Thursday, 24 May 2007

Must-read theological books

Michael Jensen asks for a list of “the must-read theological books that are coming out soon or have recently appeared.” So I thought I’d try to respond with a series of suggestions in various categories.

First of all, though, if you somehow missed David Bentley Hart’s The Beauty of the Infinite (Eerdmans, 2003), then you should skip all these other books and start with that one – it will almost certainly prove to be the most important theological work of the decade.

Anyway, here are my selections of “must-read books” under various headings (restricted to books that are forthcoming or that have appeared within the past 18 months or so). These aren’t necessarily my favourite books, but they’re the books that I think are (or will be) “important” in the theological conversation. I’d welcome any other suggestions as well!

Old Testament

New Testament
  • Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Eerdmans, 2006) – I haven’t read this one yet myself, but I’ve read a lot about it at Chrisendom, and it sounds like an extremely challenging revisionist proposal.
Historical theologyTheological method / fundamental theologyDogmatics
  • John Webster, Confessing God (T&T Clark, 2005)
  • Neil MacDonald, Metaphysics and the God of Israel (Paternoster/Baker, 2006) – I’m reading this one at the moment, and will post a review of it soon.
  • Marilyn McCord Adams, Christ and Horrors (Cambridge UP, 2006)
  • Colin Gunton, The Barth Lectures (T&T Clark, forthcoming 2007) – I don’t know whether I’ll like this book, but I reckon it will be very influential.
  • Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay “On the Trinity” (Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2008) – The first volume of this major new 4-volume project of feminist dogmatics will be sure to make a big impact.
Theology and culture
  • Miroslav Volf, The End of Memory (Eerdmans, 2006)
  • Stanley Hauerwas, The State of the University (Blackwell, 2007) – This was released a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t read it yet, but it will no doubt be a challenging and controversial proposal.
  • Trevor Hart, A Poetics of Redemption, Vol. 1 (WJKP, forthcoming 2007)
  • Gerard Loughlin, ed., Queer Theology (Blackwell, forthcoming 2007) – This collection will be sure to generate a lot of discussion: it includes essays by Graham Ward, Eugene Rogers, Catherine Pickstock, Gerard Loughlin, and others.
Ecumenical theology
  • Tim Perry, Mary for Evangelicals (IVP, 2006)
  • George Hunsinger, Let Us Keep the Feast (Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2008) – A major new attempt at developing an ecumenical approach to eucharistic theology and practice.
Inter-faith dialogue
Theology and science
Digital resource
  • Religion Past and Present, 10 vols. (Brill, 2006 to 2011) – A full English translation of the massive German encyclopedia, Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG).


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