Here are some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:
* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology
See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.
John Walton /
J. Harvey Walton
Our handling of what we call biblical law veers between controversy and neglect. On the one hand, controversy arises when Old Testament laws seem either odd beyond comprehension (not eating lobster) or positively reprehensible (executing children). On the other, neglect results when we consider the law obsolete, no longer carrying any normative power (tassels on clothing, making sacrifices). Even readers who do attempt to make use of the Old Testament “law” often find it either irrelevant, hopelessly laden with “thou shalt nots,” or simply so confusing that they throw up their hands in despair. Despite these extremes, people continue to propose moral principles from these laws as “the biblical view” and to garner proof texts to resolve issues that arise in society. The result is that both Christians and skeptics regularly abuse the Torah, and its true message often lies unheard. Walton and Walton offer in The Lost World of the Torah a restorative vision of the ancient genre of instruction for wisdom that makes up a significant portion of the Old Testament. In the ancient Near East, order was achieved through the wisdom of those who governed society. The objective of torah was to teach the Israelites to be wise about the kind of order needed to receive the blessings of God’s favor and presence within the context of the covenant. Here readers will find fresh insight on this fundamental genre of the Old Testament canon.
Many people today, both Christians and non-Christians, are confused about or unaware of the essentials of Christian faith. In this book, Anna Wierzbicka takes a radically new approach to the task of communicating “what Christians believe” to the widest possible audience. “The Story of God and People,” the heart of the book, sets out the core tenets of Christian faith in narrative form using simple language that is accessible to anyone, even those with no familiarity with Christianity or Christian vocabulary. The Story is not only simple but also universal: though written in English, it is not phrased in full English–English as we know it today, shaped by history, culture, and tradition–but in “Minimal English.” Minimal English contains only those 400 or so English words that can be translated into any other language; essentially, it corresponds to the shared core of all languages.
In the introduction to the book, Wierzbicka explains Minimal English and minimal languages in general, and in “The Story of God and People” that follows, she demonstrates the effectiveness of Minimal English as a tool for global understanding. At the same time, the use of Minimal English allows her not only to retell the Christian story in a strikingly new way, but also to rethink its meaning, bringing into relief its internal cohesion, logic and beauty.