Barrow, J. D. and Tipler, F. J., The Anthropic Cosmological
This is the most extensive treatment of the question, including its history, and addresses anthropic properties at all levels of organization. Heavily mathematical, but a good deal of the meat of the argument can be gotten by reading around the equations. The last two chapters are heavily speculative and not as convincing as the rest of the book.
Comins, N. F., What If The Moon Didn't Exist? Voyages To Earths
That Might Have Been (P)
This astronomer explores various aspects of the earth by altering physical parameters, sometimes by small amounts, and then imagining the consequences for life. The physical predictions are straight forward; most of the biological extrapolations look overly optimistic to this biologist, and many of these alternate Earths look sterile or unfriendly to human life.
Davies, P., The Mind of God
Davies explores various aspects of the physical universe as they reveal underlying order and intimations of meaning. Includes a less mathematical treatment of some anthropic aspects of the universe; not a theistic perspective.
Dillard, Annie, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (P)
Incomparable essays about the relations between the natural world, ourselves and God. As powerful in her writing as Hopkins, she exceeds him in the coherence with which she treats predation, pain and death. Repays re-reading.
Gribbin, J. and Rees, M., The Stuff of the Universe
This is a mostly non-mathematical treatment of the Anthropic principle and principally addresses anthropic properties of physical constants and components of the universe.
Houston, J., Reported Miracles; a Critique of Hume
This work by a philosopher of religion reviews the positions of Augustine, Aquinas, Locke and Hume on miracles and makes a case that Hume's critique of miracles is unfounded without additional premises for which Hume offers no warrant. Also includes a brief but clear treatment of epistemology. Dense but readable.
Lewis, C. S., Miracles: A Preliminary Study (P)
Lewis addresses the metaphysical status of miracles and their possible relations to natural law.
Mott, Nevill, ed., Can Scientists Believe?
This collection of essays spans a very wide range of religious beliefs held by the scientists writing the essays. They include an atheist Russian and an Orthodox Jew, as well as many traditions in between.
Peacocke, Arthur, Intimations of Reality (P)
A brief discussion of the relations between theology and science. Includes a useful discussion of the role of metaphor in both and of their epistemological similarities. Clear but dense; cannot be read quickly.
Polkinghorne, J., Faith of A Physicist
Polkinghorne, a particle physicist, presents a systematically developed natural theology, using the clauses of the Nicene creed for organization. Clear but fairly dense; may require several readings.
Polkinghorne, J., Science and Creation
Polkinghorne explores creation, being and becoming, the nature of time and God's involvement in it and other topics in natural theology.
Polkinghorne, J., Science and Providence; God's Interaction with the World
Polkinghorne discusses subjects such as miracles, providence, healing and evil principally from a perspective based in natural theology. Helpful development of quantum mechanics and chaotic systems as offering the physical basis for genuine openness and becoming, and of a metaphysic for consciousness.
Polkinghorne, J., Serious Talk; Science And Religion In Dialogue (P)
This series of eight talks gives an informal and briefer treatment of Polkinghorn's approaches to creation, providence and other topics in natural theology. Can be read by itself or serve as an introduction to the longer works.
Templeton, J., ed., Evidence of Purpose
A collection of essays by scientists and theologians about the evidence for purpose in the universe.
Davidman, Joy, Smoke on the Mountain (P)
Reflections on the ten commandments and their significance in a contemporary context.
Fogelman, Eva, Conscience and Courage
Fogelman investigates the psychology of the individuals who helped Jews during the Nazi persecutions. Moving and insightful.
Harrigan, J. P., Homosexuality : Test Case for Christian Ethics (P)
A clear and sensitive discussion of ethics, especially sexual ethics, from within the Roman Catholic tradition. Although readers may not agree with all conclusions, the case is built clearly and explicitly so that all components of the discussion can be considered in the course of the argument. Includes sensitive reflections on the gracious character of conjugal sexuality.
