Welcome once again to Eerdmans All Over, a Friday roundup of all the Eerdmans-related news, reviews, interviews, and other interesting online content we can gather in a given week.

New Releases

The Wisdom of the Liminal: Evolution and Other Animals in Human Becoming
Celia Deane-Drummond

Anna’s Heaven
Stian Hole


News from Eerdmans . . .

  • It’s been a quiet week here at Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

. . . and elsewhere.

Have we missed any news, reviews, or other online miscellany dealing with Eerdmans or EBYR books or authors from the last week? Please let us know in the comments. You also can post items on our Facebook timeline, mention us on Twitter (@eerdmansbooks or @ebyrbooks), or write to us directly: webmaster@eerdmans.com.


Systematic Theology

We at Eerdmans were saddened this week to learn of the death of Wolfhart Pannenberg, with whom we enjoyed both a long friendship and a fruitful publishing partnership.

As a small tribute to the great theologian, we’re sharing here today several brief excerpts from Anthony Thiselton’s entry on Pannenberg in his forthcoming volume The Thiselton Companion to Theology.

Thiselton begins his seventeen-page entry on Pannenberg with a summary of his impact on twentieth-century theology:

Wolfhart Pannenberg (19282014) stands among the most impressive, learned, and outstanding two or three contemporary Protestant theologians in the world. Single-handedly he moved theology from the existentialism of Bultmann and his school to explore new avenues, which placed a firmer emphasis on ontology, Christology, and the resurrection of Christ. He investigated a dialogue with atheism, addressed fundamental questions in theology, and suggested new methods of exploring philosophy, the sciences, and hermeneutics. He appealed to some of Hegel’s ideas, rather than those of Heidegger. The culmination of his work is a three-volume Systematic Theology, which shows immense learning in biblical, historical, and contemporary theology, together with philosophy, and betrays a huge depth, meticulous detail, and innovative creativity.

He continues with a brief account of Pannenberg’s early years . . .

Pannenberg was born in Stettin, Germany, and was baptized as an infant in the Lutheran church. He had little involvement with the church in early years, but at around sixteen underwent an intense Christian experience, which he later called his “light experience.” He began reading philosophical and theological thinkers, and after a few years experienced an “intellectual” conversion, involving among other things belief in the resurrection of Christ. This became his call to the work of a theologian.

. . . and devotes several paragraphs to Pannenberg’s education and formative influences before launching into a detailed discussion of his major works, including Basic Questions in Theology, Revelation as History, Jesus – God and Man, Theology and the Philosophy of Science, and his “great crowning work”: Systematic Theology.

The three volumes [of Systematic Theology] leave us with the impression of huge learning, a practical concern, originality, and a survey of theology and Christian tradition that is doxological. Technical and learned it often is, but it is also devotionally inspiring. There is much about Christ’s resurrection, the resurrection of the dead, and the creative work of the Holy Spirit and Holy Trinity. That ever-fresh life-giving movement might have been said to characterize even the final state of the redeemed, for whom “rest” is also coupled with yet “new things.”

Wolfhart Pannenberg, 1928–2014.  May he rest in peace.

Those of us who work in publishing quickly learn the hard truth: books come and books go. Even our favorites may enjoy a life cycle of only a few years before they hit the remainder bins and receive the dreaded “op when os” (out of print when out of stock) prognosis.

But some books? Some books last.

Call them what you will: timeless texts, modern classics, or (as Eerdmans used to do in a long-running series of vintage magazine ads) enduring standards. These are books that have remained fresh, relevant, and readable throughout the decades — and we think they deserve a little love here on EerdWord.

Our new occasional feature Enduring Standards will look back on and celebrate Eerdmans books that have been continuously in print for thirty years or more. As always, we welcome your feedback: if you’d like to recommend a book for a future Enduring Standards post, leave us a comment or send us a note.

For our inaugural post in this series, we’re spotlighting The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross by Leon Morris. Ridley College, Melbourne, has been spending this year celebrating the centenary of Morris’s birth, so we feel it’s fitting that we kick off our new feature with Morris’s most famous book.

