Below is a list of the better or more interesting books and articles I read for my classwork during the first semester of this past year at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.  It was the third and last year of my Master of Divinity program.

I posted a similar list for each of my first four semesters, herehere, here, and here.

I attempted to group the books and articles by topic.  My classes my first semester, third  year:  New Testament Gospels Interpretation with Dr. Katherine A. Shaner (items 4-12 in the list below), Ancient Hebrew I with Dr. Clint Moyer (13-14), Christian History I with Dr. Eric Estrada (15-19), Classics of Contemplative Theology with Dr. Joshua Canzona (20-28), Third-Year Capstone (mostly purpose and vocational discernment) with Dr. John Senior (29-31), and a Public Theology Internship (32-38).

This list includes around half of our assigned reading.  We read a very large number of primary sources for Christian History that are interesting but are not listed here, and we read many interesting articles for New Testament Gospels Interpretation that are not listed here.

For most of the items listed below, we read the entire work.  For some of them—the Bibles, longer works, etc.—we read only part.

Below my classwork list is a list of some of the other books recommended during the semester by people I trust.

The cite formatting varies and is often non-standard.  It became too time-consuming to standardize all the cites for the purpose of a blog article and my natural cite format after 25 years of law practice (mostly the Blue Book) is different from standard academic formatting.  Maybe you will forgive me?

The ones marked with a ** are the ones I recommend for a broader audience.

The list—

  1. ** The HarperCollins Study Bible, Revised Edition, edited by Harold W. Attridge, San Francisco: HarperOne, 2006.
  2. ** The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Third Edition, New Revised Standard Version, New York:  Oxford University Press, 2001.
  3. ** The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version With the Apocrypha, Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 2003.
  4. Francisco Lozada, “Teaching the New Testament,” in Soundings in Cultural Criticism.
  5. Mark Allen Powell, “Redaction Criticism of the Gospels,” in Introducing the New Testament, Baker Publishing Group, 2009.
  6. ** Joanna Dewey, “The Gospel of Mark as an Oral/Aural Narrative: Implications for Preaching,” Currents in Theology and Mission 44 (2017), pages 7–10.
  7. David Wenham, “Source Criticism,” I. Howard Marshall, ed., New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Principles and Methods, Carlisle: The Paternoster Press, revised 1979, pages 139-152.
  8. Adele Reinhartz, “‘Jews’ and Jews in the Fourth Gospel,” in Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel, ed. by R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele Vanneuville, Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox, 2001, pages 213–30.
  9. Jane Schaberg, “The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene,” in The Christian Testament’s Mary Magdalene, New York: Continuum (2004), pages 204-224.
  10. Matthew James Ketchum, “Haunting Empty Tombs: Specters of the Emperor and Jesus in the Gospel of Mark,” Biblical Interpretation 26 (2018), pages 219-243.
  11. ** Luise Schottroff, The Parables of Jesus, Fortress Press, 2005.
  12. Infancy Gospels of James and of Thomas
  13. Duane A. Garrett and Jason S. DeRouchie,  A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, Nashville: B&H Academic, 2009.
  14. Francis Brown et al., The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, Hendrickson Publishing, 1996.
  15. Everett Ferguson, Church History, Volume One: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context. 2nd Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.
  16. ** Introduction to the History of Christianity. Third Edition. Edited by Tim Dowley. Minnesota, MN: Fortress Press, 2018.
  17. Kevin Madigan, Medieval Christianity: A New History, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015.
  18. ** Chad Meister and James B. Stump, Christian Thought: A Historical Introduction, 2nd edition, New York: Routledge / Taylor & Francis, 2016.
  19. Jean-Pierre Isbouts, The Story of Christianity: A Chronicle of Christian Civilization From Ancient Rome to Today. Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2014.
  20. ** Bernard McGinn, The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism, New York: Modern Library Paperback Edition, 2006.
  21. Farid Ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds, Translated by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis, New York: Penguin Classics, 1984
  22. Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi, Edited and translated by Mahmood Jamal, New York: Penguin Classics, 2010.
  23. Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, Translated by Elizabeth Spearing, New York: Penguin Classics, 1999.
  24. The Book of Margery Kempe, Translated and Edited by Lynn Staley, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001.
  25. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu, Translated by Bernard Wall, New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2001.
  26. ** James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, San Francisco: HarperOne, 2012.
  27. ** The Cloud of Unknowing (The Classics of Western Spirituality Version), Translation and Introduction by James Walsh, 1981.
  28. The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, ed. by Seyyed Hossein Nasr,et al., (2015)
  29. ** Dennis Linn et al., Healing the Purpose of Your Life, New York: Paulist Press, 1999.
  30. ** Suzanne G. Farnham, et. al., Grounded in God, Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1999.
  31. ** Deborah Koehn Loyd, Your Vocational Credo, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015.
  32. Mark A. Schuster, et al., “Beyond Bathrooms — Meeting the Health Needs of Transgender People,” New England Journal of Medicine (July 14, 2016).
  33.  “Gender Dysphoria,” American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Section II, Arlington, Virginia:  American Psychiatric Publishing (2013).
  34. Laura Ungar, “Transgender people face alarmingly high risk of suicide” (August 16, 2015),–suicide-attempts/31626633/.
  35. Peter Foster, “US teenager refused permission to change sex by Christian parents commits suicide,” The Telegraph (January 1, 2015).
  36. Sarah Malm, “Transgender Teenager …,” DailyMail (December 30, 2014).
  37. American Psychological Association, “Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression,”
  38. ** Benjamin R. Knoll and Cammie Jo Bolin, She Preached the Word, New York: Oxford University Press (2018).


