Theological Hall, Strahov Monastery Library, Prague. Image by Flickr user Jametiks, licensed under Creative Commons.
We posed this question to eight theologians: Suppose someone who hasn't been keeping up with theology for
the past 25 years now wants to read the most important books written during that time. What five titles would you
Here are their responses:
Emilie M. Townes
Lawrence S. Cunningham
Kevin J. Vanhoozer
Willie James Jennings
No one mentioned any book by Rene Girard??
Girard is not a theologian per se. I do wonder that nothing by James Alison is mentioned.
Sam Harris's, The End of Faith would seem to be required reading as well. Indeed, I think the atheist challenge must be considered in any discussion of theological development in the past 25 years.
A Marginal Jew by John Meier.
"If we don't have apologetic arguments up our sleeve to respond to skeptical atheism, we are empty-handed as Christians."
I hope they're better than the ones you've already released from your sleeve.
Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
Jesus Interupted - Bart Ehrman
God's Problem - Bart Ehrman
Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew - Bart D. Ehrman
When Jesus Became God - Richard E. Rubenstein
Ehrman writes decent books for educated adults who don't study theology. And, unlike Spong (who someone else likes here), he is at least honest enough to admit he's a non-believer. But he says nothing new. He adds nothing new to theology.
There's nothing wrong with being a describer. Nothing wrong with passing on what other scholars have said. But listing a Bart Ehrman's book (or a Spong book) as essential theology reading is like listing a Dan Brown book as essential fiction reading. Popular does equal significant.
Theology and Social Theory - John Milbank
On Christian Theology - Rowan Williams
Exculsion and Embrace - Miroslacv Volf
The Nature of Doctrine - George Lindbeck
God Matters - Herbert McCabe
Resucing the Bible from Fundamentalism - John Shelby Spong
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
I am not sure this list will do anyone outside of the academic community any good, as I imagine most of these book are too heavy for anyone other than people with graduate degrees. I am glad N.T. Wright got mentioned though.
I would suggest a more recent title by Fred Sanders, The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. Probably not as heavy a book as any on the list but it is full great theological insight and provides a fresh perspective on Trinty.
Thank you for these recommendations. There is much
here to savor and explore.
I might add books by Gordon Kaufman and Paula Cooey.
Both are at the edge, I suppose, but they wrote brilliant works. Professor
Kaufman died last summer. I am not as skeptical as Professor Cooey but I
appreciate her take on religious belief.
i suggest roger haight, formerly of union theological seminary; his most visible work would be JESUS, THE SACRAMENT OF GOD
Fall books. Essential theology books chosen by Stanley Hauerwas, Amos Yong, Emilie M. Townes, Lawrence S. Cunningham, Sarah Coakley, George Hunsinger, Willie James Jennings and Kevin J. Vanhoozer.
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