Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My 5 Books

In a recent post, there was a link to C. Orthodoxy for a summary of bibliobloggers who responded with the 5 books that had most influenced their reading of the Bible. Here is my list as promised. Today, I'll give you the list, but in a later series of posts, I want to provide a brief comment about each book/author selected. So here goes (with no attempt to rank order):
  1. The Gospel According to Paul by A. M. Hunter
  2. A Theology of the New Testament by George Eldon Ladd
  3. Unity and Diversity in the New Testament by James D. G. Dunn
  4. A Marginal Jew by John P. Meier and The Historical Figure of Jesus by E. P. Sanders
  5. The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg
OK, so there are six, but I have a good reason. And I'm sure I can come up with it before long.

1 comment:

Bill G said...

I'll give it a try, John. I'm pretty confident that if I do this again in 3 months the list would be different in some respects, but here goes.

1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship. This was one of the books that got me started reading in this area. The Sermon on the Mount is hard enough, but Bonhoeffer manages to make it even harder - not necessarily to understand, but to live up to. Knowing his story and that he was killed by the Nazis just before the end of WWII puts his writings into a real context.

2. Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity. He helps put things that are sometimes confusing when you start thinking about them into a context that helps you approach Christianity in the 21st Century.

3. Nahum M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis: The World of the Bible in the Light of History. This was recommended to me by a good friend and helped me come to grips with the realization that it's really hard work to figure out what was said and for what situation - but the hard work is important if we are going to take the Bible seriously. Who would've thought that some books of the Bible are like a last-minute term paper - scraped together from a bunch of different sources to tell a single story (or maybe more than one story).

4. John A. Buehrens, Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers and Religious Liberals. This is a survey of the Bible (or maybe a survey-lite) that explains the many ways to read different types of scripture and what to look for when ecking out meaning. It probably won't be seen in any seminary bookstores but it sure was helpful for this lay person.

5. Gary Graf, And God Said, "Play Ball!" Amusing and Thought-Provoking Parallels between the Bible and Baseball. The Bible is one of the sources that helps me try to live a Christian life. Baseball is life. The book just seems natural.

I'll also throw in a sixth book because it's so different from the others. The Collected Sermons of William Sloane Coffin: The Riverside Years is two volumes that take his sermons in chronological order. I include this set because his sermons take the scripture we struggle to put into historical context, and literary context and all the other critical modes and gives them current life. A lot of collected sermon books could do this, but his theology speaks to me, so there is number six.