Lewis, C. S., The Abolition of Man (P)
Lewis examines the relations between a comprehensive metaphysical naturalism and ethics. Includes a brief summary of quotations from major traditions for the universality of core ethics.
Barrett, C. K., The New Testament Background; Selected Documents (P)
A useful anthology of passages from classical, Jewish, and Christian sources that provides a first-hand sense of the period.
Borg, M. J., Jesus: A New Vision (P)
Borg presents the historical Jesus in the context of first century Judaism, reflecting on the roles of prophet, sage, teacher, and messiah.
Grant, Michael, Jesus: A Historian's review (P)
Grant provides the perspective of a classical historian to this discussion of the historical Jesus.
Habermas, Gary R., Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus (P)
A useful review of the Christian and pagan evidence for the life of Jesus. Tone somewhat tendentious.
Harvey, A. E., Jesus and the Constraints of History
Harvey explores what can be known or eliminated about the historical Jesus by using classical history and philology.
Hengel, Martin, Between Jesus and Paul (P)
Hengel used the epistles, Acts, classical history and philology to consider the character of the early Christian church during the period before the Pauline epistles were written.
Selby, G. R., Jesus, Aramaic, and Greek
Selby presents the evidence for extensive bi-lingualism in classical Palestine and the probability that some of the apostles and Jesus spoke Greek as well as Aramaic. Short and persuasive.
Shanks, Herschel, Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls (P)
A collection of articles from Biblical Archaeology Review that presents a broad cross-section of current studies of the Essenes, the Qumran community, the scrolls, and first century Judaism.
Wilson, Ian, Jesus - The Evidence (P)
A brief, popular summary of archaeological, classical and manuscript evidence of the life of Jesus.
Burridge, Richard A. What are the Gospels?
Burridge addresses the question to what genre the gospels belong. He begins with a clear and helpful discussion of the concept of genre and compares ten bioi (biographies or"lives of...") that flank the period of the gospels to determine what the specific characteristics of Graeco-Roman bioi are. He then exams the gospels for these characteristics, and concludes that all four gospels would have been recognized by readers of the time as"lives of Jesus."
Hengel, Martin, Studies in the Gospel of Mark
Hengel presents historical and philological evidence that Mark was written in Rome, probably in the year 69, and makes a case that the titles of the gospels are original, not assigned later.
Mack, B. L., Q: The Lost Gospel
Mack attempts to reconstruct Q, the hypothetical source used by Matthew and Luke, and then draws theological conclusions from the reconstructed text, which he proposes was a"Cynic"gospel. He does not note that if the authors of the canonical gospels were substantially constrained by their audiences that any"Cynic"author would be equally constrained.
Orchard, Bernard and Riley, Harold, The Order of the Synoptics; Why Three Synoptic Gospels?
Orchard and Riley discuss internal and historical evidence for the Owen-Griesbach hypothesis, which proposed that Matthew was the first gospel, Luke was written second as a"Gentile gospel,"and Mark was written third, combining elements of both. This is a highly readable presentation of the modern evidence supporting the Owen-Griesbach hypothesis, and suggests a motivation for the writing of Mark. They propose that Luke or Paul brought the gospel of Luke to Rome for Peter's approval, which they suggest took the form of public presentations showing the compatibility of Matthew and Luke. This explanation also accounts for the colloquial and lively character of Mark.
Reicke, Bo, The Roots of the Synoptic Gospels
Reicke offers a new synoptic table from which he concludes that the order of Matthew and Luke cannot be explained by their using Mark as a source. He further concludes that the three used traditional oral units, writing independently and close to each other in time (however, his synoptic table is also consistent with the Owen-Griesbach hypothesis: see Orchard and Riley).
Riley, Harold, The First Gospel
Riley presents a reconstruction of a proposed Proto-Matthew, which he suggests was the first gospel written and then used for Luke and Mark.
