Recent Readings in Philosophy

The following are just some recent philosophy titles that have caught my eye lately. These are the sorts of projects I try to track, so I thought I’d flag some of them down for any others whose interests might overlap with mine. If I can manage to find the time, I’ll provide some additional annotations for a few of these works (they really do deserve better promotions than I’m offering at the moment). For now though, unfortunately, just links will have to suffice — for those that’d care for more info. I will say this though, I’m pleased to see the amount of attention being paid to the burgeoning branch of philosophy getting labeled metaphilosophy. Practically overnight it has overtaken what I previously took to be my interest in epistemology.

Lutheran Reading Suggestions (2)

As the title indicates, this is a second offering of reading suggestions in Lutheranism. Last time I tried to string together some of the bigger splashes from the history of Lutheran theology (here). This time my aims are more modest. I just thought I’d shine a light on a few recent titles that aim to give the reader a sense for where the tradition has been over the course of its history. And I close with a gesture to what you can find Lutheran theologians turning out as nearest the present moment as I can get (though of course there’s plenty more where these came from). So, for those so inclined, consider the following:


  • Eric W. Gritsch. A History of Lutheranism. 2nd Ed. (Fortress, 2010).
  • R. Kolb, Dingel, and Batka, Eds. The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology. (OUP, 2014.)
  • Robert Kolb, Bound Choice, Election, and Wittenberg Theological Method: From Martin Luther to the Formula of Concord, (Eerdmans, 2005).
  • Arand, Kolb and Nestingen, Eds. The Lutheran Confessions: History and Theology of The Book of Concord (Fortress, 2012).
  • Mark Granquist. Lutherans in America: A New History. (Fortress, 2015).
  • Mark C. Mattes, Ed. Twentieth-Century Lutheran Theologians. (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013).
  • Matthew Becker, Ed. Nineteenth-Century Lutheran Theologians, (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016)

Theology and Ethics

  • Joel Biermann, A Case for Character: Towards a Lutheran Virtue Ethics. (Fortress, 2014).
  • Carl Braaten, Ed. Preaching and Teaching the Law and Gospel of God. (ALPB, 2012).
  • Jennifer H. Dragseth, Ed. The Devil’s Whore: Reason and Philosophy in the Lutheran Tradition. (Fortress, 2011).
  • Paul R. Hinlicky, Beloved Community: Critical Dogmatics After Christendom. (Eerdmans, 2015).
  • Ian A. McFarland, From Nothing: A Theology of Creation. (WJNP, 2014).
  • Joshua Miller, Hanging by a Promise: The Hidden God in the Theology of Oswald Bayer, (Pickwick, 2015)

Recommendations in Recent Theology

There’s quite a bit of rich theology being done these days, and I thought I’d like to flag some examples. Though each of these works deserves individual annotations, at the rate I’ve been posting lately, they wouldn’t be forthcoming any time soon. So instead I thought I would share all of them at once. Here, then, are 15 stand-out titles in theology from the past 5 years (give or take).

  • Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’, (Cambridge UP, 2013)
  • Peter Dula, Cavell, Companionship, and Christian Theology, (OUP, 2011)
  • David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss, (Yale UP, 2013)
  • Richard B. Hays, Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness, (Baylor UP, 2014)
  • Jennifer Herdt, Putting on Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices, (UofChicago, 2012)
  • Reinhard Hutter, Dust Bound for Heaven: Explorations in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas, (Eerdmans, 2012)
  • David Kelsey, Eccentric Existence: A Theological Anthropology, (WJNP, 2009)
  • Ian McFarland, In Adam’s Fall: A Meditation on the Christian Doctrine of Original Sin, (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
  • Benjamin Myers, Christ the Stranger: The Theology of Rowan Williams, (Bloomsbury, 2012)
  • Oliver O’Donovan, Self, World, and Time: Ethics as Theology, Vol. 1, (Eerdmans, 2013)
  • Ephraim Radner, A Brutal Unity: The Spiritual Politics of the Christian Church, (Baylor, 2012)
  • C. L. Seow, Job 1-21: Interpretation and Commentary, (Eerdmans, 2013)
  • Denys Turner, Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait, (Yale UP, 2013)
  • James Wetzel, Parting Knowledge: Essays After Augustine, (Cascade, 2013)
  • Frances Young, God’s Presence: A Contemporary Recapitulation of Early Christianity, (Cambridge UP, 2013)

Lutheran Reading Suggestions (1)

If there are any of you who would like to familiarize yourself with some classic Lutheran texts, here are twenty suggestions. I’ve tried to give a sampling from each of the distinguishing eras in Lutheran history, namely, the Reformation, Confessional, Scholastic, Pietist, Modern, and Contemporary periods.

