Books, Books, Wonderful Books

By , December 14, 2011 11:47 pm

Last month I attended the annual gathering for the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature
in San Francisco (AAR/SBL). One of the highlights at AAR/SBL are the books, books, wonderful books! Each year dozens and dozens of publishers, small and large, display their wares in a large exhibit hall. Resistance was futile the moment I walked into the room. So here’s a list of the damage I did this year:

1. Who is Christ for Us by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Facets (Fortress Press, 2002))
Contains choice excerpts from Bonhoeffer’s Christology Lectures in 1933, with some good essays by Renate Wind and Craig Nessan. The full version is available in Berlin: 1932-1933 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 12).

2. Discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 4) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Fortress Press, 2003)
A Christian classic and one of Bonhoeffer’s early works. It is slow reading and few people get past the first chapters (myself included). One of my 2012 resolutions is to read the book entirely (Check back with me at this time next year).

3. Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 6) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Fortress Press, 2005)
I am growing increasingly interested in ethics, so I bought another Bonhoeffer classic, which is even more challenging to read than Discipleship. Hope to begin reading this one soon.

4. I am Bonhoeffer: A Credible Life-a Novel by Paul Barz (Fortress Press, 2008)
The description of this book piqued my curiosity: “From deep immersion in Bonhoeffer’s own papers and the scholarship about him, Barz’s narrative imagines Bonhoeffer’s looking back to his childhood and family; his education and turn to theology and ministry; his travels to Spain, America, and London; his leadership of the underground seminary at Finkenwalde; his growing opposition to the Third Reich; and his decisive involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler.” I am reading this one now!

5. Bonhoeffer and King: Their Legacies and Import for Christian Social Thought edited by Willis Jenkins and Jennifer M. Bride (Fortress Press, 2010)
A book about two of my favorite preacher/theologian/activists! What’s not to like? Current leaders in Christian social thought reassess these two giants lives, by addressing their thinking on race, reconciliation, nonviolence, political violence, Christian identity, and ministry. Another one I am reading now.

6. Eating and Drinking by Elizabeth Groppe  and Parenting by David Jensen (Fortress Press, 2011)
These two books are part of Compass: Christian Explorations of Daily Living. Fortress Press was offering a two-for-one deal so I chose these two from the series. Each book is trying to do accessible practical theology. Other titles include, working, shopping, and playing. I love the idea!

7. Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics edited by Joel B. Green (Baker Academic, 2011)
A must have reference book on Christian ethics for students, pastors, and scholars. Baker Academic hasn’t released the book yet so I am happy to have obtained an advance copy through AAR/SBL.

One last note: You can probably see a major theme in my list, i.e. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While I already own a copy of Discipleship, my goal is to collect all fifteen volumes of the recently completed Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works series by Fortress Press, a monumental achievement in Bonhoeffer scholarship, with some of Bonhoeffer’s writings that have never been available in English until now.

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