June 2014: The Month in Reviews

This past month I read the classic account of the sinking of the Titanic and a book on Christianity’s engagement with classical culture. I explored the idea of the Holy, and the idea of the humanities. I read about immigrant zoologist Louis Agassiz and a contemporary book on the opportunities to serve immigrants. And I explored the diffusion of Christianity around the world in the 20th century, and the fiscal and moral deficits in our federal budgets.  Here’s the list of books I reviewed in June with links to the full review:

1. The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto. Otto coined the term “numinous” and explores the “non-rational” aspects of our encounters with God.

2. The Humanities in Public Life edited by Peter Brooks. This book is the text of symposium presentations and discussions exploring the qualitative worth of the humanities in our public life when they are under fire on the grounds of their utility.

Idea of the HolyHumanities and Public LifeFixing the Moral DeficitGlobal Diffusion


3. Fixing the Moral Deficit by Ronald J. Sider. Sider believes our federal budget deficits reveal a deep moral deficit and he makes faith-informed proposals for how these deficits may be addressed so we don’t bequeath a mess to our children and grand-children.

4. The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism by Brian Stanley. Stanley explores the diffusion of evangelicalism in two senses–both its global spread as well as its increasingly incoherent identity at the end of this time.

5. Louis Agassiz: A Life in Science by Edward Lurie. This biography of Agassiz spans his life and his passion for zoology, his emigration to the U.S. and his pivotal role in the American scientific establishment as well as the challenge presented to his leadership by evolutionary biology.

6. A Night to Remember by Walter Lord. This is the classic account of the sinking of the Titanic, drawn from first hand accounts of survivors. Not recommended reading if you are going on a cruise!

Stranger Next DoorChristianity & Classical CultureNight to RememberAgassiz

7. Christianity and Classical Culture by Jaroslav Pelikan. This is the text of Pelikan’s magisterial Gifford Lectures on the interaction of the Cappadocian fathers (and Macrina) with Hellenistic influences in defining Christian orthodoxy.

8. Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission by J.D. Payne. Payne chronicles the migrations occurring throughout the world and the implications for the mission of the church of hosting so many immigrants in our communities.

I read a few less books than usual this month–a combination of some long books like the Agassiz biography and the Pelikan book–and a major conference I was directing.   But I hope in these reviews you will find something to your liking and look for more next month!

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