Also, here is a list of some of the books suggested to me during the first semester of my third year of divinity school by people I respect, in no particular order (I have not read these):

  1. Behind the Text: History and Biblical Interpretation, Craig Bartholomew et al., eds., Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan (2003).
  2. Peter J. Gomes, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind, HarperOne (2002).
  3. Randolph Richard & Brandon J. O’Brien, Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible, IVP Books (2012).
  4. Neil Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible, Abilene, Texas:  ACU Press (1986).
  5. Christian Smith, The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Brazos Press (2011).
  6. Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, Riverhead Books (1999).
  7. Douglas A. Foster, The Story of the Churches of Christ, Abilene, Texas:  Abilene Christian University Press (2013).
  8. Ed Harrell, Sources of Division in the Disciples of Christ, 1865-1900: A Social History of the Disciples of Christ, Volume 2, University Alabama Press (2003).
  9. Earl Irvin West, The Search for the Ancient Order: A History of the Restoration Movement, Volumes 1-4, Religious Book Service (1990).
  10. Foster Stanback, Into All Nations: A History of the International Churches of Christ, IPI (2005).
  11. Les Ferguson Jr., Still Wrestling: Faith Renewed through Brokenness, Abilene, Texas:  Leafwood Publishers (2018).
  12. Shawn Copeland, Enfleshing Freedom, Fortress Press (2009).
  13. Richard Rohr, The Immortal Diamond, Jossey-Bass (2013).
  14. Austen Hartke, Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, Westminster John Know Press (2018).
  15. David Weekley, Retreating Forward: A Spiritual Practice with Transgender Persons
  16. Virginia Mollenkott, Omnigender
  17. Justin Tanis, Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith (Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry)
  18. Linda Herzer, The Bible and the Transgender Experience: How Scripture Supports Gender Variance
  19. James V. Brownson, Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships
  20. Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs:  The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, The Crossroad Publishing Co. (2003).
  21. The Failure and the Hope: Essays of Southern Churchmen, Will D. Campbell & James Y. Holloway, eds., Wipf & Stock Publishers (2004).
  22. Dallas Lee, The Cotton Patch Evidence: The Story of Clarence Jordan and the Koinonia Farm Experiment, Wipf & Stock Publishers (2011).
  23. Will D. Campbell & James Y. Holloway, Up to Our Steeples in Politics, Wipf & Stock Publishers (2004).
  24. Yves Congar, The Meaning of Tradition, Ignatius Press (2004).
  25. Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, HarperOne (1996).
  26. Carol Meyers, Rediscovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context, Oxford University Press (2012).
  27. James Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, Orbis Books (2013).


What books would you add to this list of theological books to read?  I would love to hear from you.

Happy reading!









(The picture is one I took of the front of Wingate Hall, which houses the Divinity School at Wake Forest University.)