Thursday, 16 August 2007

Kim's recommended reading

Kim Fabricius has just gotten back from his holiday in Greece – and here’s his contribution to Aaron’s meme:

  • Douglas Harink, Paul among the Postliberals (Brazos, 2003). Get two books for the price of one, as this study relates the New Perspective Paul to the theology (in particular) of Yoder and Hauerwas.

  • David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? (Eerdmans, 2005). At just over 100 pages, this little book, which began its life as an article in The Wall Street Journal, is as moving and profound a theological approach to (anti-)theodicy as you are likely to find.

  • Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics (T&T Clark, 1996). Glowing endorsements from (among others) Dunn, Hauerwas, Lindbeck, Ellen Charry, and Luke Timothy Johnson – enough said for this tour de force, which combines close and imaginative readings of the NT with cogent applications to contemporary ethical issues.

  • Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851). The American novel, both our Paradise Lost and our national Confessions.

  • Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (SPCK, 1990). This book, the fruit of a lifetime’s experience and reflection, examines the interface of mission, evangelism, and dialogue with a post-Christian and multi-cultural world.

  • Gerd Theissen, The Shadow of the Galilean (SCM, 1987). You can’t beat this creative, compelling, and yet scholarly book as an introduction to the “historical Jesus.”

  • R. S. Thomas, Collected Poems, 1945-1990. With Auden and Eliot, this complex Welsh priest makes up the trinity of the finest Christian poets of the twentieth century, and uniquely Thomas is the “poet of the hidden God” (D. Z. Phillips).

  • Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Abingdon, 1996). This seminal work does just what it says on the tin – and thereby takes us to the heart of Christian faith, both personal and social.

  • Rowan Williams, The Wound of Knowledge: Christian Spirituality from the New Testament to St. John of the Cross (Darton, Longman and Todd, 1979, 1990). The Archbishop of Canterbury unites what divided during the Middle Ages – theology and spirituality – in this penetrating and wise exploration of some of the great Christian saints and gurus.

  • John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster (Eerdmans, 1972). The author’s own fork in the road – and a book responsible for a generation taking the path to Christian pacifism.

16 Comments:

scott said...

I would marry Kim's theological sensibilities. :)

derek said...

I wouldn't marry, but maybe have a questionable relationship with!

Patrick C. said...

I was disappointed by "The Doors of the Sea"--too much time spent gleefully scorning other people, and then he skimps on the discussion of impassibility.
A new little book I like a lot: "Heresies and How to Avoid Them", ed Ben Quash and Michael Ward. I have never seen such clear explanations of why Arianism, Nestoriansim, etc. go wrong, and the chapter on Theopaschitism by Ward says a lot, and a lot more eirenically than DBH.

Ben Myers said...

Patrick, I'm reading that Heresies book at the moment too. It's very good.

Jonathan said...

Kim (or anyone else)
What do you think of Harink's contention that N T
Wright is supercessionist? I myself don't buy it.

::aaron g:: said...

Kim,
Any thoughts on Rowan Williams' book, Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another and Other Lessons from the Desert Fathers?

kim fabricius said...

Hi Patrick,

I hear what you are saying about The Doors of the Sea. Many folk think - me too on occasion - that Hart can be not just needlessly argumentative but downright rude. But I can live with the pugnacity of this brilliant Young Turk. As for his "skimping", I think that can be explained by the constraints of book-length. Hart is certainly not backwards in coming forwards about impassibility in The Beauty of the Infinite.

Hi Jonathan,

Good question. I am most definitely not a supercessionist, and as an admirer of Hays as well as Wright, and on the basis of the former's reading of the latter, I am willing to give Wright the benefit of the doubt. Wright writes rather gnomically and dialectically about the relationship between Israel and Church, rather, in fact, as Paul himself does in Romans 9-12. Does anyone know if and how Wright has responded to accusations of supercessionism, and whether he has explicitly rejected ther label? The interesting thing I find in Harink's sustained argument, which does give the impression of a sort of polemical mission, is that Wright's argument actually leads to supercessionism even if Wright doesn't follow it there. Interestingly too, that can be said about Wright's politics: his reading of Jesus, it seems to me, should lead the bishop to a Christian pacifist position, but it has not. Indeed I think I am right in saying that Wright did not support Rowan Williams when the Archbishop attacked the Blair governmenmt's renewal of Trident.

Hi Aaron,

I wonder if the Williams book you mention is the American title of Silence and Honey Cakes: The Wisdom of the Desert (2003). If so, it is a diamond of a little book, taking the scholarship of The Wound of Knowledge into the accessibly practical and pastoral.

::aaron g:: said...

Thanks Kim! I've got this one and Tokens of Trust on order.

Dave Belcher said...

Aaron and Kim, indeed Where God Happens is an American edition of Silence and Honey Cakes. It includes a chapter entitled "Silence and Honey Cakes" and then after the main body of the text includes a section of "sayings" of the desert fathers and mothers with brief introductions to each. It is only about 80 pages total, so it's more of an essay, but I consider it to be one of the most important--and yet overlooked--text on ecclesiology out there today. Great stuff.

I am going to post my own frequent recommendations to my page. Thanks.

Dave Belcher said...

Sorry, my page is "La Perruque". Peace.

Pastor David said...

Great suggestions here, at least I couple I am unfamiliar with - which I always love because it give me more new reading material! I always find book recommendations a wonderful topic, and recently posted my own slightly more specific list of recommended books.

Jonathan said...

Kim, I have often said that if N. T. Wright were consistent in his writings about the gospel and Caesa'rs empire, he would indeed be a pacifist in the line of Richard Hays and John Howard Yoder. And yes, he did not support Rowan Williams over the Trident issue, and that disappointed me. In his commentary on Romans, he points us to his book For All God's Worth, in response to questions about Supercessionism, or at least the relationship between Israel and the Church. I have blogged about it at The Ivy Bush.

::aaron g:: said...

Dave Belcher, Thanks for the details about Where God Happens.

By the way, I'll include your contribution to the recommended reading meme to the growing list!

Maximus Daniel said...

I like Kim's groove, Ive read a lot of these... wee

Dave Belcher said...

I suppose I would also include as a subtext perhaps to Williams' Where God Happens, Donald MacKinnon's The Stripping of the Altars...I feel we still have yet to appropriate the fullness of MacKinnon's theological trajectory (and this is evidenced by the poor responses in folks like David Hart--and in his inheritor, John Milbank no less!). Eagerly awaiting Paul DeHart's book on MacKinnon, Williams, and Milbank.

kim fabricius said...

Hi David,

Yeah, after De Hart's The Trial of the Witnesses: The Rise and Decline of Postliberal Theology (2006) - which you can add to my meme - his new book looks mouth-watering. And you are right about the troubled and eccentric Donald MacKinnon - Beckett couldn't have created a more unusual character for a theologian - who was an enormous influence on the young Rowan Williams. Indeed Rupert Shortt (in Rowan Williams: An Introduction [2003]) suggests that MacKinnon "supplied Williams with the theme on which all his books have been variations - that faith has less to do with once-for-all answers than with a readiness to engage in further questioning."

By the way, I should say that my meme list is not a top-ten but a smattering of suggested reads in a few particular areas of study.

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