The Quest for Christian Unity, Peace, and Purity in Thomas Campbell's Declaration and Address: Text and Studies
Edited by Dr. Hans Rollmann (with Thomas H. Olbricht)
|Dr. Hans Rollmann
The Declaration and Address of 1809 is a unity proposal for Christianity based on restitutionist thinking — that is, the notion that if you go back to biblical or early Christian beginning you can recover an ideal age.
Dr. Hans Rollmann, Religious Studies, is interested in North American church history of the 18th and early 19th centuries, especially restitutionist thought. Because of this research interest, he and Dr. Thomas Olbricht, Maine, organized an international on-line seminar in 1997-98. This required Web-based materials, a list for discussion, Web-based logs and papers as well as an electronic mailbox for additional input.
"Almost all of the administration was carried out by me from MUN," said Dr. Rollmann. "Scholars were willing to co-operate and the seminar participants came from all over North America, from Alaska to Texas and from California to Newfoundland."
Composed in 1809 in order to organize and direct a loosely assembled network of Scots-Irish Presbyterians on the western Pennsylvania frontier, Thomas Campbell's Declaration never quite achieved the immediate objectives that compelled its composition. "Yet the document's lofty vision of a unified Christian Church, restored to the peace and purity that the New Testament had preached and promised, has for generations fuelled the imagination and fired the commitment of millions of Christians worldwide — with, often, quite contradictory results," said Dr. Rollmann.
Emerging from the on-line seminar, this book includes both the first critical edition of the text of the Declaration, and 18 studies of the document's historical provenance, its theological and ecclesiastical significance, and its continuing influence.
Dr. Rollmann's own contribution is an article on the Eschatology of the Declaration which shows how much the crisis and end-time expectations of the European upheavals shaped the thought and motivation of the author in America. He also co-wrote the introduction and gave advice on the critical edition and bibliography in the book.
Dr. Rollmann said one surprise arising from the Web-based seminar was that an authentic community of scholars was established on the Internet. "The human dimension was amplified by the tragic death of two seminar participants, one by stroke, the other by heart attack. We had never experienced death on the Internet, but the experience heightened our sense of community. The volume was dedicated to the two members who died, and the widows were given copies of the book at our book launch in Nashville, Tennessee, in November of last year."
Dr. Rollman said the audience for this book includes students, scholars and people interested in church history, theology and ecumenism. It is published in soft and hardcover by the American Theological Library Association Monograph Series, No. 46 (Lanham, Maryland & London: Scarecrow Press, 2000).
[Image of Book Cover]