Reading Digest #7 (Sept. 3, 2009)

For the past month I have not read much of anything. Hard to believe, I know. I’ve taken these summer weeks off to hang at the pool with my family rather than read intensely. The break has been invigorating (Ecc 12:12). But routines are good and this week I dive back into my reading routine.

Of all the reading schedules I’ve developed this one is the most eclectic. Over the next few weeks I will studying theology as usual, but also reading to better understand ancient myth, its cultural value, and whether there is value in Christians reading pagan myths (and what that might be). Apart from a few essays by C.S. Lewis on myth, this is largely a new field of reading for me. A couple of books on the art of reading and marking in books will be included in this round. Theologically, I’ve chosen several books and commentaries, most of which I will not be devouring slowly but scanning quickly to determine their relevance and importance.

I should note that over the months several blog readers have sent along gracious gift certificates to subsidize my reading habit (ie addiction). You support helps make this all this reading possible (ie enabled). From me to you: Thank you!

With that introduction, here is my next round of books:


The Tolkien Reader by J.R.R. Tolkien (Del Rey, 1962; 272 pgs). Specifically his chapter “On Fairy-Stories.” This book is the cheapest means to this essay.

An Experiment in Criticism by Lewis, C.S. (Cambridge, 1992; 151 pgs). Several important chapters on myth I need to read.

The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs (HarperOne, 2008; 348 pgs).

Mythology by Edith Hamilton (Back Bay, 1998; 512 pgs).

The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland (Pantheon, 1981; 320 pgs).

Classic Myths to Read Aloud: Greek and Roman Myth by William F. Russell (Three Rivers, 1992; 272 pgs).


How to Read Slowly by James Sire (Shaw, 2000; 192 pgs). How can I resist a book with such a counter-cultural title?

Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books by H.J. Jackson (Yale University, 2002; 336 pgs). I write in my books and I’d like to learn about others who did this, too. Why’d they do it? How’d they do it?


The Nature and Destiny of Man: A Christian Interpretation + Human Nature
by Reinhold Niebuhr (Westminster John Knox, 1996; 684 pgs). A classic theology I hear mentioned frequently, but have not read. I do intend to read this cover-to-cover.

A Biblical History of Israel
by Iain W. Provan, V. Philips Long, Tremper Longman, and Philips V. Long (Westminster John Knox, 2003; 416 pgs). In preparation for a fall class with Longman on the biblical theology of the Old Testament (RTS-DC).

Plowshares & Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic
by D. Brent Sandy (IVP, 2002; 228 pgs). A friend recommended this as a book on prophetic and apocalyptic imagery in the Bible. It does look very good.

Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament: Rediscovering the Roots of Our Faith by Christopher J. H. Wright (IVP Academic, 1994; 160 pgs). Always a topic of interest.

Psalms: Expositor’s Bible Commentary by Willem A. VanGemeren (Zondervan, 2008; 1024 pgs). Recently redone, this is a single-volume commentary on the entire book of Psalms that has received high marks. Doing nothing more with it than scanning it to become familiar with the work.

The First Epistle to the Corinthians [NIGTC] by Anthony C. Thiselton (Eerdmans, 2000; 1424 pgs). Deeply appreciate everything written by Thiselton. Scanning this commentary.

Second Epistle To The Corinthians [NIGTC] by Murray J. Harris (Eerdmans, 2005; 1000 pgs). Very thankful for the writings of Harris. Merely scanning this commentary.

7 thoughts on “Reading Digest #7 (Sept. 3, 2009)

  1. Hey Tony,
    I just got excited to see we’re going to be taking a class together this fall. I’ve been a longtime reader and I look forward to meeting you in person.

  2. Lewis’ Experiment in Criticism is one of Lewis’ best but least known works. It definitely also relates to the “On Books and Reading” section as well. Definitely a great read, enjoy.

  3. Nice to see these titles Tony.

    Have you read Lewis’ *Till We Have Faces*? It is a crucial read for all those interested in Lewis’ perspective on myth. Lewis thought it was his most profound work. I tend to agree.

    I think Jacob’s biography is very strong. The best yet.

    Edith Hamilton is a very sweet read. You might also consider her book, *The Greek Way*

    Grace and peace,

  4. Thanks for the recommendations. Yes, I love Till We Have Faces. Recently thinking about this passage:

    “Do you not see, Master,” said the Fox, “that the Priest is talking nonsense? A shadow is to be an animal which is also a goddess which is also a god, and loving is to be eating—a child of six would talk more sense. And a moment ago the victim of this abominable sacrifice was to be the Accursed, the wickedest person in the whole land, offered as a punishment. And now it is to be the best person in the whole land—the perfect victim—married to the god as a reward. Ask him which he means. It can’t be both.” (pp. 49-50)

  5. Tony-
    I’m looking to attempt to make a “Blank Greek NT” and I wondered if you had heard of anyone trying (and/or succeeding) in doing this?

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