I’m continuing to read ‘The World of the New Testament’, ‘Jesus and the Victory of God’ – both, as I’ve noted here before, are outstanding books. JVG has really given me a lot to think on – Wright’s exposition of ‘repentance’ in second-temple Judaism is one of the most interesting things I’ve read in a while. He connects it to the eschatological and draws parallels with how Josephus uses it in his writings, and comes to the conclusion that it has far less to do with the turning away of the individual from personal sin and much more to do with a national/ethnic turning towards God, instead of continuing down the road of national violence and rebellion. Very interesting.
I started going through ‘A Biblical History of Israel’, which, as it sounds, is a history of Israel that takes the Old Testament as a historical source. The first hundred pages or so are pure methodological considerations – the place of texts, archaeology, interpretations, historical theories, all that kind of thing. It’s definitely maximalist, but it’s probably the best case for a maximalist history of Israel that can be made. Tons and tons and tons of interactions with dozens of scholars, extrabiblical sources, competing theories and scholarly works. Definitely a great book.
In the same vein, I started reading ‘Life in the Ancient Near East,’ by Daniel C. Snell, and it’s been good so far. It’s basically an historical/sociological/economic /political overview and synthesis of the relevant data – a tad dated (1997) but still a good overview of the ANE.
Torrance’s ‘Transformation and Convergence in the Frame of Knowledge’ is quite a book. From the standpoint of history/philosophy of science, this is on par with Jaki’s ‘Road of Science and the Ways to God’. Brilliant expositions of Newton, Einstein, Kant, Locke, geometry, mathematics, Galileo, Clerk Maxwell, field theory, Faraday, physics both classical and modern, and of course Torrance’s signature realism. I haven’t gotten to the theological parts yet, or the essay on Polyani (which I can’t wait to read).
Gilson’s exposition of Kant’s moral philosophy in ‘The Unity of Philosophical Experience’ is so far the best one I’ve read. Honestly, those few pages were to me worth the price of purchase alone.
Wolterstorff’s ‘Art in Action’ is good so far, but while I love Wolterstorff, his writing style is unfortunately dense and fairly boring, which makes it a bit of a chore to work through. Nothing against the content – it’s great. But the style is a bit taxing.