George Hunsinger: 5 picks
Essential theology books of the past 25 years
Thomas F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church. This book is an exposition of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that draws heavily on patristic sources. If I could recommend only one book that explains the faith that unites the world's more than 2 billion Christians—Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox—this would be it. Learned and profound, it is perhaps Torrance's most readable work.
Alexander Schmemann, The Eucharist. This deeply spiritual meditation on the sacrament of unity that divides the churches does theology by way of reflection on liturgical practices. Westerners who read it will not only learn more about the treasures of Eastern Orthodoxy, they will also become better Christians.
Sarah Coakley, Powers and Submissions: Spirituality, Philosophy and Gender. This beautifully written collection of essays connects feminist theory with both philosophy and prayer. At once dialogical and tough-minded, it contains cutting-edge reflections on questions of gender that keep their moorings in the Nicene faith.
J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account. Vigorous, audacious and groundbreaking, Carter's book, published in 2008, sets the agenda for theology and race for at least the next 25 years. The scope of its scholarship is amazing and endlessly provocative. Whoever would have thought of Maximus the Confessor as an anticolonialist intellectual?
Derek S. Jeffreys, Spirituality and the Ethics of Torture. This simply written book explains why torture is never justified. Jeffreys carefully considers contrary views and finds them wanting. A brilliant account of one of the most troubling moral issues of our time, grounded in a compelling reflection on what it means to be human and to act humanely.