Recommended Reading

I highly recommend reading an essay by CS Lewis titled, "On the Reading of Old Books" written as the introduction to a translation of Athanasius' On the Incarnation.  The point Lewis wants to make is that the ideas we hold do not spring up out of nowhere, that we share much in common with great thinkers of the past.  Yet, those ideas have been twisted and reworked countless times as they trickle down through all the various layers of society, are thrown about in conversation, and rehashed in "modern" books that argue the nuances of various perspectives.  Thus it ends up often being the case that the most clear exposition of some of the most basic ideas that influence us all is to be found not in a supposed "written for dummies" summary of various "isms" but in the original writings of the great thinkers from which these ideas come.  In my own studies, I have found this to be quite true and have often wished that I had begun reading these thinkers a long time ago instead of reading numerous "surveys" which contained only a few quotations from them and usually turned out more confusing than the original work because of the all the derivative debates which the survey intended to parse through.  With that in mind I have made a list of books and authors that I think reflect these great ideas.  This list is not by any means complete (and it will be updated as I read more) and by no means canonical- plenty of people would argue against some of the books and authors I have included here, and certainly their inclusion is an indicator of the influence they have had on my own thinking (though do not take a book or author's inclusion here to mean that I agree with everything they say.  For instance, I vehemently disagree with Plato's ideas on many levels, but still think that the Republic is a fantastic book and well worth reading.).  Several of these thinkers are notoriously difficult to read, and for that reason I have often chosen to include shorter pieces by them which I think are more manageable (so for instance, from Kant I include Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics and not A Critique of Pure Reason or from Barth I include Evangelical Theology and not Church Dogmatics).  Even still, I am not by any means making the claim that these works are "easy" reads, but I think the ideas they expound are very significant ones and that it is very worthwhile to have at least some familiarity with their thought, however much effort that requires.

Books on Philosophy:
Books on Christian Theology:
Athanasius- On the Incarnation
Soren Kierkegaard- Fear and Trembling
Karl Barth- Evangelical Theology: An Introduction
Miroslav Volf- Exclusion & Embrace (Contemporary Work, but extremely relevant)

Books on Biblical Studies:

For the Edification of My Roommates:
Dr. Suess- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish 

And While You're Here... Some Authors I Recommend Checking Out:

Robert Alter

St. Thomas Aquinas


St. Augustine

Karl Barth

Steve Cowan

James DG Dunn

Martin Heidegger

Abraham J. Heschel

Immanuel Kant

Soren Kierkegaard

CS Lewis

Clark Pinnock

Alvin Plantinga


Karl Rahner

Leland Ryken

Jason Snyder

Miroslav Volf

NT Wright

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