Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reading Goals for 2011

Over the last eight years, I have collected quite a few books due to recommendations from professors or references within other books.  Now that I'm in the midst of a break from school, I want to try and catch up on some of that reading.  I have had a tendency to read a bunch of shorter books and to put off the larger volumes that will take me a while to read.  In 2011, I want to read through some of those larger volumes that I've collected.  In order to leave room for me to also read some other shorter volumes, I am going to make a modest goal of reading 12 large volumes (by that, I mean books that are for the most part 500 or more pages).  Here's my list:

1 and 2.  I want to read volume 1 of Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics, which is in two books.  J.R. Daniel Kirk, a Duke Ph.D who teaches NT at Fuller Theological Seminary is starting an online group to read through the entire CD in seven years (  I plan to participate in this group.  He has a tentative reading plan for 2011 which includes reading through volume 1.  Since 1.1 is shorter, we'll read that in four months and then have eight months to finish 1.2.  That sounds doable to me, and since many Barth scholars encourage people to read Barth slowly, that will give me time to do that.  It will also give me time to work through the Latin passages as well.  I'm looking forward to it!
3.  Walter Brueggemann's Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy.  I started reading this a few years ago, got a few hundred pages in, got distracted, and never got back to it.  This time, I want to read from beginning to end.  I think it will be nice to read this volume alongside Barth as well.
4 and 5.  Ben Witherington III's two volume NT theology, The Indelible Image: The Theological and Ethical World of the New Testament.  Volume 1 is The Individual Witnesses and Volume 2 is The Collective Witness.  I plan to read this immediately after reading Brueggemann, which I think will be interesting for two reasons.  One, I'll read an OT and NT theology.  Two, Brueggemann and Witherington have some similarities and differences in their approaches to reading Scripture.  They both would keep theology and ethics together and blend critical scholarship with readings in and for the church.  At the same time, Bruggemann is a mainline Protestant while Witherington is more or less an evangelical (even though he is ordained in a mainline Protestant denomination [UMC]).  Should be fun to work through both!
6.  Stanley Grenz's Theology for the Community of God.  I've read a few of Grenz's shorter volumes (e.g., Primer on Postmodernism) and want to read through his magnum opus.
7.  N.T. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God, the first volume from his Christian Origins and the Question of God series.  I would like, in the next couple years to read through the three volumes that have been released so far, so I might as well start with the first one.
8.  Since a few of the Ph.D programs I am interested in are Roman Catholic schools (e.g., Marquette and Dayton), I need to do some more reading on Thomas Aquinas.  While I'm not necessarily reading one big volume, these "smaller" books ad up to one big volume.  What I want to do is read Nicholas Healy's Thomas Aquinas: Theologian of the Christian Life again (it was a text book in one of my classes at ESR) and Fergus Kerr's Thomas Aquinas: A Very Short Introduction.  Then I want to read Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt's Holy Teaching: Introducing the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas, which includes various passages from the ST with Bauerschmidt's introductions and commentary.
9.  Everett Ferguson's Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries.  As a SCM person who is interested in the sacraments and the fathers, Ferguson is a towering figure.  While I don't have a copy of the book yet, I hope to get it in the near future.
10.  A Secular Age by Charles Taylor.  I keep on seeing references to Taylor (and in particular this volume) in a lot of my reading (from James K.A. Smith to Stanley Hauerwas), so I need to actually read Taylor.  I need to either purchase a copy or borrow one from a local library.
11.  The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.  I've read Crime and Punishment and The Idiot, but haven't read BK yet.  2011 is the year that I finally read it.
12.  The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.  I need to read more fiction and Franzen seems like a great figure in modern literature for me to start reading.

I think this list is doable and it will also give me some room to read some shorter books, like some of Hauerwas' shorter volumes of essays that I haven't read yet, or some of Barth's smaller books, like The Humanity of God or The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life.  To get through it, however, I need to be more disciplined in how I spend my time and put this list on the wall in my office right next to the desk.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

15 Authors in 15 Minutes

The Invitation Guidelines:  Don't take too long to think about it.  Fifteen authors (poets included) who have influenced you and that will always stick with you.  List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag at least 15 of your friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing which authors you choose.  To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste the rules in a new note, cast your 15 picks and tag people in the note.

1.  Karl Barth
2.  Stanley Hauerwas
3.  James K.A. Smith
4.  William Robinson
5.  William Cavanaugh
6.  Stanley Grenz
7.  Ludwig Wittgenstein
8.  Robert Webber
9.  D.H. Williams
10.  N.T. Wright
11.  J.R.R. Tolkein
12.  C.S. Lewis
13.  John Howard Yoder
14.  Michael Crichton
15.  J.K. Rowling