May 16, 2012
I was going to say Paradise Lost, but I see that that is already in the book. One that isn't there, however, is "In Memoriam" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Tennyson's reflections on the meaning life, death, and the growing conflict between science and religion are still powerfully relevant. Also Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray is a great read.
Anything by Flannery O'Connor esp. Wise Blood and other stories.
For Americans in particular, situated as we are in a consumerist---yet gnostic, liberal and individualistic---yet religion-infused culture I'd nominate as a start, in no particular order, (1) Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, (2) MacIntyre's After Virtue, (3) Max Frisch's I'm Not Stiller, (4) Chardin's The Divine Milieu, (5) Sandel's Justice.
Somewhere in there should also be (again, in no particular order) Kuhn, Polanyi, Kuyper, Berger, Skillen, Monsma, Walzer, Hauerwas, Augustine, Berry, Calvin, Luther, Dawn, Foster...
Here's what I'd add to the Essentials list (and I only had the chance to quickly scan the TOC on Amazon, so I apologize if any of these are already in there and my eye skipped over them):
â€”Lesslie Newbigin, "The Gospel in a Pluralist Society"
â€”John Howard Yoder, "The Politics of Jesus"
â€”Ronald Sider, "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger"
â€”James Cone, "God of the Oppressed"
â€”Martin Buber, "I and Thou"
â€”The texts of the other major religions of the worldâ€”including (among others) the Talmud, the Qu'ran, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Tao Te Ching.
The list is fantastic, but I'd probably add something by Chaim Potok (The Chosen or My Name is Asher Lev), The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.
Great suggestions so far. I also think Christine Pohl's Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition is an important and worthwhile read.
Lreilly: Flannery O'Connor's "Collected Stories" was included in the book. We also briefly considered including her "Collected Letters," which are extraordinary.
Jason E. Summers: Great list. "Besides the Bible" included "Fear and Trembling," as well as books by Augustine, Calvin, Foster, and Berry.
James G. Gilmore: Great list.
"Rich Christians...", "God of the Oppressed...", and the Koran all made the long-list but not the short-list. We chose Yoder's "Body Politics" over "The Politics of Jesus."
James Matichuk: I hadn't read "Making Room" before we wrote "Besides the Bible." I recently read it as research for my next book. Had I read it before we wrote "Besides the Bible," I would have tried to include it.
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