But who is Thomas Allin and why should I care about his house?
Thomas Allin (1838–1909) was an Irish Anglican priest, a botanist, and a patristics scholar. But he is best known for his staunch defence of universal salvation, entitled Universalism Asserted (first published in 1885 and then going through nine editions by 1905). It is regarded by many Christian universalists as a classic.
In my opinion it is a very Anglican book. What Allin seeks to demonstrate is that reason, tradition, and Scripture —the famous three-legged stool — all converge in support of the claim that none will be forever lost. What is perhaps most distinctive about Allin's book is the detailed attention it pays to patristic literature. It was not the first study of universalism in the early church, but it is possibly the first detailed study of that topic.
In spite of being 130 years old, it remains of continuing value. That's why the guy interests me—a fellow Anglican universalist is a soul I share something with.
- an introduction to the life of Thomas Allin and the context in which he worked (including nineteenth-century debates on hell in the Church of England). Allin is a very elusive figure and I am unaware of any other attempts to start gathering together what we know about him.
- copious annotations throughout to explain references in the main text and clarify the sources Allin was using.
- a bibliography of the texts Allin used—at least, the ones that can be positively identified.
- lots of subtitles to break the argument down into its sections and help readers follow the train of thought (the original chapters were solid blocks of text and losing the forest for the trees was very easy)
- updated certain features (e.g., converted all Roman numerals into Arabic numerals)
So it is, I think, the most useful edition of Allin's work available—and certainly the nicest to read.
Well, the good news is that the book is now available (under the title Christ Triumphant).
It is 406 pages long and is published by Wipf & Stock (2015).
The retail price is $49, but it is available on the publisher website here at 20% discount at $39.20.
Amazon.com are selling it at full price here. They do not yet have the kindle version, but should do soon.
Amazon.co.uk seem to have the kindle edition, though not yet a print edition. (Weird—the exact opposite of Amazon.com) This is a mere £6.42 and can be found here. However, be warned that with the kindle version the annotations in the footnotes will be a bit of a pain to access. Still, you'll get the introduction (and Thomas Talbott's foreword).
My advice is that the print edition is the best—because of the easy to access annotations—but I appreciate that if it is the main text that you are after then the kindle is just the job.
For those who are interested, the image on the front cover is a section of a painting entitled "The Great Day of His Wrath," which was painted by John Martin (1789–1854) in 1851–53. It caused something of a sensation when it was displayed. It's a massive beast of a painting. I saw it in the Tate Gallery in London when I was seventeen and it blew me away. So I am very pleased with Mike Surber's excellent cover design.
Anyway—spread the word.