Sometimes, all your main interests converge. Books? Check. Computers? Check. Philosophy and theology? Check. History? Check. The result: http://trinities.org/books.
Some of your know that I work on “early modern” (roughly 1650-1800) philosophy, especially philosophy of religion. For some time now, I’ve been reading through some of the many debates in that era regarding the Trinity. The debates are more wide-ranging and hard-hitting than anything academic theologians are doing now, and bizarrely, they’ve been forgotten by nearly everyone but a few historians. There are interesting historical and institutional reasons for this lapse of collective memory, but that’s an issue for another post (or five). In particular, it seems that most theologians and philosophers now writing on the Trinity are simply unfamiliar with this stuff. That’s a shame, as much can be learned from it, and moreover, in many cases recent-day people (including me) are just re-hashing points well-made back in 1692 or 1738 (or whenever).
Well, now you can read some of it – cheaply. These are real paperbacks, reprints of 17th, 18th, or 19th century editions. The covers are a little thin for my taste, but the pages and binding are quite nice. Print quality varies widely. For some reason, the online Previews always under-represent the print-quality. Beware that they print these to order – no stocks are kept, so they won’t accept returns. I could have these listed on Amazon, etc., but I probably won’t, as it would cost something like $150 each to do that.
I imagine I’ll get the same question as when students see the shelves in my office. No, I haven’t read all these – yet. Some I’ve read, some I’ve skimmed, some I just want to be able to read or refer to. I’m focusing on reading whole debates, both sides, to see what I can learn – pretty much all 17th and 18th century stuff, with a few 19th c. items thrown in. Some of these authors are extremely sharp, others, blow-hards. All I guarantee is that you can learn by “listening in” – whether that’s learning by others’ great discoveries, or by their great mistakes. Of course, since I’m interested in reading both sides of the debates, this stuff is, taken together, wildly inconsistent. So if you’re trying to discern my views, don’t read too much in to my selections.
I’ll be blogging on some of these from time to time, at least, after I finish going through the range of current-day theories by people in philosophical theology. Enjoy!