This post was originally posted in December 2016 and was republished in April 2017 by accident when I published Books of Divinity School: First Year, Second Semester

It seems like I am constantly in search of recommendations for high quality books.  Here is a list of some of the better books and articles I read or referenced during the first semester of divinity school (we read some of all of them and all of some).  Most of them were assigned for a class.  Some were books I consulted while working on a project or paper.  If you see anything about which you have a question, let me know and I will try to answer.

What books or authors of this nature do you recommend?

All of the books listed below prompt thought and are well written.  They are not in any particular order, except I tried to group them by general topic.

  1. The Jewish Study Bible 2d ed. (University Press 2014) (this is the only book on which I’ll comment here–if you are interested in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible at all, you should buy this book; the TANAKH translation is highly readable, and the study notes, introductions, and articles are highly informative).
  2. John Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 2nd ed. (Fortress, 2014).
  3. Bruce C. Birch et al., A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament (Abingdon Press 2005).
  4. Carol A. Newsom, Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacqueline E. Lapsey, eds., Women’s Bible Commentary (Westminster John Knox Press 2012).
  5. John Neafsey, A Sacred Voice is Calling (Orbis Books 2006).
  6. Craig Dykstra, “Pastoral and Ecclesial Imagination,” in Dykstra and Bass, eds., For Life Abundant, 41-61 (William B. Eardmans Publishing Co. 2008).
  7. Barbara J. Blodgett, “Prophet, Priest, or King,” at 139-174, in Become the Pastor You Hope to Be (Ablan 2011).
  8. Gregory C. Ellison II, Cut Dead But Still Alive (Abingdon Press 2013).
  9. Michael Lindsay, Faith in the Halls of Power: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Oxford University Press 2007).
  10. Obrey M. Hendricks, Jr., The Politics of Jesus (Three Leaves Press 2006).
  11. Michael O. Emerson & Christian Smith, Divided by Faith (Oxford University Press 2000).
  12. Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, & George M. Marsden, The Search for Christian America (Helmers & Howard 1989).
  13. Nathan O. Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (Yale University Press 1989).
  14. George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture (Oxford University Press 2006).
  15. Karen Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths (Ballantine Books 2005).
  16. Caitlin Carenen, The Fervent Embrace:  Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel (New York University Press 2012).
  17. Stephen Spector, Evangelicals and Israel (Oxford University Press 2009).
  18. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963).
  19. Phyllis Tribble. “Eve and Adam: Genesis 2–3 Reread.” 74–81 in Womanspirit Rising, eds. C. Christ and J. Plaskow. HarperSanFrancisco, 1979.
  20. Carolyn Osiek. “Reading the Bible as Women.” New Interpreters Bible I:181–187.
  21. James Earl Massey. “Reading the Bible as African Americans.” New Interpreters Bible I:154–160.
  22. Robert Allen Warrior. “A Native American Perspective: Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians.” Pp. 277–285 in Voices from the Margin, ed. R. Sugirtharajah (Orbis 1991).
  23. Matthew Vines, God and the Gay Christian:  The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Convergent Books 2014).
  24. Flanders, et al. People of the Covenant, 4th ed. (Oxford 1996).
  25. Kramer, “The Muslim Witness” (Chapter 10), from World Scriptures (Paulist 1986).
  26. Mahmoud M. Ayoub, Islam:  Faith and History (Oneworld 2004).
  27. Clark Pinnock. “How I Use the Bible in Doing Theology.” Originally published in The Use of the Bible in Theology: Evangelical Options, ed. R. Johnston. John Knox (1985).
  28. Robin Scroggs. “The Bible as Foundational Document.” Interpretation 49 (1995) 17–30.
  29. Renita Weems. “Reading Her Way through the Struggle: African American Women and the Bible.” Pp. 57–77 in Stony the Road We Trod, ed. C. Felder. Fortress, 1991.
  30. Tim Keller, Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism (Viking 2015).
  31. Vincent L. Wimbush, The Bible and African Americans:  A Brief History (Fortress Press 2003).
  32. Chenxin Jiang, “Rewriting the Biblical ‘Curse’ on Womankind,” The Atlantic, November 20, 2016.
  33. Paul Elie, “A Man for All Reasons:  Reinhold Niebhur,” The Atlantic (November 2007).
  34. Reinhold Niebuhr, The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr:  Selected Essays and Addresses (Yale University Press 1986).
  35. Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (Dutton Press 2008).

I took a light load this semester.  Many of my classmates’ lists would be longer than my list.

Also, here is a list of some of the books suggested to me during the semester by people I respect, again in no particular order (I have not had a chance to read these yet):

  1. Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God (Viking Press 2016).
  2. Books by John Inazu on religious liberty.
  3. John Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One (InterVarsity Press 2009).
  4. William Brown, Seven Pillars of Creation:  The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder (Oxford University Press 2010).
  5. Alan Dowty, Israel / Palestine, 3d ed. (Polity 2012).
  6. Kelly Brown Douglas, Sexuality and the Black Church (Orbis Books 1999).
  7. Kelly Brown Douglas, What’s Faith Got to do With it?:  Black Bodies / Christian Soules (Orbis Books 2005).
  8. Justin Lee, Torn:  Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays v. Christians Debate (2013).
  9. Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns:  The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Vintage Books 2011).
  10. William E. Shepard, Introducing Islam 2d ed. (Routledge 2014).
  11. Cynthia A. Jarvis and E. Elizabeth Johnson, eds, Feasting on the Gospels series (West Minster John Knox Press).
  12. Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the HeartThe Power of Boundless Compassion (Free Press 2010).
  13. Books and articles by:  Søren Kierkegaard.
  14. Books and articles by:  Jim Wallis (Sojourners), David P. Gushee (Mercer), Ron J. Sider (Palmer Theological), and James V. Brownson (Western Seminary).
  15. Books and articles by:  James H. Cone, Willie Jennings (Yale), J. Kameron Carter (Duke), Horward Thurman (dec. 1981), Gardner C. Taylor (dec. 2015), Chad Myers (Bartimaeus), Richard Twiss (dec. 2013), Mark Charles (Sojourners), and Tink Tinker (Iliff).
  16. Books and articles by:  Phillip Yancey, Brian McClaren (Finding Faith), and Chip Ingram (Venture).
  17. Books and articles by:  Karl Barth.



(Photograph:  The photograph at the top of the post is a photo of a wall plate in Wingate Hall at Wake Forest University outside a room that I walk past most days.  I usually laugh when I see it and say the phrase “religion supply  closet” in my head, even though I’ve seen it at least 100 times now.)