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HUNT & EATON,
THE following work is designed to be a Systematic and Exhaustive Bibliography of the best and most desirable books in Theology and General Religious Literature published in Great Britain, the United States, and the Dominion of Canada. Accuracy, fullness, wide scope, and practical convenience have been sought above all other considerations. Where it has been possible to use the books themselves, the names and initials of the authors and the full titles of their works have been given. Thus each book-title is a transcript of the title-page. Where bibliographical journals have been used, there has been some use of abbreviations; for these journals do not always transcribe, but frequently condense. An entry does not imply that a book is now in circulation. The object is to enable the reader to see what literature in English is available on a given topic, this literature presumably being in the libraries of the large cities. No attempt has been made to reduce names, initials, and honorary titles to uniformity, for the very reason that authors themselves are far from uniform. The author in one book may place his full Christian and family name on the title-page, accompanied with his honorary titles, while in another book he may use only initials of his Christian name; in another he may be suddenly seized with an attack of indifference or modesty, and omit all his honorary titles; and in still another work he may use a pseudonym or no name at all. These humors are quite frequent, even in theology.
In 1882 the author published his Bibliotheca Theologica. That work was never stereotyped; only a limited number of copies was printed; and it is now no longer in print. It became, however, the groundwork or suggestion of the present Literature of Theology. New departments have been treated, many subordinate rubrics have been introduced, every title has been gone over anew, and, in recognition of the vast increase in theological publications since 1882, many hundreds of new works have been supplied, and many undesirable works have been eliminated. The Literature of Theology is therefore a new work. It is believed that one of the most important of its qualities is the introduction of prices. This
difficult and troublesome addition has been made with much misgiving, because of the apparent deviation from the general scientific purpose of the work. But it has been deliberately concluded that, for practical purposes, the increasing number of readers and students of religious and theological literature, now multiplying beyond any former time, would be greatly served by a knowledge of the actual cost of a desired book. This price is that at which the book was published. In case more than one edition has been issued the price of the last is given. No attempt has been made to follow the rise and fall of the market in the case of a book out of print.
It gives me special pleasure to acknowledge the important service of Professor George W. Gilmore, of the Bangor Theological Seminary, in assisting in the preparation of the present work. This gentleman was invited at the first to give the benefit of his rich bibliographical experience and skill, and in all parts of the work he has labored assiduously to make the Literature of Theology a complete bibliography. He has given a fitting close to his labors by making the Index of Subjects.
Special acknowledgments are due, also, to the Rev. Charles R. Gillett, A.M., Librarian of Union Theological Seminary, New York; to Mr. Bull, Bursar and Librarian of the General Theological Seminary, New York; to the Rev. J. H. Dulles, Librarian of Princeton Theological Seminary; to Mr. Frederick Saunders, Librarian of the Astor Library; to the Rev. Samuel Macauley Jackson, D.D., LL.D., for freedom of access to his most valuable and complete bibliographical library, and for advice and assistance, making available his large bibliographical knowledge and experience; to the junior member of the firm of A. D. F. Randolph & Co.; to the Hon. A. R. Spofford, Librarian of Congress; and to the Rev. Albert Osborn, B.D., of Washington, for assistance in reading all the proofs and for the preparation of the Index of Authors.
As to bibliographical journals, the following are only a few of those sources which have been freely used: The Publishers' Circular, The Publishers' Weekly, Theologische Literaturzeitung, The Magazine of Christian Literature, and the British Museum Catalogue, so far as completed.
Particular attention is invited to the Indexes. Books often cover two or more subjects, and to repeat the title in each rubric upon which it touches would have been to increase very largely the bulk of the book. In order to make the literature available great pains have been taken to make the Index, of both Authors and of Subjects, very full. Consequently
a rubric, say the Commentaries on Matthew, does not exhaust the literature, but the entry "Matthew" in the Index should be looked up.
A table of the principal abbreviations is prefixed. It is believed that all other than those mentioned in the table are self-explaining.
That the average library of the Christian layman and of the minister of the Gospel is poor beyond words, is a lamentable fact. Many of the books are of such inferior authorship as to unfit them for even storage in any home of people either intelligent or hoping to be intelligent. Such books have drifted in because they are radiant with glaring and realistic pictures, or are bound in captivating sheep or calf, or are presented by wellmeaning friends, or have been bought in lots at auction under the hallucination of cheapness, or because of some other apology for the existence of the trash. If two thirds of the shelves of the typical domestic library were emptied of their burden, and choice books put in their stead, there would be reformation in intelligence and thought throughout the civilized world. A poor book is dear, and a good one cheap, at any cost. One's best book is that which treats best the subject on which one most needs light, and which one can get only by planning, by seeking, and often by sacrificing. One such book is worth more than all the diamonds of Golconda or the pearls of Tuticorin, and sweeter than all the perfumes of Araby the Blest. It is a friend for all seasons, and remains true to the eighties, and beyond, if they come. Better one shelf of such treasures than a shipload of literary driftings from the dead pyramids of publishers who sell slowly and of authors who fail quickly.
The author of the Literature of Theology dares not flatter himself that he can persuade many possessors of poor collections of books to reform them; but if he can lead some of those who are forming their libraries, who are looking into the future for the possession of treasures in books, to select well, to buy only the best, and to make a wise search for special information in general libraries, the disappointments and agonies of at least one Friend of Books, and Friend of all who find Friends in Books, will not have been in vain.
WASHINGTON, D. C., September 5, 1895.