I read Francis Hall’s ten-volume “Dogmatic Theology” when I was in seminary and then decided to re-read it again over the course of 2010. Yes, I’m one of those preachers who actually likes to read theology. But what struck me as I was reading these volumes was just how helpful and edifying they were to me as a preacher. To preach sound sermons requires all of us to be well-read in theology, but theology can often be very dry. As I read Hall this past year, however, I found his work to be thoroughly enriching and exhorting…and remarkably, found that what I was reading often enriched my preaching directly. The Anglican Expositor exists to encourage, exhort, and equip preachers and to that end I’ve provided a number of resources to assist directly with sermon writing, but as I re-read Hall, I realised that theological resources like Hall’s Dogmatic Theology are as much as part of that mission as are books like Scott’s Harmony of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels or Fred Lindemann’s The Sermon and the Propers. And so, earlier this year, I broke out my scanner and got to work.
Hall taught theology at Seabury-Western and then at the General Theological Seminary. Between 1907 and 1922 he published his Dogmatic Theology, which is considered by many to be the Anglican Summa. Hall represents the high point of Anglo-Catholic theology and in many ways represents a form of Anglican Thomism, but even if you’re not an Anglo-Catholic or a Thomist there’s still a lot here for you. The work is extremely comprehensive, steeped in the Church Fathers, well thought through, and for that reason provides a feast for both mind and spirit. What strikes me the most with Hall is just how centred he is on the Incarnation, and this makes his work incredibly rich and relieves it of the dryness we so often associate with theology books. Readers will also find his footnotes and bibliographic references to be a goldmine as well.
Originally printed by Longmans, Green, and Company, these volumes were out of print for four or five decades until picked up again by the American Church Union. While it’s great that the ACU brought them back into print, the quality of their paperbacks leaves something to be desired. (I have several. They’re extremely stiff and required multiple regluings while reading them.) I’m not offering paperbacks as I have no desire to compete with the ACU. These are quality hardbacks with sewn and glued bindings that should withstand the test of time and cost only a few dollars more than the paperbacks currently available.
Additionally, keep checking back. I’ve got a stack of more theology books that are currently out-of-print that I plan to offer alongside Hall’s Dogmatic Theology, including The Catholic Faith by Griffith Thomas, The Catholic Religion by Vernon Staley, and Darwell Stone’s volumes on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Volume I: Introduction to Dogmatic Theology (Hardcover, 316 pages, $22.50)
Volume II: Authority, Ecclesiastical and Biblical (Hardcover, 316 pages, $22.50)
Volume III: The Being and Attributes of God (Hardcover, 326 pages, $22.50)
Volume IV: The Trinity (Hardcover, 334 pages, $22.50)
Volume V: Creation and Man (Hardcover, 369 pages, $23.50)
Volume VI: The Incarnation (Hardcover, 372 pages, $23.50)
Volume VII: The Passion and Exaltation of Christ (Hardcover, 342 pages, $22.50)
Volume VIII: The Church and the Sacramental System (Hardcover, 358 pages, $23.50)
Volume IX: The Sacraments (Hardcover, 348 pages, $22.50)
Volume X: Eschatology & Indexes (Hardcover, 332 pages, $22.50)