I wanted to share a few interesting books that I have had to read for school.
I’m not one to tell people that they shouldn’t read “dangerous” books. With that said, some of these books contain theological and biblical interpretive assertions that I don’t agree with. By suggesting them here I am not endorsing every word that is written in them. However, I have taken some very interesting things from them.
All titles have links to view the books on Amazon
Gregory of Nyssa (335-395 CE) was an early church father. He and his siblings/friends are known in Christian history as the Cappadocian Fathers. Many modern Protestants only read Augustine (354-430 CE) and neglect the diverse theological discussions that were going on in the first 400 years of the Christian church. This book offers a very interesting take on biblical interpretation and emphasizes the use of allegory, especially through the story of Moses’ life.
I have already posted on this book. It is a great overview of some of the difficulties that come from reading the Old Testament from a modern perspective. Enns acknowledges that there are some parts of the Old Testament that contradict themselves or are clearly influenced by other near-Eastern traditions. He asserts that God is sovereign over these “problems” and left them in the Christian Canon for a reason. Enns suggests that we should look into what God is telling us through these difficulties rather than simply trying to explain them away.
Abraham Heschel writes a very engaging and beautiful text on the Jewish understanding of the Sabbath. Honestly, I have never read anything that so greatly stirred my affections for the day of rest. Though he is writing from a Jewish perspective there are many foundational ideas that can be helpful for the Christian.
So, this is kind of an oddball on this list. Anne Lamott is an author. This book is about writing. However, there are some really interesting (and inappropriately hilarious) thoughts about constructing stories and reaching inside yourself to communicate your heart. I read this for my Intro to the Ministry of Preaching class. This is the most vulgar book I have read in seminary that wasn’t written by Stanley Hauerwas.
I’m really not sure how I feel about this book yet. It is really interesting and has some really thoughtful things to say about how Christians should interact with the state and politics. However, I definitely don’t jive with his theology. I find myself writing an equal number of excitedly positive and dramatically negative comments in the margins. Also, Ellul is a French Christian Anarchist. So… just know that before you read it.