Christian Books

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Evagrius Ponticus and Cognitive Science by George Tsakiridis

Evagrius Ponticus and Cognitive Science: A Look at Moral Evil and the Thoughts
George Tsakiridis
Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2010
124 pages

Who might this book interest? While the author desires to address a broad audience of devout believers with doubts about the Christian life, this work is most applicable to psychologists and spiritual directors as well as those interested in a specialized study of Evagrius Ponticus’, a fourth century Patristic Father, work in relation to current cognitive science.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Quick Summary: Dr. George Tsakiridis wrote this work as his doctoral dissertation at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  He is currently an Assistant Professor of Religion at South Dakota State University and a faculty member of the Christ School of Theology at the Institute of Lutheran Theology.  His work is a creative assemblage of the Patristic spirituality of Evagrius Ponticus and cognitive science with a hint of Ricoeurian philosophy for additional seasoning.  For the most part, it reads in a fairly simple, straightforward way, especially for having been a dissertation.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Kay Redfield Jamison
New York: Vintage Books, 1996
224 pages

Who might this book interest? This book provides an “insiders” experience of manic-depressive or bipolar illness.  Anyone who struggles with this illness, or has a friend or family member that struggles with it, may benefit from reading this book. The added benefit to this book is that Dr. Jamison not only struggles with the illness but is a clinical psychologist and university professor which give it an added depth that is often lacking in these types of personal accounts.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Quick Summary: Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison earned her Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from UCLA, served as a professor there, and is currently a Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  In addition, she has struggled with manic-depressive or bipolar (although she does not like the term “bipolar”) illness for many years.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jesus of Nazareth - Part 2 by Pope Benedict XVI

Jesus of Nazareth: Part 2.
Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection
Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011
362 pages

Who might this book interest? There are many different audiences that this work may interest. First, I believe that this book should be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about Jesus of Nazareth. Second, any Christian that desires to deepen their devotion to Jesus Christ. Lastly, this work will interest academics, specifically with a focus to Jesus scholarship and hermeneutical method. This work provides a seminal hermeneutic method that incorporates both scholarship and devotion. For all who read this work, Pope Benedict provides an account of Jesus Christ that goes far beyond his unquestionable scholarship to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

My Rating: 9 out of 10

Quick Summary: It seems to me that there is always a dilemma when a pope writes a book. In the circles from which I find myself, books written by popes simply cannot be considered scholarly, yet many popes were scholars before they ever became pope. I never would have known the scholarly and deeply Christian philosophy of Karol Wojtyla had he not become Pope John Paul II. In the same way, I do not know if I would have ever read Joseph Ratzinger had he not become Pope Benedict XVI. Both were academics and university professors long before they became pope.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Real Faith by D. Eric Williams

Real Faith: Studies in the Epistle of James
D. Eric Williams
Lewiston, ID: D. Eric Williams, 2009
166 pages

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Who might this book interest? I think that Williams’ book would be of interest to pastors who are preaching in or through the Epistle of James. In addition, the length of the chapters would make it a useful daily devotional.

Quick Summary: Pastor and Bible teacher, D. Eric Williams, provides us with a theological exposition of the Epistle of James in his work, Real Faith. Williams completed his bachelor degree from University of the State of New York and master’s from the Southern California Graduate School of Theology and has pastored for over 20 years in the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (4Cs). He states, “My ministry is focused on Christ centered expository Bible teaching that is covenantal in nature." This work on James is fruit of his approach.