The first edition of 'Instead of Death', a critique of both the institutions of the Church and the more secular but no less destructive institutions of the state, became a small classic. After its publication, Stringfellow's life was deeply affected by a serious illness, his work in East Harlen, and his efforts on behalf of the cause of women's ordination to the priesthood. Thus, although a substantial portion of the original text was unchanged, his experiences had given him added insights that were expressed in two new chapters: one on money and the struggle for security, the other on the politics of death and life. A long preface dealing with Stringfellow's motivations for writing this expanded version of 'Instead of Death' is also included.
William Stringfellow was a practicing attorney and a prominent Episcopalian layman who frequently contributed to legal and theological journals. After his graduation from Harvard Law School, he practiced some years in the East Harlem neighborhood in New York City. He was a visiting lecturer at several law schools and lectured at theological seminaries across the country. Stringfellow authored more than a dozen books, including 'A Private and Public Faith', 'My People is the Enemy', 'Count it All Joy', and 'An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land'.