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Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Ole Time Baptist, Jul 1, 2006.
What do you recommend as the best one volume Baptist History?
That really depends upon what you want the historian to say. Unfortunately, many Baptist historians paint the baptist history with what ever theology they support. And several that paint a fair history are very hard to read.
Are you more general baptist (often called armenian now) or a more particular baptist or a reformed baptist (more often called calvinistic)?
Short History of the Baptists by HC Vetter 1907 reprint 1949
Compendium of Baptist History J.A. Shackelford 1892 reprint current
Two volume Armitage History of the Baptists 1896 reprint 1980
Two volume Sargant Robert J Landmarks in Church History
If I were limited to one one-volume Baptist History, I might go with Baptist History from the Foundation of the Christian Church to the close of the Eighteenth Century by J. M. Cramp. Course, lots of history has happened since the close of the eighteenth century.
But the books cited thus far are quite old and cannot therefore cover more recent developments. Some also participate in the successionist theory and are therefore of limited value.
The classic is Robert G. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, which has undergone numerous updatings.
Its worthy successor is Bill J. Leonard, Baptist Ways: A History
For something more challenging, focused more on intellectual history than institutional developments, look at William H. Brackney, A Genetic History Of Baptist Thought: With Special Reference To Baptists In Britain And North America
Anything you can find that is written by Bill Leonard, William Brackney, or Walter Shurden is well worth having and studying.
What about Leon McBeth's work?
Yes, McBeth is another mature, seasoned, and balanced historian of Baptist life. Thanks for mentioning him. It's hard to stop, though, isn't it, once we get started compiling bibliographies?!
One Volume Baptist History
Thanks to all for the suggestions.
I shall keep them in mind.
I have Orchard, and I also have Christian's. I've not gotten around to reading Christian.
I also have Vedder, which I recall enjoying.
McBeth's Sourcebook for Baptist Heritage is also a valuable reference material.
All one-volume histories have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, McBeth was of the Southern Baptist tradition, and his book (at least for contemporary times) is heavily weighted toward the SBC and the ABC-USA. Not surprising, given his background and the numerical preponderance of those two groups, but not especially helpful with Primitives and Missionary Baptists, for example.
He also tries to deal with Baptists outside the English tradition, which necessitates that the treatment be cursory.
A very handy reference work, despite its shortcomings.
Many of the historians already named have wonderful nuggets of information, which is especially useful when they are able to quote from contemporaneous sources. For example, Armitage has a fascinating chapter on the Baptists' attempt in the 19th century to secure a revision of the Authorized Version.
The Baptist History Collection CD
Jason, if you're looking at this from the prospect of buying a new book on Baptist history, you might want to check out "The Baptist History Collection CD" from http://www.standardbearer.org/ (though it is from them, you can actually buy it cheaper from Book Heaven http://www.lvbaptist.org/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BHCP&Product_Code=2348&Category_Code=BHIST)
This CD has a collection of materials that could probably cost thousands of dollars, and many of them would be hard to find. The General histories are: Armitage, A History of the Baptists; Benedict, A General History of the Baptists; Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia; Christian, A History of the Baptists; Cook, The Story of the Baptists; Cramp, Baptist History; Hassell, A History of the Church of God; Jones, Baptists: Their Origin, Continuity & Principles; Orchard, A Concise History of the Baptists; Stokes, History of the Baptists & Their Principles; Vedder, A Short History of the Baptists; and Williams, Lectures on Baptist History. And there is much more than that.
There is another CD available called "Complete Library of Baptist History" http://www.lvbaptist.org/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BHCP&Product_Code=2362&Category_Code=BHIST. It is cheaper, but appears to be not so complete as the other.
From a personal perspective, I found McBeth's The Baptist Heritage to be quite informative, thorough and well documented. Coming from a church of another denomination, I found it to be exactly what I needed in terms of understanding both the origin and theological backgrounds and influences of Baptists.
Got my Torbet History in today.
It will be a while before I get to it. I went overboard buying in the outlets in Pigeon Forge while on vacation in May. You wouldn't believe how close you can get to going broke while saving money:tongue3:
Thanks for all the replies.