Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Box of books: a theology mini-review

Twice a year, a big box of books arrives on my doorstep full of Augsburg Fortress publications. A joyful responsibility I have as a board member is to read through what we are publishing, then share those resources with others. I typically give away almost everything I receive, after reading some and paging through all.

Here are five books that arrived this spring. These are the ones from the academic side of our publishing house I found particularly fascinating. There are far more amazing books published this year by Fortress Press, these are just a few that actually arrived in my sample box.

Notice the range: from full-length inquiry into figures like St. Paul, to focused attention to an amazing historical text, the 95 theses, from a devotional book on ordinary time in the church calendar, to a unique atlas, to an emerging voice in the faith & science dialogue. This is what I love about Fortress Press.

Sanders book on Paul is his magnum opus, a culmination of a life-long study of Paul. He attempts in this book to say everything he knows about Paul. So it's thick. But it's wonderful because, as he says, thumbnail sketches of the historical context of Judaism and Greco-Roman world are important but typically too brief to do much good.

Instead, he offers a compendious study of Paul's actual letters, explaining the contents of his letters and addressing topics and issues as they arise in the letters themselves.

Of this stack, this is the book I will read the most carefully.

Atlas of the European Reformations is beautiful and unique. Since we will be observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, such resources are essential. I will plan to read this book basically as closely as Paul, because I want to understand the Reformation as a European and global phenomenon, and visualizing it helps. I've honestly never seen anything like this book. It fills an important niche.

Everyday God is also unique. It's about Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar, the Sundays after Pentecost Sunday on through Advent. It's a devotional book of sorts, but intriguing in its focus.

Martin Luther's 95 Theses, with an introduction, commentary and study guide by Timothy Wengert, is an important brief introduction to the founding text of the Reformation. The 95 theses are famous but seldom read, and frequently misunderstood. This book can help alleviate the misunderstandings and facilitate more wide reading.

Stars Beneath Us: Finding Do in the Evolving Cosmos is a contribution in the Theology for the People series, works of theology written for a popular audience. This one attempts something unique: a personal narrative of engaging faith and science in tandem. The author's prose sparkles, an added bonus. I'll be reading this one with an adult forum some time soon. It's gripping and beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. Nice collection and excellent analysis! Thanks!