Edmund Burke: Appraisals and Applications
edited by daniel ritchie
transaction books, 291 pages, $29.95
An excellent collection of essays on a political philosopher of timeless value and enduring interest. Burke, the prototype and progenitor of modern conservatism, is considered from various standpoints: literary style, historical context, political theory, and contemporary relevance. General overview-introductory essays are provided by Robert Nisbet, Gerald W. Chapman, and Alexander Bickel. There are contemporary and nineteenth-century commentaries by Coleridge, Hazlitt, De Quincey, Macaulay, Bagehot, and Arnold (among others). Other contributors include Russell Kirk, Harvey Mansfield, Raymond Williams, Conor Cruise O’Brien, John MacCunn, Irving Babbitt, Peter J. Stanlis, and Francis Canavan. The quality and diversity of these essays make the volume a welcome addition to the literature on Edmund Burke.
Sidney Hook: A Checklist of Writings
compiled by barbara levine
southern illinois university press, 151 pages, $14.95
A comprehensive bibliography of books, articles, reviews, and published letters by Sidney Hook (1902-1989), the philosopher, teacher, and political gadfly. Though an atheistic humanist. Hook was revered by many religionists and conservatives for his vigorous defense of Western freedom and his devotion to the use of “intelligence” in dealing with social problems. This volume—containing well over a thousand entries on almost every imaginable issue of ethics, metaphysics, politics, freedom, and education—gives some idea of the range of Hook’s mind, to say nothing of his energy. It was compiled under the supervision of Barbara Levine of the Center for Dewey Studies at Southern Illinois University. Hook devotees will be extremely grateful for the end product, which includes a complete listing of all reviews of Hook’s books and replies to his articles, letters, etc. One complaint: chapter titles are not given under book listings, and in Hook’s books, often collections of essays, these would be an additional aid. Otherwise, the indexes and cross-referencing are helpful and well done.
Memoirs in Exile: Confessional Hope and Institutional Conflict
by john h. tietjen fortress, 359 pages, $19.95
At the time, it was considered an enormously important story in the worlds of religion. The story is not yet over. Observers noted that it was the first instance of a major religious body being taken over by a conservative faction. What happened in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), it is commonly said, inspired the current conservative insurgency in the Southern Baptist Convention. John Tietjen was in 1969 appointed president of Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis, the premier theological institution of the LCMS. Within months, Jacob Preus was elected president of the LCMS on a platform that promised to rid Concordia of liberal influences. Memoirs in Exile is Tietjen’s detailed account of the perhaps inevitable battle that followed. The “exile” in the title refers to the 1974 exodus of almost the entire Concordia faculty in order to form a new theological school later called Seminex. Tietjen’s account is very detailed and, perhaps not surprisingly, very partisan. He viewed the movement he led as a “confessing church” and a “revelatory-redemptive act of God.” The rhetoric on both sides was, to say the least, heavy duty. Religious warfare tends toward most particular nastiness, for it is believed that nothing less is at stake than the truth upon which eternal salvation turns. What in fact was at stake in the wars of Missouri was the use of historical-critical methodology in scriptural study. Twenty years later, biblical scholarship is considerably more skeptical about the methodology for the sake of which the LCMS was divided. The exiled Concordia faculty became the catalyst for the formation of the small Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, which, in turn, was the catalyst for the merger of Lutheran jurisdictions that brought into being the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The LCMS, having purged its “liberal” leadership, turned in upon itself and shows signs of becoming a less distinctly Lutheran denomination in the general world of evangelicalism. The story of Lutheranism in America is by no means over. Memoirs in Exile is an exceedingly valuable documentation of one brutally rough chapter in that story.