Sunday, 12 April 2015

By their bookshelves ye shall know them.

As it is written, "By their bookshelves ye shall know them."

Therefore I do declare that the most frequently perused or read authors on my bookshelves are:

Paul Barnett
N.T. Wright
Richard Bauckham
Larry Hurtado
Oskar Skarsaune
Alexander Wedderburn

Students and teachers familiar with those names will tell in an instant that I'm especially interested in 'Christian origins', in Christianity before Constantine. I'm interested in asking questions like these: what did the first Christians really know about Jesus? What was life like as a Christian in the first three centuries of the church? What did early Christians read? What did they believe? How Jewish were the early churches? Is Christianity today 'authentic'? That and more. Asking those questions has deepened and strengthened my Christian faith and given me an appreciation of what other thinking people say about the church.

Those names also tell you that I use conservative Christian scholars most. I also cross-check them with more radical or more sceptical scholars.

Other books I much use are collections of essays such as The Ways That Never Parted, and Jewish Christianity Reconsidered. I also have particular soft spots for a range of books I'll occasionally mention.

My most perused 'primary sources' are the Bible and early(ish) patristics (especially Ignatius and Irenaeus), while dipping into other Jewish and Christian texts. I think the most under-used early Christian work is Irenaeus' On The Apostolic Preaching.

Thus, by their bookshelves ye shall know them.

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