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My best reads in 2007

These aren’t necessarily books that all came out this year, but simply the most memorable and/or helpful books I happened to read this year.  My best read, I would have to say is Herbert McCabe’s What Ethics is All About: A Re-Evaluation of Law, Love, and Language.  A better analysis of Christian ethics, particularly in the context of modernity and capitalism I have yet to find.  In fact, I think it is McCabe’s work that has influenced me the most this year out of all the theologians I have read.  His work is not only brilliant theology, but passionately rooted in homiletical practice and ecclesial piety.  His writings on prayer and sin are truly some of the best discussions I’ve encountered on the topic.

Some other runners up for great reads this year include:

  • Thomas P. Rausch, Towards a Truly Catholic Church: An Ecclesiology for the Third Millennium
  • D. Stephen Long, Calculated Futures: Theology, Ethics, and Economics
  • Chris K. Huebner, A Precarious Peace: Yoderian Explorations on Theology, Knowledge, and Identity
  • Simon Chan, Liturgical Theology: The Church as Worshipping Community
  • Henri de Lubac, Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man
  • Robert Barron, The Priority of Christ: Towards a Postliberal Catholicism
  • John D. Zizioulas, Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church
  • Paul Louis Metzger, Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church
  • Douglas Knight, The Eschatological Economy: Time and the Hospitality of God
  • Bernd Wannenwetsch, Political Worship: Ethics for Christian Citizens
  • N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God
  • John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory (Second Edition – some very important changes and updates)

And here are some of the books that I have not yet gotten to which I am most excited about this year:

  • Rowan Williams, Wrestling with Angels: Conversations in Modern Theology
  • Stanley Hauwerwas, The State of the University
  • Charles Taylor, A Secular Age
  • Mark Lilla, The Stillborn God

8 Comments

  1. Patrick Coleman wrote:

    An interesting list! I have read the Zizioulas, and it is certainly a work of great depth. I wish I felt more competent to grapple with it. The first three quarters of Taylor’s book are excellent. The final pages make an argument for transcendence on the basis of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry, but am I the only on who finds (most of)Hopkins unbearably cloying? Give me Auden any day.

    I’d be curious to know what you thought Milbank’s most important updates were, and whether they meet the criticisms made of him.

    Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Permalink
  2. bobby grow wrote:

    Thanks Halden,

    I will have to check those out, although I am afraid I might become Roman Catholic if I read all those books :-) — at least some of them.

    Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 6:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    Actually, Bobby many of the most ‘Catholic’ of these books have only driven me deeper into my own ecclesial location and further into the historic Free Church tradition. Ironically enough.

    Monday, December 31, 2007 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  4. If you liked McCabe’s LAW, LOVE AND LANGUAGE (the original UK title) — and I consider it one of the three or four most influential books I’ve ever read — you’ll like (and may have seen) his recent THE GOOD LIFE: ETHICS AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, published posthumously by Continuum in 2005. His long-awaited ON AQUINAS (with a forward by Anthony Kenny) is announced for spring. Requiescat in pace. –CGE

    Monday, December 31, 2007 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  5. bobby grow wrote:

    Halden,

    That is ironic, the same thing has happened to me as I have read classically Reformed theologians. While giving me a greater appreciation of some of their thought, it has also reinforced some of my initial misgivings with that particular theological construct.

    Monday, December 31, 2007 at 3:02 pm | Permalink
  6. freder1ck wrote:

    Halden, Bobby:

    Hopkins wrote to Robert Bridges that “The effect of studying masterpieces is to make me admire and do otherwise.” It sounds like you guys are experiencing something similar.

    Monday, December 31, 2007 at 6:12 pm | Permalink
  7. Halden wrote:

    I prefer to think of my way of appropriating what I read as some sort of “non-identical repetition”. I try to enter into reading in a sort of dialogical vulnerability in which I and the text I encounter can have real conversation, real disagreement and, hopefully through such a dialogical reading, I move deeper into the knowledge and love of God.

    Monday, December 31, 2007 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  8. IndieFaith wrote:

    I don’t see Heubner’s book pop up too often. It is a great read.

    Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 8:52 am | Permalink

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