Monday, November 05, 2007


This is one of those pointless 'favourite books' posts. Pointless, as if I were to sit down tomorrow and try the list again, I would change my mind on not a few. And my categories are completely arbitrary – literally made up on the spot. I.e. I could have covered many more. What is more, such lists say more about me than the books in question. These points aside, here are my favourites from a number of subjects relating to the NT and theology; my favourites, at least, as I think off of the top of my head the first Sunday evening of November 2007.

  • My favourite biblical commentary: Anthony Thiselton's NIGTC commentary on 1 Corinthians, with Dunn's Galatians commentary second
  • My favourite book on the historical Jesus: N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God. This is my absolute favourite book of all time, actually. Second comes Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
  • My favourite book on NT eschatology: Andrew Perriman's The Coming of the Son of Man. There are only a few books that have made me think as much as this one.
  • My favourite Pauline Theology generally: James Dunn's The Theology of the Apostle Paul.
  • My favourite work on Pauline theology generally from a limited perspective (if you know what I mean): Westerholm's Perspectives Old and New on Paul.
  • My favourite biblical scholarship history: Kümmel's The New Testament: The history of the investigation of its problems
  • My favourite NT introduction: Either deSilva's An Introduction to the NT, or Schnelle's volume.
  • My favourite work on the nature of scripture: John Goldingay, Models for Scripture. Enns Inspiration and Incarnation is second. I'm yet to read Webster's contribution.
  • Favourite work relating to NT Christology: Mehrdad Fatehi's The Spirit's Relation to the Risen Lord in Paul. Second comes Larry Hurtado's Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, on Paul's Christology, second comes Fee's Pauline Christology.
  • Favourite work by on the emergent church: Ray Anderson's An Emergent Theology for an Emergent Church. Though Brian McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy is a close second. I am presently reading Otherways, by Andrew Perriman which could end up my favourite in this category too.
  • My favourite collection of essays relating to the NT: Rudolf Bultmann's Glauben und Verstehen (vol. I-IV)
  • My favourite introduction to the Christian faith: Rowan Williams' Tokens of Trust.
  • My favourite polemic work on Christian Theology in the last ten years: David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite. This has been on my menu recently and I cannot recommend it more highly. Make sure you understand the basics of Derrida and his ilk, and you will LOVE it.
  • My favourite collection of sermons: Jüngel's win hands down.
  • My favourite systematic theology: This is difficult, as the one I most enjoy reading I have not finished (and won't do so for a long time), namely Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics. But with that understood, I still don't think I can say any other. I simply love reading Barth's CD!
  • My favourite book on universalism: Gregory MacDonald's The Evangelical Universalist.
  • My favourite work on judgment in Paul: Konradt's Gericht und Gemeinde
  • My favourite book on NT Pneumatology: Max Turner's The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts, then and Now
  • My favourite book on Christian Zionism: I've recently been reading a pro Zionist book by Barry E. Horner, namely Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-judaism Must Be Challenged. It has been helpful in some ways, but I have a number of criticisms I will post here at some stage. My favourite remains Steve Motyer's Israel in the Plan of God.
  • My favourite book on theodicy: David Bentley Hart's The Doors of the Sea

I'll stop now before I go back over what I've written and change my mind.



At 11/05/2007 12:57 AM, Anonymous mike said...

Definitely deSilva. I love his introduction. I've loved it since my sophomore year of college.

Thus by implication, I also love his Honor Patronage Kinship and Purity, which is an illuminating read.

At 11/05/2007 1:27 AM, Anonymous J. B. Hood said...

How 'bout a favourite book of the NT? OT? 2TJ? First three Xian centuries?

At 11/05/2007 3:42 AM, Anonymous Danny Zacharias said...

Your not a Christian Zionist are you?

At 11/05/2007 3:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny, (You're) not a Christian Zionist are you? would be the correct English to ask that question.

Please, all of you "scholars"...take a little time when writing...Your students need to learn how to use it and they certainly need to lean how to spell.

At 11/05/2007 4:44 AM, Anonymous Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Reading the recommendation of David deSilva's intro to the NT and Mike Aubrey's statement that it has been a favorite since college just makes me feel old!!

I published an article by David when he was still an M.Div. student in the now defunct student run Fuller Seminary journal Studia Biblia et Theologica. I was the journal's final editor! I believe that was David's first article -- way back in 1989!!!

At 11/05/2007 7:06 AM, Anonymous Nick Norelli said...


Great list but you are in error brother -- any list that doesn't have Hurtado's Lord Jesus Christ as the first choice, over all other books, period! is simply flawed on its face!!!

