News, Theology

Ten Theology Books to Watch For – June 2023

Here are some excellent new theology books * that will be released in June 2023 :

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

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Breaking Bread: The Emergence of Eucharist and Agape in Early Christian Communities

Alistair Stewart

(Eerdmans)

What’s the difference between eucharist and agape? And how did each come to be?

The liturgies of early Christians are often obscure and variegated in the historical record. This is especially true of the eucharist, where the basic practice of communal eating is difficult to disentangle from other contemporary meals, whether Greco-Roman or Jewish practices—or the ill-defined agape meal.

In Breaking Bread, Alistair C. Stewart cuts through scholarly confusion about early Christian eating. Stewart pinpoints the split in agape and eucharist to the shift in celebrating the eucharist on Sunday morning, leading to the inception of agape as an evening meal. The former sought divine union, the latter, communal harmony. In the final chapter he explores a breadth of Syriac, Greek, and Latin primary sources on a variety of local eucharistic traditions, tracing their development into the familiar prayers and distribution of token amounts of bread and wine, which emerged in the third century.

Nuanced and well-researched, Breaking Bread clarifies the development of the blessed sacrament and its lesser-known counterpart. Theologians and historians of early Christianity will find Stewart’s work foundational in approaching a topic of enduring scholarly interest but elusive consensus.


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In Trembling Boldness: Wisdom for Today from Ancient Jesus People

Natalie R. Perkins and Hal Taussig

(Broadleaf Books)

Many of us have heard about the recently discovered writings by the early followers of Jesus through newspapers, magazines, video and audio interviews, and conversations on social media. This enlightening, first-of-its-kind book draws on the words and wisdom of these ancient Jesus people to offer everyone deeper spiritual connection today.

Using examples from modern life to introduce dozens of excerpts from texts like The Odes of SolomonThe Gospel of Thomas, and The Thunder: Perfect Mind, In Trembling Boldness draws meaning and connection between ancient followers of Jesus and the most pressing issues of today, including LGBTQ+ inclusion, incarceration, addiction, immigration, violence, illness, the work of social justice, civil disobedience, and more.

As we ruminate on these sacred words applied to contemporary life and take in beautiful images of the ancient texts recorded on papyrus and pottery, we discover new understandings and deeper connection to God and each other–making space in our hearts for the words of these ancient Jesus people.

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