News, VOLUME 12

Ten Theology Books to Watch For [August 2019]

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

[ Last Month’s Best New Theology Books ]

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.



Wondrously Wounded: Theology, Disability, and the Body of Christ

Brian Brock

Baylor University Press

The church welcomes all―or it should.

The church has long proven itself a safe refuge despite the sad reality that it can be, and has been, unwelcoming toward those perceived as different. This is especially true of the contemporary church’s response to those with disabilities―a response often at surprising variance with its historic practices of care. The church once helped shape western morality to cherish these individuals with love and acceptance. It is thus ironic when today’s church neglects this care, or practices care with no awareness of the rich theological history out of which such moral sensibilities originally emerged. In  Wondrously Wounded, Brian Brock reclaims the church’s historic theology of disability and extends it to demonstrate that people with disabilities, like all created in God’s image, are servants of God’s redemptive work.

Brock divides his volume into five parts. Part one chronicles how early Christianity valued and cared for those with disabilities, putting into practice Jesus’ teachings about divine mercy in decidedly countercultural ways. Part two details how a rise in the fear of disability tempted the church away from these merciful practices as well as its confession of the infinite worth of all God has created. Part three traces how the fear of difference continues to negatively shape contemporary practices in today’s schools, churches, and politics. Part four lays the foundations of a vision of Christian life that is resistant to this pervasive fear. Finally, Part five shows how the recognition of all people as part of the body of Christ not only demonstrates the love of Christ but displaces the fear of disability in a manner that invites the church beyond even the most ambitious contemporary hopes for full inclusion.

Brock interweaves his historical and theological analysis with the narrative of his own disabled son, Adam. These stories vividly bring into view the vulnerability, as well as the power, of the disabled in contemporary society. Ultimately, Brock argues, those with disabilities are conduits of spiritual gifts that the church desperately needs.  Wondrously Wounded is an appeal to the church to find itself broken and remade by the presence of Christ on offer in the lives of those society has labeled “disabled.”






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Humility (The Virtues Series)

Jennifer Cole Wright, Ed

Oxford UP

The 21st century has seen a renewed interest in cultivating positive character traits, or virtues, to foster personal growth. Humility is a virtue that has long been understood–especially by early theological thinking and Western philosophers–through its associations with meekness and servility. Even in more recent, secular contexts, humility is associated with low-mindedness, self-denigration, and even self-loathing. While it seems paradoxical that this virtue can be developed to achieve a sense of well-being, this volume provides a comprehensive exploration of humility as an admirable and desirable trait that allows us to place the needs of others before our own, keep our accomplishments in perspective, and fully realize our small place in the world.

In a series of multidisciplinary essays spanning religious and secular traditions, this volume introduces readers to the many facets of humility. Essays explore perspectives from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam on the role of humility in determining how we should align ourselves with a higher spiritual power. Other essays examine the epistemic value of humility in the development of knowledge, and the applied nature of this virtue within the professional fields of politics, business management, nursing and hospice care, and competitive sports. This collection concludes by considering the possibility of humility as the most important virtue, foundational to the moral development and expression of all other virtues.

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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