In our last post on new books we listed some top-notch new reference books and commentaries. Today I want to mention seven new books in theology and Christian thought.
I begin with what is becoming an international argument: the relationship of theology and biblical studies. The issue is not only who gets the first or final word, but who sets the categories. Does theology or does biblical studies? Here are three books that are reshaping the conversation and that are right in the middle of this intense conversation:
Markus Bockmuehl and Alan J. Torrance have edited a fine volume. The title is: Scripture’s Doctrine and Theology’s Bible: How the New Testament Shapes Christian Dogmatics
. Contributions are Ross Wagner, Bockmuehl, Moberly and NT Wright, along with Carleton Paget, Jan Muis, John Webster, Ben Viviano, Alan Torrance, Oliver O’Donovan, Bernd Wannenwetsch and Kevin Vanhoozer.
The last contributor to the previous is the editor of two volumes: Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey
and Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey.
These two books provide models and examples of what theological
interpretation looks like.
Here’s the issue: Why did the earliest Christians, say the patristic
period, not read the Bible the way historic critics do? Did they seek
to determine meaning in historical context or did they swoop the text
up into the theological message of the Bible and even extend it? And,
as this discussion always suggests, where does the authority lie? In
the historic context or in the Spirit-shaped theological
interpretation? Well, these are the sorts of questions being raised.
These three books are a good place to start.
But, if you want to see this stuff in action I recommend the beautiful study of how the early fathers read the Bible and how they can teach us how to read the Bible by Frances Young, whose disabled son — Arthur — and whose experience that God is there whether she believe in him or not changed her course of study and faith. She tells this in her book, now about a year old, Brokenness and Blessing: Towards a Biblical Spirituality
. This book is rich in theology, history and authenticity. One of the best books I’ve read of late.
has dreamed up a great idea: pair a leading theologian with an
on-the-ground practitioner. The books are called “resources for
reconciliation”. Two of the volumes I have:
Two well-known leaders, Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier, write about the prophetic witness of weakness in Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness (Resources for Reconciliation).
Katongole (prof at Duke) and Chris Rice (worked with the Voice of
Calvary Ministries and now part of the Duke Center for Reconciliation)
write about justice, peace and healing in Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing (Resources for Reconciliation).
two more books. T.F. Torrance’s lectures and thoughts on Christ and the
incarnation, the subject that he mastered and informed the entire
Christian church in the 20th Century, have now been edited and put
together in Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ.
is done by humans and that means autobiography is at work, so it is
refreshing that Jurgen Moltmann, famous German theologian, has put
together his own story in A Broad Place: An Autobiography.