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Publisher of the Month: SCM Press

Our Publisher of the Month feature is a quick way to learn more about a religious publisher and their publications.  This month we are focussing on SCM Press and alongside it we're offering an extra 2.5% discount on SCM Press product for orders placed with the code SCM05OFF up to 31st May.

 

David S.

 

David Shervington is the Senior Editor - here he talks about SCM Press and his role


Q.  Can you tell us a little about the history of SCM Press (and when did it change from being Student Christian Movement to SCM)?


A.  SCM Press is the UK's leading publisher of cutting-edge theology and essential resources for the teaching and learning of theology and biblical studies. It was established over a century ago as the publishing wing of the Student Christian Movement, although later it became a separate entity. Since 1997 we've been a part of Hymns Ancient & Modern. Nowadays we're one of the best known academic theology publishers in the country.


Q.  How long have you worked for SCM Press and what is your favourite aspect of the role as Editor?


A.  I've worked with SCM Press for nearly two and a half years. Before that I was the Religion and Theology editor for an independent academic press and have been in publishing for nearly 10 years. I love the variety which comes from being editor for an imprint like SCM Press. Because our list is wonderfully varied in terms of churchmanship, approach, level and so on, there's never any risk of slipping into mindless routine!

I'll be starting LLM (reader) training in September. It's a three year part-time course with Guildford Diocese under the Common Awards scheme - on the same track as the Ordained Local Ministers - so not only will it be an opportunity for some sustained theological study, but it'll also give me a chance to get to know first hand the needs and preoccupations of our core market.


Q.  Is there a particular book that you love, and wish you had been the one who published it?


A.  I try and come back frequently to CS Lewis's Mere Christianity. The gift of that book is its ability to speak in a crystal clear fashion into the preoccupations of society and show how the Christian faith meets those preoccupations. And it is amazing how well it has aged. There's a lesson there in how to communicate theology to a lay audience in a fresh and accessible way. 
I've almost finished reading Post-Christendom which we've just published.  It gives a really penetrating perspective on what the church looks like now. And next on my list is something completely different - Selfie by Will Storr, in which he argues that ours is a particularly narcissistic age. I try and read quite widely - partly for my own pleasure and partly because I think it's important to be in tune with what wider culture is talking about, both in order to preach (which I do reasonably regularly) and to make sure that what we're publishing speaks into those conversations.


Q.  What are the most important titles on the backlist?  Which are the must-have books that booksellers should stock?


A.  The most important title for us in recent years was Dementia: Living in the Memories of God by John Swinton. The book won the last Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing, and even though it's a few years old now, it's still one of the bestselling titles on the list. In terms of textbooks there are probably very few reading lists in TEIs or university theology departments which don't include at least one of our SCM Studyguides somewhere on them - with Christian Doctrine, Ethics and Theological Reflection amongst the most popular. Finally, the absolute standout bestseller on the SCM Press list is The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We've published several editions over the years, the most recent in 2015.

 

Dementia SCMSGChrist Doct Cost Of Discipleship



 

Q.  Which are the dark horses out of the titles published in the past year or so - the ones that have exceeded expectations?


A.  There have been a few! Blue Planet, Blue God, which considers how the bible engages with the ocean and brings a biblical scholar into dialogue with an oceanographer, proved to be a very timely publication - not least because of the BBC Blue Planet II series. It continues to sell very well. Another would be A Preacher's Tale by Jon Russell. Russell explores what narrative preaching looks like, and, resisting the urge to offer a 'how-to' of preaching, he offers examples of sermons which invite listeners to enter the text imaginatively. Finally, Parish: An Anglican Theology of Place by Andrew Rumsey seems to have really caught people's attention. Rumsey's theological writing is an intriguing mix of poignant lyrical reflection and rigorous attention to scholarship.


Q.  What's coming up in the next few months that booksellers should particularly look out for?


A.  We've got a pretty exciting list coming out, but I'll try and stick to the highlights!


•   Eve Poole's Buying God: Theology and Consumerism argues that the Church has vital and useful things to say about the economy, rooted in theology; and a vital role to play in redeeming the marketplace both at home and abroad. Eve is an expert at communicating challenging ideas with a real lightness of touch, so this book will no doubt make its mark.

•   The Abiding Presence by Mark Scarlata is a theological commentary on Exodus, which seeks to find that fine line between rigorous scholarship and popular approaches, with preachers or those training for ordained or lay ministry especially in mind. Judging from the endorsements we've received, its successful in its aim - Walter Brueggemann has described it as " of immense value for preachers, teachers, and serious church readers", and John Goldingay calls it an "impressive achievement".

•   Finally, there's our new centenary critical edition of The Hardest Part, by G.A. Studdert Kennedy (otherwise known as 'Woodbine Willy') - which we're publishing as a beautifully produced jacketed hardback. Studdert Kennedy's vivid first-hand descriptions of the horror everyday life in the trenches are the starting point for a poignant and at times harrowing reflection on what faith looks like in the midst of carnage. Published to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of both the end of WW1 and the book's original publication, this edition has been edited by Thomas O'Loughlin and Stuart Bell and includes critical notes, articles, images, and some of Studdert Kennedy's most moving poetry.

The Hardest Part Post -Christendom A Preacher 's Tale

 

Here is a complete stocklist of titles from SCM

Click here for a core stocklist of SCM titles