We’ve hit that time of the year when bloggers run out of posts to write, so they come up with “top 10” lists of their favorite movies, albums, or what-have-you, of the year. Theology bloggers are no different. For the last few years, I’ve put up my Top 5 Reformedish Books of the year. This is a difficult category in some ways, not only because some years you happen to read a number of very good books, but also you often find that the best books you’ve read in a year, haven’t been published long before. In keeping with past years, though, I’ll simply keep to five books I have read from all years, with a bonus book. Oh, and, of course, these follow in no particular order.
The City of God by St. Augustine. Yes, I know I’m a bit late on the game with this one, but I finally made it to Augustine’s classic defense of Christianity and polemic against the pagans earlier this year and was astonished. I think I wrote about four or five different pieces, but suffice it to say that it proved for me, once again, that time spent with Augustine at any point in your theological career is never wasted.
Systematic Theology: The Doctrine of God, Volume 1 by Katherine Sonderegger. I’ve already joined the choruses praising Sonderegger for her brilliant first volume on the doctrine of God in this promising project. I certainly don’t follow her in all of her conclusions, but the creativity, pastoral, literary, and theological mastery at work, make this a unique delight. More please!
Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 4 Volumes by Richard A. Muller. I wrote about this before, but this year I made it through all four volumes of Muller’s treatment of the Post-Reformation dogmaticians on theological method, doctrine of God, Scripture, and Trinity. They were illuminating volumes, not only from a historical angle, but a theological one. I’ll be returning to these constantly in the future.
The Domain of the Word: Scripture and Theological Reason by John Webster. This collection of essays by eminent theologian John Webster are a treasure trove of theological insight. While not necessarily a consistent, long-range argument, Webster’s treatments of everything from the nature of reason, Scriptural inspiration, principles of systematic theology, theology’s relation to the arts, and the intellectual virtues, are a must-have for students and practioners of the theological craft.
Atonement: A Guide for the Perplexed by Adam Johnson. I’ve read a lot of atonement theology this year, but Johnson’s little volume stands out among them. It’s irenic, multi-faceted, and chocked full of theological insight and good sense. As I’ve said before, it’s not simply a book of atonement theology, but also an introduction to how to read and do atonement theology that both shows and tells. It’s a real gem that I can’t recommend highly enough.
Finally, a special category, I read a fantastic piece of nerdy, fantasy fiction this year: The Name of the Wind which is book one in Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles. Magic, mystery, humor, love, loss, and all that jazz. I can’t wait to jump into volume two once my studies abate over Christmas break.
So there you have it. My top five and a fiction bonus.
Soli Deo Gloria