Robinson, John A. T., Redating the New Testament
Robinson uses higher criticism to explore the possibility that many or all the books of the New Testament were written at earlier dates than the current consensus would yield. While some of the proposed dates are probably too early, he explores a large amount of historical and textual evidence, and it is interesting to see the same tools usually used to date these books later as supporting earlier dates.
Robinson, John A. T., The Priority of John
Robinson uses higher criticism to arrive at the conclusion that portions of John were written as early as 40 A.D., and that the author of John was the disciple John. He goes on from the textual discussion to a somewhat idiosyncratic Christology.
Romer, J., Testament (P)
A popular history of both the Old and New Testaments which also deals with the context and impact of the major translations.
Strange, W. A., The Problem of the Text of Acts
Strange explores the"Western text"of Acts and proposes that the differences can be accounted for if the text used for copying Luke had the author/editor's interlined changes, and two approaches to using the interlined notes were used. Uses extensive Greek.
Torrey, Charles Cutler, The Composition and Date of Acts
Torrey presents philological evidence that Luke used Aramaic sources for the first half of Acts, which focuses principally on the Jerusalem church. Uses extensive Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.
Beguine Spirituality (P)
A short collection of writings by members of these medieval lay communities.
Huxley, Aldous, Grey Eminence (P)
This case study of the Capuchin monk who advised the French king during the Thirty Years War provides both a thoughtful introduction to mystical practice and a sober warning of the dangers of misdirected religious conviction.
Johnston, William, ed., The Cloud of Unknowing (P)
Rest, F., Our Christian Symbols (P)
A brief account of many widely used Christian symbols.
St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul (P)
Waddell, Helen, Peter Abelard (P)
This novel by a distinguished medievalist provides a vivid and moving view of one of the great medieval theologians and a lively sense of this formative period for the church.
Ware, T., The Orthodox Church (P)
Ware provides a useful and thoughtful introduction to the history and theology of this major Christian tradition.
Chesterton, G. K., Orthodoxy (P)
Chesterton presents an unconventional case for orthodoxy in his inimitable style; the discussion here might be described as psychological natural theology.
Furnish, Victor Paul, Jesus According to Paul (P)
Furnish presents a compact summary of Paul's theology.
von Campenhausen, The Fathers of the Greek Church
A brief survey of fathers such as Chrysostom, Justin the Martyr, Origen, and Eusebius.
Witherington, Ben, Paul's Narrative Thought World: the Tapestry of Tragedy and Triumph (P)
This is a extensive examination of the epistles of Paul that reveals the underlying, implicit narrative or story upon which Paul's theology is based. It presents Pauline theology in the language of current literary theory. Best line:
"For Paul, religion was grace and ethics was gratitude."
Baring, A. and Cashford, J., The Myth of the Goddess (P)
A readable and extensive treatment of the goddess religions that preceded and in some cases survived the growth of Judaism and Christianity.
Castleden, R., Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete (P)
An appealing and moving introduction to the Minoan culture, one of the most developed and humane of the Mediterranean goddess-based cultures.
Clift, W. B., Jung and Christianity (P)
Clift develops the points of contact and difference between Jung's thought and orthodox Christianity.
Coates, James, In Mormon Circles; Gentiles, Jack Mormons, and Latter-Day Saints (P)
A succinct account of Mormon history and some aspects of contemporary Mormonism.
Huxley, Aldous, The Perennial Philosophy (P)
Huxley presents a thoughtful synoptic review of the experience of God as at once immanent and transcendent, drawing on most of the major world traditions. Rather unsympathetic to the person of Jesus and orthodox Trinitarian theology.
Imbach, Josef, Three Faces of Jesus (P)
Imbach discusses Jesus from Jewish, Christian and Moslem perspectives.
Pagels, E., The Gnostic Gospels (P)
Pagels discusses the very different perspective Gnostic writers had on written gospels and some of the theology embodied in the Gnostic gospels.
