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23 June 2006
  My trip to the bookstore

Today I received my copy of the newly minted Concordia Commentary: Ruth. After seeing what they did with Philemon, I was afraid I might need a winch to carry the book upstairs to the library. But no. In comparison to many other of the volumes in the series, the book is modest at less than 500 pages. As I put the distinctive blue jacketed volume on my "to read" shelf, I was reminded that it had been awhile since I made a trek into the CPH bookstore. Suddenly my "to read" shelf is quite full.

Frankly, all my shelves are quite full and I don't know where all this is going to lead. While I was browsing I picked up Volume 44 of Luther's Works: The Christian in Society I. I don't have all the volumes in the American Edition yet, but those I do have already occupy space spanning over 2 shelves. While at the bookstore I learned that CPH is working to expand the American Edition by as many as 25 new volumes. I don't know where these new volumes are going to go--especially if CPH keeps up the pracice of publishing door-stop size Concordia Commentaries, for the shelf on which they currently reside will be at capacity next year.

And speaking of door-stop sized books have you seen some of the current theological titles? The reprint of Johann Reu's The Augsburg Confession is 538 pages long and 2 1/4 inches thick! This is topped, however, by Schmauk & Bente's tome The Confessional Principle and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church which weighs in at 962 pages, 3 inches thick and at over 4 lbs., which means it weighs more then my cat!

But back to my personal lament about expanding series and shrinking shelf space. Pastor McCain announced a short while back that the first volume of John Gerhard's Loci was now available. Having thoroughly enjoyed Matthew Harrison's translation of Gerhard's Meditations on Divine Mercy, I had to pick up this new book. The series is entitled Theological Commonplaces, and the first volume to appear is On the Nature of Theology and Scripture. (I love slitting open the plastic on a new volume and breathing-in the smell of a new book. It is intoxication in its own way. I used to like the mimeographed papers in school too -- breathing in the fumes of the chemical soup that was used to make them, it is a wonder anybody did well on tests.... but I diregess.) I have not read far into this new Gerhard yet I am already seeing the difference between the theological mind of the 16th/17th century and the relative wasteland that passes for theological argumentation and thought in the 21st century. The connections that classic Lutheranism was willing to make is refreshing, and frankly, I find myself thanking God that such a work as this is available to me and the Church in English.

But now the problem. I understand that this series in its Latin originals, can barely stand complete on the length of an 8' table. Where am I going to find space for the subsequent volumes of Gerhard given CPHs tendency to go from big to bigger to doorstop?

I guess the trip to the bookstore today will be best followed by a trip to Lowes tomorrow for another bookcase - maybe the kind with the reinforced shelves. Thanks alot CPH.

For what it's worth, John Wilch was my treatise advisor in Seminary. A lovely man with a confessional spirit and a heart for missions.
I am certain that buying new bookshelves is a work of supererogation. On the other hand, custom building new bookshelves is...well...supraerogation (I guess?!).
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