Let’s Push Things Forward

Before I start ranting, today’s chapter from Hall’s Theological Outlines is Chapter Nineteen (“The Offices of Christ”). We’re getting close to the end of Volume Two, and none of my probes has yet turned up a copy of Volume Three, second edition, so if you’ve been holding out on me, this would be a good time to come clean. If not, we can just go ahead with the first edition — not as satisfactory a solution, and some risk of duplicating effort since the second edition is much revised, but better than nothing.

Now, yesterday brought some celebration and interesting conversation. Tripp will be at work wrangling audio files of readings from early church history, and he and Bruce (Mr. Musings) may be able to record a few psalms, hymns, and sacred songs performed by One of the Girls, which the Disseminary can then distribute. My colleague at Northwestern University, Richard Kieckhefer, put together a book of very brief introductory readings to topics theological and historical, suitable for parish educational purposes — I’m negotiating for the rights to publish that online through the Disseminary, too. And in the “We told you so” department, the Guardian reports that educators can make use of podcasts!”

By the same token, I’ve pleaded with several granting agencies to help produce textbooks that would obivate Beth’s and Frank’s (in the comments to Beth’s post) complaints, for online distribution. The premise is simple: commission introductory textbook chapters from a targeted community of scholars; pay them more than they would ordinarily expect to get for an essay on a given topic, which in real-world money is still not much; publish the individual chapters online and in a bound-together print-on-demand volume. The chapters are available to anyone with an internet connection, thus making the textbook by [scholarly subgroup of your specification] instantly the most accessible, affordable textbook in history. There’ll be a limited economic motivation for a for-profit publisher to produce an introduction to the New Testament by scholars of color, but if we can eliminate the profit motive (and add the philanthropy motive: “The Lilly foundation announces An Introduction to the New Testament by leading women scholars”), we can push things forward (apologies for the dreadful flash-glutted site; Mike Skinner, shame on you).

You say everything sounds the same
Then you go buy them!
There’s no excuses, my friend
Let’s push things forward.

All of this took place while Heather was hosting a merry, populous farewell party for Si, who now actually has to leave Evanston (lest someone write a song about “SiBorg’s Last Night in Town”).

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