[The Presbyterian Journal, 30 Dec, 1959: p. 11]
GORDON H. CLARK, Ph.D.
In the recent past the Christian community has been favored with the publication of a number of important reprints. They merit some free advertising, though that is not the chief purpose of this notice. The CREEDS OF CHRISTENDOM, by Phillip A. Schaff, first published more than seventy-five years ago, is now available in a new edition. This is a monumental work containing the original texts in all the great doctrinal pronouncements of Christendom, both eastern and western, together with a volume of most interesting history and scholarly discussion of the history and significance of the Creeds.
Through the same publisher, (Harper & Bros), Thomas F. Torrance has reprinted, with a long Introduction, the texts of ten Reformation Catechisms. Since the majority of these are difficult to obtain, it is most convenient to compare them in this form.
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. has issued several important reprints: Calvin’s INSTITUES, the commentaries of Keil and Delitzsch, the great sets of Ante-Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, and some other items. Anyone who knows the value of these important works is automatically grateful that they are again in print.
The Sovereign Grace Book Club (Evansville, Indiana) and its counterpart in England are publishing a comprehensive series of major Puritan works. There is Zanchius on ABSOLUTE PREDESTINATION, Trapp’s COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH, by John Gill, and the writings of Andrew Bonar, William Gurnall, Thomas Manton, Robert Haldane, Thomas Goodwin, and other men learned in the Scriptures.
Unfortunately, not everyone is so pleased at the reprinting of these Christian classics. Emile Cailliet of Princeton Seminary, complains “What purpose is ever served, may I ask, by reprinting editions of obsolete theological dissertations, whose essential merit today is that they act as tranquilizers for cases of religious misoneism?” (Mis-o-ne’-ism means the hatred of anything new)
Now, I wonder whether Professor Cailliet objects similarly to new editions of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel? It would be interesting to hear. In the learned circles of university life such editions are usually well received. Putnam’s “Loeb Library” in English and the Bude series in French, with their reprints of Plato, Philo, Plotinus, etc. command wide-spread respect. Why then should one object to the re-publications of important Christian works?
If it be true, and it may be true to some degree, that the last few decades have not produced their share of sound Biblical literature — and this is Professor Cailliet’s opinion — then of course this is a matter for complaint in itself. But it is not a reason for complaining against reprints. May some of the definitive works of Christendom — such as Calvin’s INSTITUTES — never go out of print!
Dr. Clark is a professor of philosophy, Butler University, Indianapolis, Ind. Editor’s Notes — To the works mentioned by Dr. Clark may well be added the reprints of the Banner of Truth Trust of London (see Book Briefs, this issue); the Library of Christian Classics, and the reprints of the Presbyterian And Reformed Publ. co.