD yet? Thanks again.

Erin said...

Good to hear from you:) Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

How about Pannenberg's Anthropology? You can find it used (the quality of the type is quite bad, though), but I'm surprised it's out of print.
As for the Jüngel, I found a translation into French (which I read more easily than German). I wonder, though, how good the translations actually are.

Anonymous said...

Regent Bookstore in Vancouver, Canada, is also very open to requests for republishing out of print titles.
In Canada and the U.S. call toll free 1-800-334-3279
By E-mail:

Ben Myers said...

Thanks, I'm really pleased with the enthusiastic response — thanks especially to Chris Spinks from Wipf & Stock.

Dave: yes, I'll be posting a review of the new edition of Barth's CD any day now...

Anonymous said...

Ben, as I mentioned earlier, your suggestions for republishing will be more than welcome at Regent College Publishing. See here:
I quote from the RCP webpage:
Regent College Publishing seeks to keep quality Christian literature in print. We welcome any suggestions you may have.
For more information, contact:
Regent College Publishing
5800 University Blvd.
Vancouver, BC V6T 2E4
Tel: 604-228-1820
Fax: 604-224-3097

"Since the early 1990s the bookstore has been meeting a demand for out-of print Christian literature by reprinting Christian academic literature.

Using new printing technology, Regent Bookstore can publish books in quantities as low as one at a time. Traditionally, book publishers have had to print several thousand copies to break even, which comes with considerable financial investment and risk. But with "print on demand" technology now available, RCP has been able to publish more than 200 books of theology and Christian spirituality with very low overhead. Today, RCP has international distribution agreements and publishes books by notable authors..."

Ben Myers said...

Many thanks for this, CP.

Anonymous said...

anyone have it?

Anonymous said...

The story with Frei's thesis is a complicated one, and it has come quite close to being published a couple of times. A section of it, rather eccentrically and drastically edited, made it into Ten Year Commemoration to the Life of Hans Frei (1922-1988), ed. Giorgy Olegovich (New York: Semenenko Foundation, 1999), pp.103-187 - though that itself is almost impossible to find. And, of course, a section was published largely unchanged in Frei's essay on 'Niebuhr's Theological Background' in Faith and Ethics: The Theology of H. Richard Niebuhr, ed. Paul Ramsey (New York: Harper and Row, 1957), pp.9-64 - it's the section from pp.40-53. I had a conversation years back with T&T Clark's Geoffrey Green (this was before they became part of Continuum) and John Webster about the possibility of editing it into a more publishable state (given that Frei clearly hadn't wanted it published as is) - and even got as far as a pretty detailed prospectus for the editing that would be needed - but the conversation didn't really lead anywhere.

Strider said...

I would like to put in a plea for the reprinting of Archbishop Michael Ramsey's books--particularly, *The Gospel and the Catholic Church* and *The Glory of God and the Transfiguration of Christ*.

Also the books of Lionel Thornton--particularly, *The Common Life in the Body of Christ* and his forgotten trilogy *The Form of the Servant*.

Anonymous said...

not that anyone reads this post anymore, but it seems God as the mystery of the world is now available in paperback for around 30.

Anonymous said...

The Frei commemoration is available by reprint only from France, for $30 US or 30 Euro pp. The "drastic" editing of the Frei material is largely an 84 page excerpt from his 500-page original dissertation, virtually the size of two separate dissertations in its original.

Anonymous said...

Pontificator: Both of the Ramsey books you mention are available in pb with Wipf and Stock.

Anonymous said...

Ben: The Ford, Jungel and Harnack titles you mention up top are available with Wipf and Stock. Frei is an obvious issue as has been well documented. I'll look into the Jenson and Milbank titles.

Tato Sumantri
Reprint Acquisitions and Marketing
Wipf and Stock Publishers
Eugene, OR

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