St Patrick’s story

St Patrick’s story

Saint Patrick Retold Roy Flechner Princeton, hb, £22.00   St Patrick’s Day is a big event all around the English-speaking world, encouraged by the Irish diaspora with many others joining in the celebration. Myths, like the claim Patrick rid Ireland of snakes, abound and Patrick is an important national symbol to Irish people. But even […]

Enlightening reading

Enlightening reading

The Birth of the Modern Ethan H Shagan Princeton, hb, £27.00   In this stimulating and intellectually wide-ranging book, Ethan H Shagen, Professor of History at Berkeley, traces the history of belief in Western Christianity down to the Enlightenment with a final chapter that sheds light on the present situation. The author covers an enormous […]

Faith growing in the city

Faith growing in the city

The Desecularisation of the City David Goodhew and Anthony-Paul Cooper Routledge, pb, £34.99   Ever since Peter Brierley produced his 2012 census it has been widely accepted that church attendance in London, and especially in inner London, has increased since 1980. As the editors point out in their introduction to this collection of essays: “The […]

Faith in the philosophical perspective

Faith in the philosophical perspective

Philosophy and the Christian Faith Ben Pugh SCM, pb, £22.99   Although it is a long time since I taught in a theological college I still enjoy reading textbooks and asking myself whether I would recommend them to students. Ben Pugh’s new book would have my enthusiastic endorsement. For once the cover does not mislead […]

The other Cromwell

The other Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell Diarmaid MacCulloch Allen Lane, hb, £25.00   For history students in the 1960s there were two great controversies in Tudor history they were required to study and discuss in essays. One was Lawrence Stone’s claims about the rise of the gentry and the other was GR Elton’s argument for a ‘Tudor revolution in […]

Our Jewish roots

Our Jewish roots

When Christians Were Jews Paula Fredriksen Yale, hb, £20.00   Paula Fredriksen is one of a number of Jewish scholars who have shed new light on the origins of Christianity. They have emphasised the Jewishness of Jesus, Paul and the early Christians, deepening our understanding but also challenging some existing interpretations. Fredriksen has written a […]

Rediscovering the roots of ecclesiology

Rediscovering the roots of ecclesiology

The Oxford Handbook of Ecclesiology Paul Avis OUP, hb, £95.00   As a number of contributors to this volume observe, recognition of ‘ecclesiology’ as a distinct area of theological study is a recent development. Theologians in the early church certainly discussed theological issues relating to the church, as Mark Edwards shows in his contribution, but […]

A book with huge importance today

A book with huge importance today

Religion Hurts Why religions do harm as well as good John Bowker SPCK, hb, £9.99   John Bowker has been compared by Rowan Williams to Austin Farrer, high praise coming from someone who greatly admires Farrer. Like Farrer, Williams suggests, Bowker writes with great erudition and ranges widely over many subjects. Also like Farrer, Bowker […]

Examining the evangelical world

Examining the evangelical world

The Kingdom of God Has No Borders Melani McAlister OUP, hb, £19.99 According to The Christian Century this study of how American evangelicals have engaged with the wider world was OUP’s best-selling religious book in the US in 2018. There have been numerous studies of evangelicalism within America but this is the first I know to […]

A fitting tribute to Tom Wright

A fitting tribute to Tom Wright

One God, One People, One Future John Anthony Dunne and Eric Lewellen SPCK, hb, £75.00 Friends, former students and a brother have joined forces to produce a stimulating volume of essays to mark Bishop Tom Wright’s 70th birthday. Wright has managed to be both a popular apologist for Christianity and an influential scholar with a […]

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