Miskatonic University Press

The New and Complete Life


At work someone sent in a question, but with no contact information so we coudn’t reply. They sent a link to this record and asked, “Can I abbreviate the title?” The title is:

The new and complete life of our blessed Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ that great example, as well as saviour of mankind. Containing a More Complete, Authentic, Ample, Accurate, Instructive, Universal, and Full Account (freed from Popish Superstition, and other Errors) than was ever before Published, of all the Real Facts, relating to the Exemplary Life, Meritorious Sufferings, and Triumphant Death of Our Glorious Redeemer, Who took upon himself our Sinful Nature, Was Crucified for our Sins, Rose Again for our Justification, Ascended into Heaven, and now Sitteth at the Right-Hand of God, making Intercession for Us; Particularly his Incarnation, Nativity, Genealogy, Baptism, Preservation, Circumcision, Presentation, Early Transactions, Divine Mission, Fasting, Ministry, Temptation, Doctrines, Calling and Appointment of the Apostles, Miracles, Parables, Travels, Humility, Charity, Patience, Meekness, Sufferings, Transfiguration, Passion, Institution of the Sacraments; Crucifixion, Burial, Resurrection, Appearance, and Ascension, &c. &c. &c. To which is Added, A New, Complete, and Authentic History of the Lives, Transactions, Sufferings, and Deaths, of his Holy Apostles, Evangelists, Disciples, And other Eminent Persons and Primitive Christians, who first Propagated the Christian Religion, and to cruel Persecutors laid down their Lives in the Glorious Cause of Jesus Christ; particularly St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, St. John, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Andrew, St. James the Great, St. Philip, St. Bartholomew, St. Thomas, St. James the Less, St. Simon, St. Jude, St. Matthias, St. Barnabas, St. Stephen, Timothy, Silas, Mary Magdalene, Mary Sister of Lazarus, Mary of Cleophas, Mary of Salome, Trophimus, Tychicus, Tertius, Linus, Onesiphorus, Stephanus, Phebe, Sosipater, Clement, Ananias, Nicolas, Nicodemus, Joseph, Philemon, Priscilla, Titus, &c. Also, A New, Useful, and Interesting Account of the Life of the Messiah’s great Forerunner John the Baptist; And likewise the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Together with A Faithful Account of the Successors of the Apostles, for Three Hundred Years after the Crucifixion, in the five great Apostolical Churches. Comprehending, The Whole Doctrine of Christianity, the Evidences fairly stated upon which it is founded, and the Manner of its Establishment in different Parts of the World. - Including a Complete Defence of Christianity, containing Plain and Satisfactory Answers to all the Objections made against our Holy Religion, by Jews, Turks, Atheists, Deists, Infidels, and Free-Thinkers of the present Age, who are a Disgrace to Human Nature, and strive to level Mankind with the Brute Creation; whereby the Religion of the great Redeemer of Mankind is proved to be Genuine and truly Divine. The Whole Interspersed with Practical Improvements, and Useful Remarks, Familiarly Adapted to every Capacity, and designed to Promote, in every Christian, the necessary Practice of Faith and Repentance, as the only appointed Means whereby God can be Reconciled with Man. This Complete Work being the Result of long Study and Experience, and not a hasty Performance, has been regularly digested and collected, not only from the Evangelists, Epistles, &c. but also from Josephus, the most judicious Ecclesiastical Historians, and other Books as well as Manuscripts (ancient and modern) of Undoubted Authority. It will therefore comprise a great Variety of the most Important, Valuable, and Curious Matter relating to the Life and Death of our Blessed Saviour and his Apostles, &c. not to be found in any other Work of the Kind whatever. By Paul Wright, D. D. Vicar of Oakley, &c. in Essex, late of Pembroke-Hall, Cambridge; And Author of the Christian’s New and Complete British Family Bible;-of the New and Complete Edition of Fox’s Original Book of Martyrs;-And of The New Edition of the Whole Book of Common Prayer, with Notes, and other necessary Illustrations;-All of which respective Works are universally approved of in every Respect, by the Public in general, who have perused the Numbers already published. Embellished with the most elegant, valuable, and numerous set of large copper-plate prints ever published in a work of this kind; finely engraved from the original Drawings of Hamilton, Chalmers, West, Samuel Wale, Esq. &c. by those ingenious and celebrated Artists, Messrs. Pollard, Rennoldson, Taylor, Tookey, Smith, Page, Granger, Morris, Royce, Golder, Collier, Parker, and Other Eminent Masters.

The title page (published around 1790) is fantastic:

Title page of The New and Complete ...
Title page of The New and Complete ...

Yes, the title can be shortened. The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) has rule 14.97, “Older titles and very long titles,” which says in part:

Titles of works published in the eighteenth century or earlier may retain their original punctuation, spelling, and capitalization (except for whole words in capital letters, which should be given an initial capital only). Very long titles may be shortened in a bibliography or a note; indicate such omissions by the use of bracketed ellipses.

I might shorten the title (and slightly reformat and correct the bib record) to:

The New and Complete Life of Our Blessed Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ: That Great Example, as well as Saviour of Mankind. Containing a More Complete, Authentic, Ample, Accurate, Instructive, Universal, and Full Account […] It Will Therefore Comprise a Great Variety of the Most Important, Valuable, and Curious Matter Relating to the Life and Death of Our Blessed Saviour and His Apostles, &c. Not to Be Found in Any Other Work of the Kind Whatever.