Tuesday, April 29, 2008

20 enjoyable books

The following 20 books are not necessarily the best books I have ever read, though some are, nor are they necessarily the books that have taught me the most, and nor are they even the ones I would automatically recommend first on the subjects they address. Rather, here are 20 books that I have read in the past few years that I really enjoyed reading. There are others that I would add if I were to think about it a bit longer, and perhaps a few important ones, but it is a first stab. (By the way, if it came down to favourite passages and book sections, Barth would be regularly named)

In no particular order:

  1. Jesus and the Victory of God (Wright). I can hear Tina Turner in the back ground singing, "Simply the Best"
  2. Models for Scripture (Goldingay) . Life changing.
  3. Die Sache mit Gott (Heinz Zahrnt). Utterly brilliant prose, detailing the theological moments of 20th century Protestantism till about the 1960s
  4. God Crucified (Bauckham).
  5. The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views today. (G.A. Boyd; Joel Green; B.R. Reichenbach; Thomas Schreiner). Superb debate, and the articles all honoured their respective positions.
  6. 1 Corinthians (Thiselton). The best commentary on any of Paul's letters, blending deep exegetical insight and wide reading, with deliberate dialogue with modern systematic theological concerns. Brilliant.
  7. The Evangelical Universalist (MacDonald). What a great read. It regularly anticipated my questions and I found it almost convincing. Almost.
  8. Paulus (Schnelle). A great book to learn German with.
  9. Old Testament Theology vol. 1 (Goldingay). This book astonished me. I have not had so much fun with a book since Wright's at the top.
  10. What the Bible Really Teaches (Keith Ward).
  11. Romans Commentary (Wright). Sorry, I know it bruises the pride of many other scholars and critics, but this guy really is something else.
  12. How to Reassess your Chess (Silman). Well, I liked it!
  13. A Short History of Christianity (Tomkins). Very funny in places.
  14. The Interpretation of the NT (1861-1986). Inspiring.
  15. Re:Mission (Perriman). It totally messed with my head – the sort of book I LOVE.
  16. Perspectives Old and New on Paul (Westerholm). What a great summary of various the approaches of various scholars.
  17. Inspiration and Incarnation (Enns). Very engaging and honest. A delightful invitation to continue an important conversation.
  18. Glauben und Verstehen (Bultmann). Some of the articles (I haven't read them all) were simply superb.
  19. The Beginning of All Things (Küng). Helped me settle my mind on numerous issues.
  20. The Rhythm of Doctrine (Colwell). A smooth tonic to my soul.
  21. The Life, Errors, Bad Theology, and 'Slack Jaw Breathing' Sin-Log Book of Jim West. Volumes 1 to 64 (Tilling). An important denunciation of bibliobloggers 'minimalist'. I don't think most really know what 'minimalist' means. So, for your information, it refers to the size of the 'you know what', hence 'mini-malist'.


At 4/30/2008 12:27 AM, Anonymous Jim said...

Well ... I think it fair to say that #20 should replace #1. And further, the water at the San Diego annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature was cold... Next time we share a room, I'm insisting on much warmer water. And that, in the words of Forrest Gump, is all that I'm going to say about that.

At 4/30/2008 1:27 AM, Anonymous steph said...

What an insult to Tina Turner!

At 4/30/2008 12:04 PM, Anonymous chuck grantham said...

Hmm. Let me consult my Hitchhikers' Guide....

Jim West:
"Mostly harmless. Annoying when he asks you to knock that battery off his shoulder."

N.T. Wright:
"One third wrong...doesn't know which third."

Anthony Thiselton...
"Slightly verbose in places."

Jeremy Silman:
"Thumbwrestler with Aagard. Chronological snob. Odd taste in movies."

Peter Enns:
"Insufficient memory for controversial entry."

Chris Tilling:
"See Titling"

"Drinks too much tea and is always with Anja, drat it."

At 5/01/2008 1:12 AM, Anonymous Mark Stevens said...

Chris can you tell me what was so good about Goldingay's book? I am interested in it. I noticed he has two with very similar names.

At 5/01/2008 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this very helpful list Chris! Have you seen that the author of The Evangelical Universalist has set up a blog so that people can comment on his book and ask him questions? The blog address is http://evangelicaluniversalist.blogspot.com/

Thanks again!

At 5/01/2008 6:06 PM, Anonymous John C. Poirier said...

I don't think Wright says anything in *Jesus and the Victory of God* that hadn't been said 100 times before. Wright just found a way to say it using more pages!

At 5/02/2008 12:12 AM, Anonymous James Crossley said...

Ironically, some of these actually make my list of *least* enjoyable books.

I'm not saying which.


At 5/02/2008 9:09 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

some day, you should consider checking out Arthur Glasser's Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God's Mission in the Bible - it might get added to the list...

At 5/02/2008 9:21 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Chuck, it is difficult to disagree with you with your comments!! Thanks for the laugh.

Steph, Jim: REPENT!

Hey Mark, the book helped me to move away from Fundamenalism. It helped me develop a more healthy view of scripture - life changing in terms of my religious background. The other book, Models for Interpretation of Scripture is about hermeneutics.

Brain, thanks for the book tip.

John, that is an utterly disagreeable opinion you have voiced! I was tempted to list all of the original points he brought to the table, but I decided against it!

James, you must urgently see comment to Steph and Jim above.

At 5/03/2008 8:57 PM, Anonymous Skjou said...

Chuck...that was a class reference to Hitchhickers; linking Wrights comments in his NTPG intro about him not knowing which 1/3 of his ideas are wrong with the Bugblatter Beast of Traal is a really eerie connection, so much so that I'm beginning to think that Wright is the Buglatter Beast. Anyhow, You are on to something profound here!

Im disappointed! We both know that C.Wright's "The Mission of God" has slipped your mind.

At 5/04/2008 8:53 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Horrible confession of the day: I haven't yet read through Chris W's book - had it from the library on my shelf for ages, dipped in now and then, but nope, never properly read it. I take your words as an encouragement to do so!

At 5/10/2008 11:04 PM, Anonymous Skjou said...

Correction. I was thinking in bed last night as i was trying to fall asleep and it randomly came in my mind that Buglatter Beast is not the correct reference. He is the one who thinks that if you cannot see him then he cannot see you.

I'll have to wait until the next time i'm tossing and turning all night to think about which character is the one who is one third wrong, but does not know which third.

At 6/24/2008 6:52 PM, Anonymous L.L. Barkat said...

Came over from the IVP post. I'm impressed that you can name 20 books you've enjoyed reading recently... I think I must be too fussy, for I begin many books and finish very few. Still, I guess that means that when I recommend a book wholeheartedly, people know I really mean it.


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