We are entering on some of the most complex and difficult research we’ve undertaken. (I wish Ton were still alive!) Here’s what we have before us.
1. After Russell established Zion’s Watch Tower the controversies over the Ransom/Atonement doctrine continued and grew more complex. There is little you can do to help us with this. It requires a massive amount of reading, and even more “thinkin’ ‘bout it.”
What you can do:
We need to see the issues of Jones’ Day Star in the Library of Congress. This requires a personal visit and a good digital camera. The LC is over 3000 miles from my front door, and I can’t afford the trip, but if you live near or will visit soon, please help.
We have four years of A. P. Adams’ Spirit of the Word. This is a very small collection compared to the total we know were published. If you have any, even a single issue, please scan them for us.
We need a clear copy or scan of Myers’ The-At-One-Ment.
Newspaper articles touching on this issue are illusive. Anyone?
We need any issues of Paton’s World’s Hope. Ask before you copy or scan. We have a fair but very incomplete file.
2. We think it important to connect Watch Tower adherents and their beliefs to contemporary events. This is very time consuming, and it will require some perceptive re-reading of Zion’s Watch Tower. This will spill past the 1887 date that is the putative end of Separate Identity. We are equipped to do this. We aren’t as well prepared to analyze how events in Europe influenced Watch Tower belief and opinion. Russell’s comments on European events were drawn from American newspapers and from clippings and letters sent from adherents in the UK. We need perceptive comments on the Watch Tower’s view of European events.
We don’t expect you to write an essay. Just read through the early issues, and, if you find something that ‘clicks’, email me.
3. We are adding a part 2 to the Food for Thinking Christians chapter. As written, it presents the first circulation of Food in satisfying detail. There is an unexplored after story that we can’t leave out. At first we saw it as a minor issue worthy of a paragraph. It’s far more important.
I don’t see anything here with which our readers can help. Perhaps newspaper articles from 1883 and 1884 that mention Food.
There is more, of course, but these are the difficult issues for the days ahead.