A few books wot I read recently that I fort were good

I read lots and lots of books but some stand out as especially interesting. Here are a few that struck me recently:

E. Janet Warren, Cleansing the Cosmos: A Biblical Model for Counteracting Evil (Pickwick, 2012).

This one is a fascinating attempt to build a very different biblical model for understanding and resisting evil than the standard "spiritual warfare" metaphor. Warren argues that this battle metaphor is actually a lot less prevalent in the Bible than its dominance would lead one to believe (and not always pastorally helpful). Her alternative is to develop a very interesting spatial model for engaging evil in which evil exists at the liminal boundaries of the reality of divine presence. She traces the model through biblical teachings on Creation, Cult, Christ, and Church. Thought-provoking stuff.

Jamie Howison, God's Mind in That Music: Theological Explorations through the Music of John Coltrane (Cascade, 2012)

This book is an unexpected gem. It is so well written and so very helpful as a guide to the general issue of theology and music and also as a way in to the music of John Coltrane. I had not bothered to listen to too much Coltrane before I read this but now I have got myself several albums. It is the theology and music equivalent of a well-run wine-tasting course.

Oliver Davies, Meister Eckhart: Mystical Theologian (Reprint. SPCK, 2011)

This one was an impulse buy. I had no special interest in Eckhart (fourteenth-century Dominican and mystical theologian). But Oliver Davies knows his mystical onions and offers here a very helpful guide to this oft-perplexing theological mind. The first section introduces Eckhart in his social and historical context, the second part focuses on his theology, especially his theology of mystical union with God, and the third section offers reflections on Eckhart's use of language, his Christian orthodoxy, and his influence. Good stuff.

Kyle Roberts, Emerging Prophet: Kierkegaard and the Postmodern People of God (Cascade, 2013)

Here Roberts, a Kierkegaard scholar and emerging church missional theologian, gives us a solid and stimulating set of reflections on the prophetic contemporary relevance of the nineteenth-century Danish writer Søren Kierkegaard. I thought that this would be good but it is not—it is great. (And the cover alone is enough to make one weep with joy.)

Dru Johnson, Biblical Knowing: A Scriptural Epistemology of Error (Cascade, 2013)

There has been a lot of work by Christian scholars in recent years on philosophical and theological epistemology but precious little on the implications of biblical teaching on "knowing" for philosophical and theological reflections. This book fills that gap ... with a vengeance! The author is one of that most rare breed—someone trained in both philosophy and biblical studies. I have done quite a lot of thinking on the Bible and epistemology over the years (I even co-edited a very good volume on the subject) and I can say without hesitation that this is by far the best book I have read on the issue—it really made me start thinking about things in different ways. Highly recommended. If this does not generate some discussions I will eat my hat.


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