Wow, been a while since I updated here…!
Okay, first picking up spares: I still haven’t finished reading one of the Heliand translations (the prose version), although I’m pretty sure I’ll get back to it someday. (At this rate near Christmas.) I did outright give up reading the other Heliand translation when I got tired of the liberties taken by the author regarding the Saxon text. (The precise moment I gave up was when one of his poetic strophes read, across both parts, “AAAAIIIEEEEEE” or some yell like that. Okay man I could tell you were having a tough time keeping up with your poetic scheme over the long haul, but clearly you aren’t even trying anymore. )
I have finished reading the first two of the four volumes of Elhanan Winchester’s Lectures on the Prophecies That Remain to be Fulfilled. Those I read as pdf scans imported to my Kindle, which didn’t work so well on the first volume due to technical reasons I won’t go into here. I am pleased to say that the 25ish dollars I risked on ECCO’s print edition of Volume 3 was well worth the effort, and I will be promptly ordering volume 4 from them to finish the collection. Anyone who wants a handheld version of books originally printed in the 18th or 19th century (I think their scope stretches into the 19th…?) would be well advised to try an ECCO print-on-demand edition from Amazon. They simply print and bind a pdf scan of the original pages, although they may be working from their own scans not ones necessarily available already online.
As to the material itself, I can only cautiously recommend it. Winchester should be well-known to Christian universalists as an influential Baptist universalist author, evangelist and preacher from the period of the Revolutionary War onward, and I do strongly recommend his collected series of pseudo-epistles recounting conversations he has had defending his beliefs in universal salvation of sinners from sin, The Universal Restoration. These lectures, presented in London during his years in England working as an evangelist near the end of his life in 1789, do feature some points of interest for the Christian universalist (and opponents) here and there, including a portion originally included with his TUR but omitted in later prints to make room for some other things. (I don’t know if this is in vol 3 or 4 yet.) His analyses of OT and NT prophecies (mostly OT) still to be fulfilled are somewhat less competent in my estimation (and demonstrably wrong in regard to what he thought would be fulfillment, on some points). But I’ve learned a wad of new things from his efforts, even when I don’t always agree with him. The fact that I’m going ahead to spend real live money on collecting the remaining two volumes ought to show my appreciation for his work. I’m just saying–unless you’re a hermit like me with a good job and not much else you care to spend money on, there are plenty of other books (including some by Winchester himself) worth your time and (for print versions) money on.
I’m currently in the middle of reading several other books, one of which is The Barbarian Conversions, an in-depth history of Christian evangelism by the Western Church (mostly) from the first Christian centuries until the late Renaissance or thereabouts. (I’m halfway done and the author is taking a chapter to sum up where things stand around AD 800.) It’s dry enough reading that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but hardcore history geeks, but for those of us who know who we are (i.e. those of us who spend stupid amounts of money on monographs about particular elements of medieval history, i.e. me ) I’d be surprised if there’s any better book available on the topic. Thanks muchly to fellow apologist David Marshall for mentioning it in one of his recent articles!
In case anyone is wondering, I still have several large (in two cases VERY VERY VERY large) research and apologetic projects on the way, although in recent weeks I’ve added two more such projects to my list of things to do; the one I’m working on today is a multi-part article addressing fellow Christian apologist James Patrick Holding’s arguments against Christian universalism at his Tektonics site. (JPH is also an adminstrator and maybe co-owner, I forget, of Theologyweb.com. We don’t know each other directly but we share some mutual friends. ) I just finished page 24 and have a lonnnng way to go. But I’ve already inadvertently run across a very strong exegetical argument for Christian universalism that I myself had never heard about until today! (JPH doesn’t quite mention the argument, but only one part of it–I found the rest of it while doing contextual research. I’ll be mentioning it in my forthcoming series here on the forum, of course. )