Thursday, July 7, 2011

Talbott Endorses GOD'S FINAL VICTORY

Speaking of Thomas Talbott in conjunction with John's and my new book, Talbott has just provided the following endorsement (actually a mini-book-review) of God's Final Victory:

In their comparative case for Christian universalism entitled God’s Final Victory, John Kronen and Eric Reitan display an exhaustive knowledge of the relevant philosophical and theological literature; and even though they make no claim of completeness for their study, they may in fact have produced the most complete discussion to date of the relevant philosophical and theological issues. No philosopher or theologian who in the future addresses the issue of universalism will be able to ignore the arguments of this book, and even many parishioners in the pew, however impatient they may be with finely drawn philosophical distinctions, will benefit greatly from specific chapters, such as Chapter 1: Introduction, Chapter 4: Universalism and the “Plain Sense” of Scripture, and Chapter 9: Final Concerns. The final chapter in particular will be of interest to the Christian community as a whole, because it includes an easy to digest summary of the overall argument and also addresses the issue of evangelism as well as other practical Christian concerns.

The book’s most important contribution to the contemporary discussion lies in a sustained and powerful critique of the so-called Argument from Freedom, the argument that, for all we know, God cannot save all sinners without violating their freedom in inappropriate ways. Kronen and Reitan demonstrate first how, given the traditional Christian understanding of his nature, God is in a position to confer efficacious grace on anyone, or on any combination of persons, without violating the rational autonomy of any individual (see Chapter 7). But they also have an additional surprise, albeit one that Reitan has articulated in previous papers, for those who insist that salvation requires an undetermined libertarian free choice that could have gone the other way. For as they also argue in Chapter 8 (successfully, in my opinion), the assumption that sinners retain their libertarian freedom indefinitely together with the Christian doctrine of the preservation of the saints yields the following result: We can be just as confident that God will eventually win over all sinners (and do so without causally determining their choices) as we can be that that a fair coin will land heads up at least once in a trillion tosses. One can hardly expect everyone to find such arguments as persuasive as I do; but even those who remain unpersuaded will at least find in them a formidable challenge to be met.
All I can say is...Woot! Also, if you check out the link to the book's Amazon page, you will notice that the hardcover price has been SLASHED to a mere $85.71!!!! That's $34.29 off the list price! WHAT A DEAL!!!! Pre-order your copy now, before this deal disappears!

(Can't tell you the exact release date yet, but it'll be sometime in the next few months, and there are no glitches in the production schedule that I know of--just turned in corrected page proofs yesterday afternoon and the index is coming along on schedule).


  1. Great endorsement! Congratulations!

  2. This is great! However, get the supply and demand thing down and drop the cost so the peeps can read it.

  3. I am confused by the codes to make comments which is a complaint on my blog as well.

  4. "However, get the supply and demand thing down and drop the cost so the peeps can read it."

    If it were up to me, an affordable version would be available immediately. Continuum (the publisher) is operating from an academic publishing model based on the notion that the books being sold are highly specialized and technical academic works with a very limited market.

    This model assumes (I think) that no matter what the price, ordinary folks won't buy the book--with the primary market being academic libraries. Academic specialists might buy it, but there won't be many such sales and these sales will happen whether the affordable book comes out right away or a year after the expensive hardcover (since academic research interests are relatively stable, unlike the more fickle whims of the broader market). However, if the affordable paperback comes out at the same time as (or less than a year after) the expensive hardcover, libraries may wait for it. And so attempting to get as much return from library sales as possible, given that this is where most sales are expected to come from, dictates putting out an expensive hardcover and waiting a year for the affordable paperback.

    All of this seems pretty sound marketing IF it is true that there is no market for the book outside academia--and before the Rob Bell controversy, I was largely adopting this assumption myself. But the enormous uptick in interest in universalism in the pews, sparked by the furor over Rob Bell's LOVE WINS, challenges that assumption.

    In short, if it were up to me I'd "drop the cost so the peeps can read it." But it's not up to me. So my best advice at this point is to contact your nearest academic library (or even public library) and encourage them to buy a copy, then borrow it from them. Or keep an eye out for the paperback version to come out in a year or so.

  5. To show your publishers:

    I just clicked over to Amazon to preorder GFV, on the strength of your first book (which, yes, I bought) and your blogging. And then did a doubletake when I saw the price.

    I'll probably remember to preorder the paperback when it comes out in a year or whatever. But on the other hand I might just borrow it from a library and decide I don't need to buy it. It's too bad, because I'd sure like to pay a reasonable sum of money to read it now.

    (PS - For what it's worth, I'm an atheist Jew who just finds both religion and philosophy interesting and, as such, like reading Dr. Reitan's work. And recommending it to others.)

    ...maybe if you show them this, and if other people write similar ones, they'll decide to let the proles read your book, too.