Sardar, Z., and Malik, Z. A., Introducing Muhammed (P)
A brief introduction to Islam through the person of Muhammed
Schumann, H. W., The Historical Buddha (P)
Schumann makes clear the depth of the Buddha's insight in finding a middle way between the extreme asceticism and ritualism of his period and country; it is not an extensive discussion of Buddhist thought.
Barkun, M., Religion and the Racist Right (P)
An historical account of how the anti-semitic militaristic"Christian"groups grew out of the British Israelite movements of the Nineteenth century.
Boston, Why the Religious Right is Wrong (About the Separation of Church and State)
Boston discusses the relations between religion and the state in America from the colonial times.
Corn, Alfred, ed., Incarnation; Contemporary Writers on the New Testament (P)
a series of essays by writers on individual books of the New Testament that offers a wide range of perspectives.
DelBene, Ron, The Hunger of the Heart; A Call to Spiritual Growth (P)
A brief guide to some stages in spiritual growth and a useful description of how to compose a personal"breath prayer."
Gerard Manley Hopkins, A Hopkins Reader (P)
This collection includes most of his poetry and extensive selections from his essays, letters and sermons. Although Hopkins ranges over most of orthodox thought, he is especially concerned with"inscape", the particularities of creatures that reveal inner character and grace.
Hefner, R. W., Conversion to Christianity
Hefner presents sociological studies of areas of the world in their encounters with Christianity. Although the majority of the cases actually deal with groups that do not convert, the book still offers insight into non-Christian encounters with Christianity.
Jones, A., Sacrifice and Delight
A series of reflections nominally on the interior life of ordained ministers, with a deeper message of the priestly character of life for all people.
Lewis, C. S., Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer (P)
Lewis, C. S., Reflections on the Psalms (P)
These essays help with some of the more difficult aspects of the psalms.
Lipstadt, D., Denying the Holocaust
A powerful and disturbing account of the denial movement, its roots and its adherents.
Spong, J. S., Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism (P)
Spong discusses numerous instances where different parts of the Bible are in literal conflict; he does not articulate a coherent, reasoned alternative method of interpretation.
Underhill, Evelyn, The Spiritual Life (P)
Transcripts of a series of radio talks that provides a thoughtful, very brief introduction to a spiritual life in contemporary language.
Weil, Simone, Waiting for God (P)
A collection of several essays by Simone Weil, a French Jew who converted to Christianity, this book includes a brief biography and her essays on the implicit forms of the love of God, which include science and religion. Powerful and insightful.
Wilson, A. N., How Can We Know? (P)
Reflections by a English layman on a contemporary life of faith.
Blish, James, A Case of Conscience (P)
A Jesuit anthropologist is part of the exploration team during a first encounter with an alien intelligent species and wrestles with their status as moral beings.
Lewis, C. S. Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength. (P)
Miller, Walter M., A Canticle for Liebowitz (P)
A future history centered on the life of an order after nuclear war as they face the challenges of a final nuclear conflict.
Niven, Larry, Inferno (P)
A modern version of Dante's Inferno, with elements of his Purgatorio.
Smith, Cordwainer, Norstrilia, Space Lords, The Instrumentality of Man, Quest of the Three Worlds (P)
A humane and sensitive writer, Smith uses the genre of science fiction to explore the meaning of being human in a technological universe. His figures,"the underpeople,"human shaped derivatives of animals, allow him to explore what constitutes"the image of God."Powerful and thoughtful, these books welcome re-reading.
Holmes, D. L., A Brief History of the Episcopal Church (P)
Moorman, J. R. H., The Anglican Spiritual Tradition (P)
Evans, G. R. and Wright, J. R., The Anglican Tradition: A Handbook of Sources (P)
This is a collection of source documents key to the life of the church, beginning in the first century and continuing to the present. Because the early centuries of the church are well represented, this collection can serve as a source book for all traditions for the period before the separations of various present traditions. It also provides insight into one of those traditions (the Anglican) as it continued to develop.