“Jesus under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus” (Michael J. Wilkins & J.P. Moreland editors)

This is a 1995 anthology responding to the Jesus Seminar. It’s very impressive:  dense, serious, persuasive, straightforward, and concise, with contributions from the likes of William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, Craig Blomberg, Craig Evans, etc. Some notes: In chapter 1, John Meier’s A Marginal Jew is cited favorably as generally supportive. Religious experience can be … [Read more…]

“The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor” (Sally Fitzgerald ed.)

This is a wonderful collection of letters, and a long but very enjoyable read.  The letters reveal that the famous Georgia author was a charming, funny, sensible woman, very Christian and very Catholic.  They end sadly with her untimely death. I noted that she praised C.S. Lewis’s book on prayer and his Miracles (572).  And there … [Read more…]

Michael Grant, “Saint Peter: A Biography”

When you think about it, if you take the New Testament seriously, or even are just trying to decide whether to take it seriously, you would want to know something about not only Jesus but also these men:  Paul, Peter, and James.  These three were authors of the New Testament and also involved in the … [Read more…]

Philip Yancey, “The Jesus I Never Knew”

This was given the 1996 Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year Award.  The author is a popular Christian writer who’s won other awards and is editor-at-large for Christianity Today.  He was born in a Christian home in Atlanta, then became somewhat disillusioned, but came back to the faith. I enjoyed the book, and discuss … [Read more…]

Timothy Keller, “Encounters with Jesus”

The author, a Presbyterian pastor in Manhattan, is one of the great living Christian apologists and writers; my sense is that if you want to read one book by him, one that is most foundational in its apologetics, it would be The Reason for God.  The book I discuss on this post is very good, … [Read more…]

Anthony Birley, “Marcus Aurelius: A Biography”

The biographer is a fan of the emperor, but the book is pretty dry.  There is a separate chapter on the Meditations and a separate appendix on “Christianity.”  I noted that his “[q]uoted letters are like Paul’s in closing and greetings to others.”  And I photocopied and kept pages 99-100 (excluding the carryover paragraphs at … [Read more…]

N.T. Wright, “Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why It Matters”

This book is very good at putting Jesus in historical context.  In this regard, the author uses the analogy of “a perfect storm,” including Rome’s vision versus the Jews’ vision.  Wright’s recurrent complaint is that many Christians today see Jesus as our Redeemer but not as an earthly leader.  Speak truth to power, he says … [Read more…]

Marcus J. Borg, “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally”

This book contains some decent insights on Biblical interpretation, but the author — member of the Jesus Seminar and all that — is always liberal in his conclusions, which becomes annoying and compromises his credibility (versus, say, N.T Wright, a liberal who nonetheless now and then will reach a conservative conclusion based on clear text). … [Read more…]