2009 pages turned :: this year’s books

Here are the books that I read cover-to-cover over the course of the last year (articles and books of which I read only a portion are not included). They are loosely arranged by categories, many of which are likely an ill-fit. I’ve bolded the book in each category that I found most helpful/insightful/intriguing. In a couple of the larger categories, I’ve also put my least favorite book in brown text. It was a very light year for fiction and poetry, something which I’d like to improve on in 2010.

I’d be happy to converse or offer comments on any of the books below, but I’m not going to spend the time to leave thoughts on all of them generally.


Krister Stendahl, Paul Among Jews and Gentiles, 133.

Christine Schliesser, Everyone Who Acts Responsibly Becomes Guilty: Bonhoeffer’s Concept of Accepting Guilt, 220.

Nicholas Afanasiev, The Church of the Holy Spirit, 325.

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 400 (s).

Bernard Lonergan, Method in Theology, 405.

Yves Congar, I Believe in the Holy Spirit, vol II, 230.

Jürgen Moltmann, The Spirit of Life: A Universal Affirmation, 358.

George Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine, 142.

John E. Theil, Nonfoundationalism, 123.

Michael Welker, God the Spirit, 360.

Jacob Taubes, The Political Theology of Paul, 160.

Sarah Coakley, Powers and Submissions: Spirituality, Philosophy, and Gender, 170.

David Balás, Metousia Theou: Man’s Participation in God’s Perfections According to Saint Gregory of Nyssa, 187.

Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, 105.

Gregory of Nyssa, De Hominis Opificio, 42.

Denis Edwards, Breath of God: A Theology of the Creator Spirit, 213.

Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Presence and Thought: An Essay on the Religious Philosophy of Gregory of Nyssa, 195.

Kirsteen Kim, The Holy Spirit in the World: A Global Conversation, 208.

Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium II, 150.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord I: Seeing the Form, 691

Adam Kotsko, Zizek and Theology, 174

Slavoj Zizek and John Milbank, The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic, 311.

Augustine, De Trinitate, 470.

John Behr, The Nicene Faith (Part 1), 259.

John Behr, The Nicene Faith (Part 2), 249.

Karl Rahner, The Trinity, 120.

Sergius Bulgakov, The Comforter, 400.

Joseph Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith, 110.

Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is, 316.

Gregory of Nyssa, Commentary of the Song of Songs, 287.


Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, 110.

Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism, 111.

Giorgio Agamben, The Time that Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans, 192.

Slavoj Zizek, The Fragile Absolute:—or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For?, 182.

Slavoj Zizek, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity, 185.

Matthew Calarco, Zoographies: The Question of the Animal from Heidegger to Derrida, 170.

Jacques Derrida, The Animal that therefore I am, 176.


Averil Cameron, Christianity and the Rhetoric of Empire: The Development of Christian Discourse, 250.

Robert Markus, The End of Ancient Christianity, 258.

Jean-Claude Schmitt, The Holy Greyhound: Guinefort, Healer of Children Since the Thirteenth Century, 179 (s).

Christine Petra Sellin, Fractured Families and Rebel Maidservants: The Biblical Hagar in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art and Literature, 189.

Ancient/Medieval texts:

Eusebius of Caesarea, Life of Constantine, 100.

Sulpicius Severus, Life of St. Martin of Tours, 30.

Einhard, Life of Charlemagne, 60.

Eunomius of Cyzicus, Liber Apologeticus, 30.

Irenaeus, Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 30.

Plato, Phaedrus, 50.

Philo of Alexandria, On the Creation of the Cosmos According to Moses, 93.

The Life of Adam and Eve/The Apocalypse of Moses, 40.

Biblical Studies:

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, Paul: His Story, 255.

E.P. Sanders, Paul, The Law, and the Jewish People, 225.

N.T. Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective, 200.

Lloyd Gaston, Paul and the Torah, 262.

Daniel Boyarin, A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity, 370.

Antoinette Clark Wire, The Corinthian Women Prophets, 316 (s).

Neil Elliot, The Arrogance of Nations, 223.

Gary A. Anderson, The Genesis of Perfection: Adam and Eve in Jewish and Christian Imagination, 250.

André LaCocque, Onslaught against Innocence, 177.

Annette Yoshiko Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature, 277.

Norman Cohn, Noah’s Flood: The Genesis Story in Western Thought, 154.


Christopher Hitchens, God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, 305 (s).


Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, 162.


C.S. Lewis, Perelandra, 213.

Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49, 150.

Thomas Pynchon, V., 492.

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, 121.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Nathan the Wise, 70.

2 Replies to “2009 pages turned :: this year’s books”

  1. Off the top of my head, here’s some of my most enjoyable reads of 2009, and a few that began in 2009 and are continuing into this year…

    Silence – Shusaku Endo. Easily my favorite of 2009

    Demons – Fyodor Dostoevsky

    Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction – Rowan Williams

    Woody Guthrie: A Life – Joe Klein

    Godric – Frederick Buechener

    Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

    The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky (rereading – it has been ten years since I first read it)

    I didn’t read too much formal theology this year apart from our catechetical requirements. Of course, all of the books I listed provided plenty of fodder for theologizing and philosophizing.

    1. Tim,

      I’m jealous of your favorites list — lots of good fiction. You’re absolutely right that this is the raw matter of theology, even if the more formal stuff is helpful as well.

      Silence is an amazing book, isn’t it? It was assigned to me in a World Civilization class at Westmont, and it continues to haunt my thoughts from time to time (eight years later). I know I’ve re-bought it at least twice since then at second-hand shops, which usually means that I’ve lent it out to others.

      I’m planning on assigning Silence at some point in one of my classes at Fordham—particularly since Fordham is a Jesuit school. The end of the book is phenomenal and opens up so many important questions about decisions of faith, day-to-day life, and the obscure presence of God among us.

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