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Books of 2008

Well, given that I was spending so much of my allotted ‘reading time’ on thesis research, I’m surprised, when looking back on 2008, to discover that I was still able to read 72 books cover-to-cover.  Once again, I’ve listed them by category, although instead of picking one or two of the best and the worst, I’ve simply put a (+) sign by those I found especially good and a (-) sign by those that were not at all suited to my tastes.

Biblical Studies (26)

  • Beale, G. K. We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry.

  • Cullmann, Oscar. Christ and Time: The Primitive Christian Conception of Time and History (revised edition).

  • (+) Elliott, Neil. The Arrogance of Nations: Reading Romans in the Shadow of Empire.

  • Georgi, Dieter. Theocracy in Paul’s Praxis and Theology.

  • (+) Gorman, Michael J. Reading Paul.

  • (+) Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke (NICNT).

  • Horsley Richard A. (ed). Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society.

  • ________. Paul and Politics: Ekklesia, Israel, Imperium, Interpretation. Essays in Honor of Krister Stendahl.

  • Judge, E. A. Social Distinctives of the Christians in the First Century: Pivotal Essays by E. A. Judge. Edited by David M. Scholer.

  • Lopez, Davina C. Apostle to the Conquered: Reimagining Paul’s Mission.

  • Malherbe, Abraham, J. Social Aspects of Early Christianity.

  • Marshall, I. Howard. A Concise New Testament Theology.

  • (+) Oakes, Peter. Philippians: From People to Letter.

  • Pate, C. Marvin. The End of the Age Has Come: The Theology of Paul.

  • Price, S. R. F. Rituals and Power: The Roman imperial cult in Asia Minor.

  • Roetzel, Calvin, J. Paul: A Jew on the Margins.

  • Sampley, Paul J. Pauline Partnership in Christ: Christian Community and Commitment in Light of Roman Law.

  • ________. Walking Between the Times: Paul’s Moral Reasoning.

  • (+) Tellbe, Mikael. Paul Between Synagogue and State: Christians, Jews, and Civic Authorities in 1 Thessalonians, Romans, and Philippians.

  • Thielman, Frank. Theology of the New Testament: a canonical synthetic approach.

  • Walker, Peter. In the Steps of Paul: An Illustrated Guide to the Apostle’s Life and Journeys.

  • Winters, Bruce. After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change.

  • ________. Seek the Welfare of the City: Christians as Benefactors and Citizens.

  • Wright, N. T. Christians at the Cross: Finding Hope in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

  • ________. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.

  • Yung Suk Kim Christ’s Body in Corinth: The Politics of a Metaphor.

  • Zanker, Paul. The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus.

Theology/Christian Living (20)

  • (+) Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics II.1: The Doctrine of God.

  • Bell, Rob and Dan Golden. Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile.

  • Betcher, Sharon V. Spirit and the Politics of Disablement.

  • (+) Cavanaugh, William T. Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire.

  • Claiborne, Shane, and Chris Haw. Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals.

  • Dear, John. Put Down Your Sword: Answering the Gospel Call to Creative Nonviolence.

  • (-) Herringshaw, Mark and Jennifer Schuchmann. Six Prayers God Always Answers.

  • McLaren, Brian D. A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey.

  • ________. The Story We Find Ourselves In: Further Adventures of a New Kind of Christian.

  • Metzger, Paul Louis. Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church.

  • Mobsby, Ian. The Becoming of G-d.

  • Moltmann, Jürgen. A Broad Place: An Autobiography.

  • (+) ________. Experiences in Theology: Ways and Forms of Christian Theology.

  • Ramachandra, Vinoth. Subverting Global Myths: Theology and the Public Issues Shaping our World.

  • (-) Sanguin, Bruce. The emerging Church.

  • (+) Sobrino, Jon. No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays.

  • Stackhouse Jr., John G. Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World.

  • Von Balthasar, Hans Urs. A Theology of History.

  • (+) Woodley, Matthew. Holy Fools: Following Jesus with Reckless Abandon.

  • Wright, Christopher J. H. The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Thought Questions of Faith.

Philosophy/History/Social Theory & Commentary (10)

  • Barnholden, Michael and Nancy Newman, with photographs by Lindsay Mearns. Street Stories: 100 Years of Homelessness in Vancouver.