Best Assigned Readings (Fall 13)

These were the most memorable readings I was assigned from my last term of classes.

  • Elizabeth A. Clark, History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn, (Harvard 2004). Read it for an introductory course in historiography. Provides a whirlwind turn of the 20th century’s leading historiographical schools and controversies.
  • Benjamin Kaplan, Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe, (Belknap, 2010). Read it for a course in ecclesiology. Informative and entertaining. Filled with the kind of anecdotes to which historians are privy, and novelists envy.
  • Quentin Skinner, “Sir Geoffrey Elton and the Practice of History,” in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 7 (1997): 301-316. Also read this one for historiography. Elton was a leading mid-twentieth century historian who advocated for a typically modernist, scientific approach to historical inquiry. Skinner helpfully brings to view some of the grave problems with Elton’s approach.
  • Merry Wiesner-Hanks, “Women, Gender, and Church History,” in Church History, vol. 71, (2002): 600-620. Read this one for historiography too. Clearly I was impressed by the readings for that class. Provides a balanced history of the rise of feminist historiography and examines its current status.

Readings Suggestions for Students of Theology

I offer this list of readings for those who already know a thing or two about theology, but still don’t quite feel they’ve attained the level of fluency in the discipline they’d like. These readings will help you along in that journey — by both broadening your exposure to the tradition and sharpening your sense of theological judgment.

  • Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, Rev. Ed., (UCalifornia, 2000)
  • Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, (Yale, 1993).
  • Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, 3rd Ed., (Oxford, 2011)
  • David Kelsey, Proving Doctrine: The Uses of Scripture in Modern Theology, (T&T Clark, 1999)
  • Fergus Kerr, After Aquinas: Versions of Thomism, (Blackwell, 2002)
  • Gilbert Meilaender, The Way that Leads There: Augustinian Reflections on the Christian Life, (Eerdmans, 2007)
  • Stephen Mulhall, “Theology and Narrative: the Self, the Novel, the Bible,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 69, No 1, (2011), 29-43.
  • Katherine Sonderegger, “The Identity of Jesus Christ in the Liturgy,” Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage, Eds., Beverly Gaventa and Richard Hays, (Eerdmans, 2008), 285-300.
  • William Placher, The Domestication of Transcendence: How Modern Thinking about God Went Wrong, (Westminster John Knox, 1996)
  • Kathryn Tanner, God and Creation in Christian Theology, (Fortress, 2004)
  • James Torrance, Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace, (IVP, 1997)
  • Geoffrey Wainwright, Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine and Life: A Systematic Theology, (Oxford, 1984)
  • John Webster, Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch, (Cambridge, 2003)
  • Robert Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God, (Yale, 2005)
  • Rowan Williams, “Postmodern Theology and the Judgment of the World,” Postmodern Theology: Christian Faith in a Pluralist World, Ed. Frederick Burnham, (Harper, 1989), 92-112.
  • Telford Work, Living and Active: Scripture in the Economy of Salvation, (Brazos, 2001)

Big Splashes in Contemporary Theology

Ten of the Biggest Splashes in Theology Since 1990

This list is an attempt at taking the pulse of theology as it’s being practiced now. Read these and you’ll gain some sense for the field’s prevailing interests (I’m still working through it myself). But be forewarned, these aren’t for beginners. They will demand a lot from you, and you won’t agree with everything they have to say. Note that I limited myself to “systematic” theologians (meaning that I didn’t give consideration to works by biblical scholars, moral theologians, or church historians). You’ll also find that it’s biased toward Protestants and English-speakers (giving you a sense for my limits).

(so in alphabetical order by author)

also worth noting …

  • William Cavanaugh, Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics, and the Body of Christ, (Blackwell, 1997)
  • Bruce McCormack, Orthodox and Modern: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth, (Baker, 2008)
  • Catherine Pickstock, After Writing: on the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy, (Blackwell, 1997)

(Agree with the list? Did I omit one of your favorites? What substitutions would you make?)