Oxford University Press Disappoints

Back in March I reported on Oxford University Press’s plans to bring out a new translation of Aquinas’s De Potentia by Richard J. Regan, SJ. I also expressed my disappointment that OUP had decided that the translation would be an abridgement rather than the full text. Here are some of my comments:

The information at the OUP site puts the page count of Fr. Regan’s abridgement at 368, which, admittedly, is still quite generous. The 1952 Newman Press unabridged single volume edition of the Shapcote translation comes to 476 pages. Is that really too much for OUP? One might guess that OUP, although they are a nonprofit, is concerned about the bottom line. That would not be an irrelevant consideration. After all, OUP would like to stay in business and we would like them to stay in business too. Their service to the academic world is invaluable. But consider the fact that in December they published — to take a random example — F.C. Beiser’s The German Historicist Tradition, a 608 page tome. While I would personally be interested in reading Beiser’s book, I cannot imagine that it would wildly outsell an unabridged version of the De Potentia. So why shortchange the latter?

I concluded thus:

No doubt there are factors of which I am unaware. Are they insurmountable? Perhaps there is still time for OUP to reconsider.

OUP did not reconsider. The volume is now out, abridged as can be. So much for the power of Thomistica.net to change hearts and minds!

Our very own Michael Dougherty wrote in the comment box of my original post that Wipf and Stock have reprinted the old unabridged Shapcote translation. You can get it directly from the Wipf and Stock site (now for $13 less than Amazon!). And he also noted that the same edition is available in html format at Joseph Kenny OP’s site.

If you want the De Potentia in English, why get the OUP version when the complete text is readily available elsewhere?