Now because you are one of my favorite bloggers and a fellow charismatic I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you were high on hashish when you made this list -- I can of course forgive that because I'm smoking some presently :^D (just kidding - I finished mine hours ago) -- But if you're not going to list him as #1 over all others than at least give him his own category. 'Christ-Devotion' is more appropriate for his work as he said in the intro to Lord Jesus Christ:

"So this book is neither a 'New Testament Christology' (in the sense of an organized presentation of all the expressions of christological beliefs in the New Testament) nor simply a survey of all christological beliefs of the historical period under review here. Instead, the particular 'story' I try to tell in this historical study concerns the ways that Jesus functions as divine in the religious life of Christian groups of the first two centuries..." (p. 4)

Please accept my lovingly humble and gentle rebuke of your wickedly egregious and heinous error and pleeeassse don't get the WWBS to eradicate my existence from the blogosphere.

At 11/05/2007 8:26 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks Mike. David was here in Tübingen for a while - a very clever chap. I'll try to read the book you mention at some stage as I, too, find myself very impressed by anything he writes.

Good point JB - I'll have a think about that.

Danny, I am not, no. But I try to keep an open mind - and Christian Zionist friends of mine try to persuade me otherwise. Perhaps the will one day suceed. But I doubt it.

Crikey Bob, you old sake of bones!

Nick, I apologise for renching you from your drug enduced ecstacy.

I could respond by saying that Hurtado has long argued that his thesis concerning Christ devotion replace Christology. I think he is on to something but I hope my thesis makes something more profound of this suggestion. But I am afraid that Mehrdad's book is, in my humble view, better still. You will love it! Of curse, I am biased. I know Mehrdad personally. But still!

At 11/05/2007 8:31 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

I just followed your link, Nick!!!!!!! You are crazy, man!!! This needs response!

At 11/05/2007 8:49 AM, Anonymous Nick Norelli said...


John Hobbins is to blame. Had he not made the glaringly ridiculous assertion that: "there is no Boss Tweed of the biblioblogosphere" then I never would have had to point people to the WWBS website.

At 11/05/2007 10:16 AM, Anonymous Ben Byerly said...

"Perhaps the will one day suceed."

Please, all of you "scholars"...take a little time when writing...Your students need to learn how to use it and they certainly need to lean how to spell.

At 11/05/2007 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do they need to "lean" how to spell, or "learn" how to spell? Touche.

Different anonymous

At 11/05/2007 6:02 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Not pointless at all Chris. The way I get book recommendations is browsing through people's favorite lists. If I see a book recommended in several different places or from someone whose opinion I can trust, I add it to my reading list. So thanks.

At 11/06/2007 12:05 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Point taken, Alex. Thanks.

At 11/06/2007 9:23 AM, Anonymous Sean Babu said...

My favourite systematic theology: This is difficult, as the one I most enjoy reading I have not finished (and won't do so for a long time), namely Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics. But with that understood, I still don't think I can say any other. I simply love reading Barth's CD!
Last week I decided that if I were a true Barth fan boy, I needed to read the whole thing and not just hop around. I figure if I can cover 20 pages a day it will only take me about a year. (That's in English, BTW. German would probably take me 20 years.)

Those that hate Barth have not read Barth. There's a jewel on practically every page.

At 7/14/2010 4:31 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Hi Chris,
I have only just heard about Mehrdad Fatehi's 'The Spirit's Relation to the Risen Lord in Paul'. As someone who doesn't have access to a theological college library and cannot afford to pay $84 for a copy from Amazon, I resorted to reading as much of it as I could using Google Books. This only reveals a random selection of pages from the monograph and so I didn't find it easy to follow his argument or understand his final conclusion, but it has whetted my appetite for more! How does he argue that Paul identified Christ as being God in an ontological sense?

At 7/14/2010 7:32 PM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Will get back to you, Phil, when I return from holiday! All the best, Chris

At 7/16/2010 4:14 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Thanks Chris - I look forward to your reply. Just to refine the thrust of my query, Mehrdad Fatehi says near the end of his book: "There is a sense in which the risen Lord himself is actually present and active through the [Holy Spirit] which is hardly imaginable without there being some ontic or ontological connection between the two." Probably because I can't read the whole manuscript, I'm not sure I firmly grasp how it can be argued from the bible that Christ's own presence was realised among the early Christian communities by means of the Holy Spirit per se. If I could see that, I think it would undermine the argument of biblical unitarians who attribute the NT's divinization of Christ to nothing more than the concept of agency. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of your holiday!


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