  • Cran, Brad and Gillian Jerome. Hope in Shadows: Stories and Photographs of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

  • Chomsky, Noam. What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World. Interviews with David Barsamian.Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle.

  • (+) Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. Empire.

  • (+) ________. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire.

  • Jameson, Frederic. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.

  • (+) Kropotkin, Peter. Memoirs of a Revolutionist.

  • Roszak, Theodore. The Making of the Counter Culture: Reflections on the tecnoratic society and its youthful opposition.

  • Seabrook, Jeremy. Travels in the Skin Trade: Tourism and the Sex Industry.

  • (+) Žižek, Slavoy. In Defense of Lost Causes.

    Literature/Classics/Plays (15)

    • (+) Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot.

    • (+) Camus, Albert. Les Justes.\

    • Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year.

    • DeLillo, Don. White Noise.

    • Eliot, T. S. Murder in the Cathedral.

    • France, Anatole. The Gods Will Have Blood.

    • Juvenal. Sixteen Satires.

    • Kourouma, Ahmadou. Allah is Not Obliged.

    • Petronius. The Satyricon.

    • (+) Sartre, Jean-Paul. Nausea.

    • Seneca, The Apocolocyntosis.

    • (-) Stennet, Rob. The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher: A Novel.

    • Updike, John. rabbit, run.

    • ________. rabbit redux.

    • Walter, Chris. Shouts From the Gutter.

    Other (1)

    • A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Introduction to Bhagavad-Gita.

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    1. I have read a lot of books by the authors on your list, although not all the same books. Have you read Ernesto Cardenal? He is my favorite “liberation theologian.” His autobiography is fantastic, especially the volume relating his time under Thomas Merton. The “Gospel in Solentiname” also a very interesting series of lay interpretations of the gospel which he facilitated.

    2. Did any book(s) change your mind about something or present something fundamentally new or did they mostly reinforce/confirm/intensify/clarify already held beliefs?
      Just curious….no judgment implied….I think.

    3. Peter:
      I haven’t directly read any Cardenal. I’ll bump him up my list now that you’ve recommended him (and now that I’m into reading autobiographies). I’ve most been skipping back and forth between Sobrino and Gutierrez (once I start an author, I tend to want to work my way through all their main works), while flirting with the likes of Boff, Freire, and Arias (although, once I finish “The Power of the Poor in History”, which I’m reading now, I plan to skip over to some Palestinian liberation theology and read “A Palestinian Cry for Reconciliation” by Naim Ateek).
      Actually, quite a bit of what I read challenged me in a number of ways. I’ll give four examples.
      (1) A lot of the Paul stuff, which one might assume were just reinforcing prior beliefs of mine, challenged me constantly on how one approaches the twin themes of hermeneutics and the authority of Scripture.
      (2) Other books did change my mind in some significant ways regarding political issues. A combination of Dear, Zizek, Kropotkin and Hardt & Negri, led me back to valuing participation in the counter-cultural anti-global-capitalism movement of our day… something I had previously given up as almost entirely hopeless, misdirected, and full of poser b.s.
      Additionally, these same authors also finally led me to adopt a political label — that of a Christian anarchist — which is actually a pretty big step for me.
      (3) I was most deeply challenged and unsettled by the combination of Sartre, Beckett, Updike and DeLillo, which confronts us with an image of reality wherein all of us are insignificant, pathetic, and without any escape from this. This sort of stark materialism or empiricism haunts me.
      (4) Zizek, but especially Camus (coupled, I suppose, with the ongoing recent happenings in Greece), have also challenged me a great deal on the notion of violence used in the cause of justice. My nonviolence is something I cling to, sometimes only by my fingernails, given the magnitude and urgency of the suffering that is imposed upon people around me (and you, and all of us).
      How’s that?

    4. Great…I know you are researching so of course most reading is fleshing out the details and the like, but it’s informative to see how all of this reading affected you.
      So much of our reading is hobby-like or in one ear and out the other (maybe after a year or so). The challenges become the real lasting highlights. You tend not to forget those (haunted by them even, as you say).
      But I suppose it might often be an act of boredom or cowardice when we only look for a challenging conversion of thought instead of pursuing the depths of a particular faithful commitment.
      Congrats on the reading feat in any case.