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Emilie M. Townes: 5 picks

Essential theology books of the past 25 years

Katie Geneva Cannon, Katie's Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community. Cannon's collection of essays serves as an excellent introduction to womanist ethics and theology. Readers are treated to literary criticism and social commentary as Cannon looks at the nature of theological reflection through the lens of black women's lives and witness.

Charles H. Long, Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Inter­pretation of Religion. Long challenges us to think through the categories we use in our understanding of religion and to consider the role that theology can play in religious reflection. This tough read is well worth the effort, as Long helps expand our theological imagination with his thorough exploration of the methods used in religious studies.

Peter J. Paris, The Spirituality of African Peoples: The Search for a Common Moral Discourse. Paris focuses on African spirituality to explore the religious and moral values of traditional African religious worldviews. He then shows how these values were retained and modified in African-American moral and theological reflection. This is a must read for those who are seeking to understand how religious values travel from one continent to another.

Larry L. Rasmussen, Earth Community, Earth Ethics. Rasmussen's volume is one of the first books to bring together religion and ecology. He ably synthesizes religion, ethics and environmental science to help us see the ways in which caring for the earth and all that live on it is a deeply theological charge we must keep.

Kathryn Tanner, Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology. Tanner provides us with a historically informed systematic theology to help us explore the meaning of Christian faith in our lives. She makes accessible complex trinitarian language to explore the Christology, methodology, anthropology and eschatology that challenge academicians and laity.

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