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

Short Description

This modern classic of biblical scholarship explains what the apostles meant when they used such words as “redeem,” “covenant,” “propitiate,” “reconcile,” and “justify.” Leon Morris carefully explores these themes against the backgrounds of both Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity — a rewarding task that results in a more complete understanding of these key Christian terms.

About the Author

Leon Morris (1914–2006) was, in the words of Michael Bird, “arguably Australia’s greatest biblical scholar.” He received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England and was later Principal of Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia, for 15 years, from 1964 until his retirement in 1979.

Morris authored or co-authored over fifty books (many with Eerdmans), helped produce the NIV and ESV translations of the Bible, was the editor of the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series, and contributed important volumes on Matthew and Romans to the popular Pillar New Testament Commentary.

Publishing History

Released in 1955, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross was essentially a reworking of Morris’s doctoral dissertation. Tyndale Press first published the volume the UK, and Eerdmans then bought the US rights. Morris revised the book in 1960, and again in 1965. It is the 1965 third edition that remains available today.

Fun Fact

The copyright page to the third edition still includes the now-quaint line, “Photolithoprinted by Eerdmans Printing Company.”

A Few Reviews

“A fresh, competent linguistic and exegetical study.”
— George Eldon Ladd

“We can scarcely recommend too highly this able vindication of the gospel for its scholarly work and its evangelical conclusions.”
— Wm. Childs Robinson

“A book of the first importance.”
— J. I. Packer

Lasting Legacy

“Dr Morris wrote more than fifty books, pitched at an array of levels. Three were on the cross, one of which, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, should to this day be on any preacher’s list of ‘must’ books.”
— D. A. Carson, “Brief Appreciation of the Life and Service of Leon Morris

Click to order Leon Morris’s The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross.

The following excerpts are drawn from Brennan Manning’s new book Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer, which he completed shortly before his death in April 2013. 

* * *

Author’s Note

Dear Abba

Dear Abba

This collection of devotions is structurally based on the classic morning and evening approach used in The Book of Common Prayer. I have gathered three pieces for each entry, adhering to the promise of Matthew 18:20 — “where two or three gather in My name, there I am with them.”

These devotions are intended for personal use. You can use them in a group setting if you choose, but that’s not how I envisioned them. My prayer is these words will push you closer to that place of quiet rest, near to the heart of Abba, just the two of you.

Each entry concludes with a prayer. I’ve addressed them all to Abba, but you may have another name for God. Just remember: pray as you can, not as you can’t. And if you call Jesus Goodness, he will be good to you; if you call him Love, he will be loving to you; but if you call him Compassion, he will know that you know.

Under the Mercy,
Brennan Manning

Third Day — Morning

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
— Ephesians 2:8-10

If a random sample of one thousand American Christians were taken today, the majority would define faith as belief in the existence of God. In earlier times it did not take faith to believe that God existed — almost everybody took that for granted. Rather, faith had to do with one’s relationship to God — whether one trusted in God. The difference between faith as “belief in something that may or may not exist” and faith as “trusting in God” is enormous. The first is a matter of the head, the second a matter of the heart. The first can leave us unchanged, the second intrinsically brings change.
– The Ragamuffin Gospel

Dear Abba,
Trust. That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Putting all my eggs in Your basket, the one that says I am accepted and loved beyond measure even if I’m inadequate, insecure, mistaken, or potbellied. Even if death, panic, depression, and disillusionment are as close to me as my own breath, trusting You means that I am not those things, that I am something more than those things. Faith means believing that I am Yours and You are mine, that I am who You say I am: Your beloved, fearfully and wonderfully accepted.

