Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Reading: What's in Your Stack?

Summer Reading lists have been passed around and discussed over the past few weeks and here is a collection of the one's I've seen.

Dr. Albert Mohler's "The Annual Summer Reading List" focuses on history (predominantly military history). He followed this list up with a few further suggestions.

Prof. Carl Trueman's list includes a couple biographies, a couple historical works, and a classic novel.

Justin Taylor suggests a handful of works on Christ.

Phil Ryken offers a diverse reading list including both fiction and nonfiction, contemporary and classic, and theological and socio-political.

Derek Thomas also provides a diverse reading list (We do hope that he is able to find out and then tells us "what is the essence of 'an American'."

Ian Campbell is hoping to juggle moving with reading a handful of historical biographies and two excellent theological works published early this year (see here and here for my intro to these two).

R. Scott Clark will also reading this summer and he shares a few from his stack.

Stephen Nichols highlights a couple Anyabwile titles.

An interesting Book Meme has been started by Ken Brown asking readers to "Name the five books (or scholars) that had the most immediate and lasting influence on how you read the Bible." You can find links to many other lists in the comments.

UPDATE: A few more...

Colin Hansen (of CT) suggests Ten Theology Books for Your Beach Bag.

Mark Dever shared his lengthy, vacation reading list.

This summer, Dr. John Currid is reading through the the Hebrew OT, Greek NT, and portions of the LXX. (Sadly, this would take me numerous summers to accomplish.)

UPDATE [6/22/09]:

Nicole Whitacre (of girltalk) offers a few great suggestions for women.

Rebecca Blood linked to this post by including it in a very large collection of summer reading lists (Keep scrolling through her blog to find more lists). Thanks for the link and for pointing out the next list!

Colin Adams, at Unashamed Workman, has done a fantastic job putting together a of 100 Recommended Reads, categorized and with annotations. This is an excellent resource!

UPDATE [7/2/09]:

Thabiti Anyabwile shares his reading list here.

Stephen Nichols' list is here.

All of these lists include excellent titles.

So, What will I be reading this summer?
The majority of my reading has been dictated by review copies received from a couple of publishers. However, I am working hard to balance what has been given to me with what is immediately necessary, and what is the-latest-and-greatest with what is a-tried-and-true-classic. I don't have it worked out perfectly, but this is my goal.

Earlier this month I read an older work by the Rev. Thomas Smyth, late pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church (Charleston, SC), titled Why Do I Live? This was a very refreshing series of sermons on the essence of the Christian life. I'm very interested in church history, and have given particular attention to southern pastors and theologians.

Another book I have begun and hope to conclude this summer is a collection of essays on the life and legacy of John A. Broadus., edited by David S. Dockery & Roger D. Duke (B&H Academic, 2009).

From B&H Academic, I have also received and am working through The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy by Steven B. Cowan & James S. Spiegel (so far I am finding this to be a refreshing review of so many things I have forgotten from my university days); The Advent of Evangelicalism edited by Michael A. G. Haykin and Kenneth J. Stewart (this book nearly assumes that readers will be familiar with David Bebbington's Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, and although I was not, I am finding this to be very helpful overview of the roots of Evangelicalism); and Augustine as Mentor by Edward L. Smither (I've barely begun this one, but I'm interested in learning more about the ministry of Augustine). This reminds me of another classic I need to finish reading: The Confessions of Augustine. I'll try to squeeze this one in somewhere.

From IVP, I just received in today's mail the latest addition to the Christian Doctrine in Global Perspective Series: The Holy Spirit: Lord and Life-Giver by Ivan Satyavrata. I'm looking forward to digging into this book and comparing it some of the other books I have read on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (namely Sinclair Ferguson's excellent treatise).

I am also well-entrenched in and thoroughly enjoying the utility of Robin Routledge's Old Testament Theology: A Thematic Approach (IVP, 2009). This volume is a significantly shorter work than that of Waltke, Goldingay, Brueggemann, von Rad, and others. Yet, it proves to be an excellent, introductory theology. Routledge has accomplished an amazing feat by providing a highly readable, stimulating, constructive, discerning and brief volume for those looking for an entry point into the vast field of OT theology. Routledge shows himself to be extremely familiar with all of the major theological works and a plethora of niche studies, and yet, I have not found any reference to the works of Eichrodt or [update] Oehler. Considering his conservative perspective, I thought I might find mention of Oehler, but at least he does include the excellent work by Prof. Eugene Merrill.

I have a handful of other great books from IVP, including Mark Noll's The New Shape of World Christianity and Manfred T. Brauch's Abusing Scripture, which I am eager to delve into, but, before I do, I want to finish a few that I recently purchased.

First, I am nearly finished reading through Peter Enns' Inspiration and Incarnation. Having heard some of the bad press, and reading a few reviews and essays that seemed to miss the point, I determined to acquire a copy and read it for myself. I have been very pleased with the treatment because Enns addresses issues that none of my former teachers ever countenanced although they are important for many students of the Scriptures. Sometime last year I listened to the recorded lectures an Introduction to the Old Testament class taught by Christine Hayes of Yale Divinity School. Hayes was the first to introduce me to the ANE texts and their relationship to the OT. Much of her presentation was startling to me because I had never been exposed to these ideas. What was more alarming was the elementary way Hayes presented the basic details of the Bible which assumed an audience of students who knew very little about the Bible. Enns is the first I have come across who addresses these very issues from an evangelical perspective. Whereas others are ready to discount the authority and authenticity of the Scriptures, Enns seeks to uphold and affirm these. To that, Enns is helping to equip evangelical students to be able to address the kinds of things that are being taught in many of the mainline schools. Although I am still working through some of his positions, I'm very glad that he had the courage to write this book.

I am also nearly finished with a very needed critique of pop Christianity: Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian. Tchividjian aims at heart-issues as opposed to external displays. He argues that "seeker" (a term that needs to be carefully qualified) are actually looking for something different, or transcendent, rather than mere sameness. But the Church has been convinced for years of the opposite. Even so, many believers are longing for something different; in fact, he argues, Christians are called to be different. We are to be "God's unfashionable society" (p. 92); we are called "to form a distinct, 'thick' Christian counterculture" (Keller's Forward, p. xvii). The message of this book pivots on an eschatological/missiological axis that is grounded in rich doxology.

Another book I just received is Kris Lundgaard's The Enemy Within (P&R, 1998). I found this book while purusing the Westminster Bookstore website and it reminded me of Paul Downey's Desperately Wicked, which I just recently read. I expect Lundgaard's book to delve into the same issue but on a more pastoral level. Do I say that I want to read this book, or I need to read this book? I believe that it is the latter.

On the way, is Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture by Daniel J. Treier and The New Testament Story by Ben Witherington III. I hope to read the first as a supplement to the Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. The second will be my first introduction to the writings of BWIII, a prolific NT scholar. I read a small portion of this book about a year ago when I checked it out of the library and found some help on a few particular details of NT history. I'm eagerly awaiting these two volumes although I have a way to go before I get to read them.

Well, for what it's worth, this is my reading list. What are you reading?