Earlier this month, I posted my list of Best Books of 2016. It is a list that includes fiction, history, biography, as well as books on theological subjects. Not so this list. When I compiled the list of “most viewed” reviews, all of those had some connection to theological subjects, ranging from Thomas Oden’s memoir to books concerning beginnings, end times, and everything in between! I think that tells me something about at least one of this constituencies of this blog.
The list below goes from the most viewed in descending order rather than a countdown. By no means is the number of views a judgment on the quality of the work–rather it simply reflects your interest–or how well I enticed you to look at the review. There is a link at the end of the brief write up about each book to the full review.
1. Paul’s New Perspective, Garwood P. Anderson. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. This was also my “book of the year” but even before that, it far outstripped any other review this year (or ever!). I think the interest in the “New Perspective” debate, and the proposal of this book for a different way that helps reconcile the two may have contributed to the interest. So glad to see this, because the author is a former colleague and good friend. (Review)
2. Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian, Michelle Lee-Barnewall. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016. Again, a book that purports to reconcile conflicting perspectives. This received an Award of Merit in the Christianity Today 2017 Book Awards. (Review)
3. Gods That Fail: Modern Idolatry and Christian Mission (revised edition), Vinoth Ramachandra. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2016. This book explores the false gods of late modernity and how they present both external challenges to Christian witness, and vitiate from within the mission of the church. (Review)
4. The Lost World of Adam and Eve, John H. Walton. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2015. This builds on Walton’s earlier work (and the next book on this list!) bringing Ancient Near East texts and contexts to bear on our understanding of Genesis 2 and 3. (Review). This was an Award of Merit book in Christianity Today’s 2016 Book Awards. (Review)
5. The Lost World of Genesis One, John H. Walton. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009. Walton argues from our knowledge of the ancient cultures in Israel’s context that Genesis 1 is a functional account of how the cosmos is being set up as God’s temple rather than an account of material origins. (Review)
6. Silence and Beauty, Makoto Fujimura (foreward by Philip Yancey). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. This was also one of my Best Art and Faith books. A wonderful reflection on Shusaku Endo’s Silence (recently released as a Martin Scorsese film). (Review)
8. The Last Days According to Jesus, R. C. Sproul. Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2015 (originally published in 1998). This caught me by surprise at the interest in a reissued book defending a “moderate preterist” reading of Matthew 24 and parallel passages. (Review)
9. The Future of Biblical Interpretation, Stanley E. Porter and Matthew R. Malcolm, eds. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2013. A festschrift for Anthony Thiselton. I was surprised at the interest in this work given my assessment that “I’m not sure this is a future of biblical interpretation I can commend.” (Review)
10. Strong and Weak, Andy Crouch. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. Crouch’s most recent work contends for the paradoxical relatedness of strength and weakness, and how they must be held together for human flourishing. (Review)
Some year, I hope one of the sports books I review makes this list, or perhaps a presidential biography or contemporary work of fiction. (My review of Dorothy Sayers The Nine Tailors just missed making the list and for some reason a review from a previous year of Walter Wangerin’s The Book of the Dun Cow would have made the list if written in 2016.) I do hope readers of the blog will explore some of my reviews on other subjects–I find it utterly crucial to read widely to remember the world context for which we do theological work–and I think I might go crazy if I read only theological texts! But I am glad that (at least most) of these did make the list.
Stay tuned on Friday for my Most Viewed Posts That Weren’t Reviews!