Praise for Dear Abba

“Brennan Manning’s Dear Abba will lead you on an intimate prayer journey, bring you to a greater awareness of God’s abiding presence, and restore your weary heart.”
— Michael W. Smith, singer/songwriter

“If ever there were an embracing, joyful, health-giving collection of daily devotions and prayers, this one most surely is it. Offering beautiful exercises for the soul and consoling counsel for the mind, Dear Abba is a treasure to hold close to one’s life day after day after lengthening day.”
— Phyllis Tickle, author of the Divine Hours prayer manuals

“From heaven Brennan speaks again with raw honesty, unassuming humility, and passionate thirst. His prayers lift my mind and soul into the wonder of grace.”
— Larry Crabb, author of Fully Alive and The Papa Prayer

Click to order Brennan Manning’s Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer

Jen Bryant

Jen Bryant

Jen Bryant has authored a number of acclaimed picture books for children, including the A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams and, new this month, The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (both illustrated by Melissa Sweet). 

* * *

Question: In addition to being the authors of famous literary works, what do William Carlos Williams, Peter Mark Roget, Anton Chekov, John Keats, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have in common? Give up?

Answer: They were all physicians.

In the course of researching and writing A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams (EBYR, 2008, illustrated by Melissa Sweet) and The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (EBYR, 2014, also illustrated by Sweet) I began to think more deeply about the connection between these professions. As someone who struggles, even as a full-time writer, to carve out time for creative work,  I found it fascinating that both men managed to be prolific writers despite having a family and very demanding full-time job. I also wondered: if they lived today, would they be able to do the same?

In our current system of education, the goal of mastering the healing arts AND the literary arts would appear unsustainable. We begin asking kids, at an astonishingly early age: “What do you want to BE when you grow up?” And in this era of strained budgets and intense competition for scholarships, by the time they’re in high school, by gosh, they’d better KNOW which road they’re taking! Once committed, those individuals planning to enter the medical field have almost no wiggle-room in their personal or academic schedule. Even creative writers, who once had  license to roam the vast savannas of genre and form, are now often nudged (by professors, programs and agents) toward specialization, so that they might “become” a “children’s poet” or “Y/A fiction author.”

The Right Word

The Right Word

Luckily for us, Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869) and, more recently, William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), lived at a time when mastering medicine AND literature seemed more plausible. And not only plausible, but desirable: their mastery of one undeniably increased and enhanced their capability in the other. This makes sense if you stop to think about it: before they had access to sophisticated X-rays and blood tests, DNA analysis, MRIs and CAT scans, physicians relied almost exclusively on their powers of observation in order to heal the sick and the injured. Their ability to correctly diagnose and treat an illness rested largely on their skill in picking out small discrepancies in otherwise normal human function.

This way of “seeing” and perceiving what others usually missed (Williams’s poems grew out of simple, ordinary things such as plums, sparrows, and wheelbarrows), of recognizing connections between seemingly unrelated things (Roget published one of the first public health pamphlets, putting forth a then-new idea of better hygiene as a way to reduce disease), and to discern patterns (Roget’s observation of carriage wheels appearing to bend when seen through Venetian blinds became a basic principal of motion pictures) was as critical to the poet (Williams) and to the naturalist/linguist (Roget) as it was to the physician (both).

And so was communication, the success of which rested largely on their verbal arsenals. “Where does it hurt?” My tummy. “Is it here — or here?” There. “Is it sharp pains, like someone is poking you, or is it dull, like there’s a rock inside?” . . . and so on, as Williams might converse with a child patient. In the case of Roget,  whose obsession with word lists began at age eight, formal medical training, as well as decades of treating the poor in his free clinic, amplified and expanded his already enormous (and multilingual) storehouse of words and phrases. His Thesaurus entry for Physical Pain [378], for example, includes everything from the general ache, affliction, soreness, malaise and gripe to the (painfully!) specific lumbago, sciatica, convulsion, colic, gout, and vivisection.

I can hardly imagine what my own writing life would be like without the clean, precise lines of Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow” or the expansive treasure house of Roget’s Thesaurus. But now I understand that in no small way, these masterworks were informed by their authors’ proximity to pestilence.

How about you? What are your thoughts on how modern life has affected our powers of observation? Have you read anything lately by an author who’s also a physician? What other non-literary professions lend themselves most readily to the writing life?

Click to visit Jen Bryant’s website or blog, or to order The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus