The Slavery of Death Now On Sale

My new book The Slavery of Death is now available for purchase from the Wipf & Stock website.

(For those who order though sites like Amazon I'll let you know when it is stock in those locations.)

The book description:
According to Hebrews, the Son of God appeared to "break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." What does it mean to be enslaved, all our lives, to the fear of death? And why is this fear described as "the power of the devil"? And most importantly, how are we—as individuals and as faith communities—to be set free from this slavery to death? In another creative interdisciplinary fusion, Richard Beck blends Eastern Orthodox perspectives, biblical text, existential psychology, and contemporary theology to describe our slavery to the fear of death, a slavery rooted in the basic anxieties of self-preservation and the neurotic anxieties at the root of our self-esteem. Driven by anxiety—enslaved to the fear of death—we are revealed to be morally and spiritually vulnerable as "the sting of death is sin." Beck argues that in the face of this predicament, resurrection is experienced as liberation from the slavery of death in the martyrological, eccentric, cruciform, and communal capacity to overcome fear in living fully and sacrificially for others. 
And some kind endorsements:
"Richard Beck's new book seamlessly integrates deep theological reflection with sound psychological insight while never compromising either discipline. Liberating ideas about fear, sin, and death from the mire of abstraction, The Slavery of Death invites believers to discover and embrace true freedom together at the far side of the cross, a freedom reflected in and essential to the very nature of God. This book is a gift to the church."
—Jamie Arpin-Ricci, author, The Cost of Community

"With Eastern Orthodox tradition and the work of modern theologians like McGill, Stringfellow, and Kelsey in one hand, and social science texts in the other, Richard Beck analyzes our culture of death in this compelling book. What can liberate us from this demonic power that is feared and fetishized, institutionalized and internalized, and reconfigure our self-enclosed identities? The kenotic love of the risen Christ! With the colloquial skills of a gifted teacher, Beck has written a prophetic, practical—and urgent—manifesto."
—Kim Fabricius, minister, the United Reformed Church (UK)

"It's an age-old Faustian tale. We conspire with demonic principalities and powers to cheat death and save ourselves. Such idols, Richard Beck warns, inexorably enslave and damn us. He follows this indictment, however, with a prophetic analysis that is nothing short of an emancipation proclamation. Christ's resurrection not only burst the gates of hell and destroyed death's sting, but also freed us from the enslaving addiction of self-empowerment—resurrecting us for self-expenditure and sacrificial love."
—Richard Goode, co-editor, And the Criminals With Him

"Beck is like the 'rabbi trained for the kingdom of heaven' that Jesus talked about: a master pulling out things old and new, weaving together ancient theology and contemporary psychology in a way altogether provocative and compelling, rightfully re-orienting us with regard to some of our most basic convictions. Good, good, good work."
—Lee C. Camp, author, Mere Discipleship

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26 thoughts on “The Slavery of Death Now On Sale”

  1. I will be recommending this to everyone I know. The blog post series this is based on was remarkable.

  2. Woot! New book I've been waiting for, and it's released as a 14 dollar paperback: Thanks for that.

  3. Richard,

    Are you planning a blog review tour at any point? I'd be interested in participating, if so. Either way , this is going on my To Read list.

  4. What?!!? No offer to your readers for an autographed copy for $20??!?! Oh, I get it. With the semester just starting you couldn't sign that many books.

    Already ordered a copy. Thanks for the work.

  5. I never really thought of that. Matter of fact, I don't think I've thought much at all about how to do a book roll out. I'm simple like that. :-)

  6. I hadn't planned on a tour. Wipf & Stock isn't a big press, so there's not a push to roll out the book on or before a release date, no advanced copies to send prospective reviewers for a blog tour.

  7. Yes, everyone needs to spend some time in Abilene. As the song says, "Abilene, Abilene, prettiest town I've ever seen."

    Whoever wrote those lyrics was smoking something. Still, I love my ugly town.

    But I'll add this: if anyone mails me a book (ACU Box 28011, Abilene, TX, 79699) I'd be very happy to sign it and send it back. Don't worry about return postage, just send it on.

  8. Having been a student at ACU from fall 1992 to Spring 1995 I would agree with the smoking comment. I assume (despite the jokes) that if I include all 3 of your books in the package that would be okay?!? Thanks as always sir.

  9. SO glad you did this, Richard! Your Slavery of Death series on the blog is some of the most profound stuff I have read in several years. Thanks for doing this! We gotta podcast again some time :)

  10. Richard: I never read what others say about a book. I am surprised that so many seem to put stock in this marketing approach. I decide what to read by reading an excerpt. Could you provide one, please?

  11. Richard, I have been recommending this book since 2011 (in blog and then forthcoming-book form). It shifted my thinking in several aspects, and I have since gone on to read so far about half of the source works you referenced throughout the series. (I especially love "Life and Death" and "The Denial of Death".) I have already ordered a few copies of this new book, but I'll be able to get a second wind when the eBook comes out (several eBook-only friends now). Any ETA, to your knowledge? I have done professional eBook layouts before, so if I can expedite the process, let me know!

  12. JJ, allow me to provide my own perspective on such recommendations. Upon picking up a book I am unsure about reading, I immediately turn it over to see if I recognize anyone I have learned to trust -- and it helps.

    If I see a new book on Charles Williams, and Sørina Higgins says on the back, "Pick up this book. It is the best devotional treatment of Co-Inherence I have ever read," I'm going to say, "Dang! Okay, let me look closer!" And shouldn't I?

    If I see a new book on Kierkegaard, and C. Stephen Evans is quoted on the back, but saying only, "A solid contribution to scholarly study of Kierkegaard," I'm going to think, "Okay, so this is probably an okay book, but I could probably find better (Evans isn't exactly falling over himself in praise here). But maybe this book addresses something I am particularly interested in. So, I'll look a bit closer and make a call, with that in mind." Is that a problem?

    If someone I know who KNOWS what they are talking about regarding a subject or author, says, "Take my word for it: pick it up. Send me an email later to thank me. That's all I'm saying this time. If you value my opinion, read this one," of course it is going to help me decide to purchase the book -- and for good reason!

    Additionally, I can often tell when a recommendation is BS or mere politeness. this, too, influences my decision. Not every book is amazing, and so when I find a bunch of unspecific compliments, it helps me conclude that maybe this book isn't outstanding -- maybe not terrible, but it seems to be a bit more risky that I may dump time and money into a book I'm not even going to finish.

    These factors aren't everything, of course. I will buy and read and enjoy books without anyone I know recommending them. But, really, if you have come to trust your friends' tastes and opinions, you aren't going to "put stock" in their recommendation?

  13. I don't know when a Kindle version shows up on Amazon. It will eventually, but it takes some time.

  14. Good morning Richard! Thank you both for this book and for the series of blog posts it's based upon! I ordered a copy from W&S immediately when I saw this post, and I'm taking a break from working my way through it to write this comment. Do you know if your publisher plans to offer any sort of study guide for either this book or Unclean? I think both would be perfect for a book study group.

    And a fun, unrelated, and frankly bizarre, fact: Acetominophen (Tylenol) has been shown in a study to reduce existential dread, in addition to the regular sort of pain. It would be fun to talk about this as it relates to the devil and our tendency to sin! http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/experiencing-existential-dread-tylenol-may-do-the-trick.html

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