Showing posts from June, 2018

The most stimulating works of systematic theology from the last 20 years

On Twitter yesterday I made an observation followed by a question. I said that Paul Griffiths' Decreation is, in my view, the most thought-provoking, stimulating, exhilarating work of systematic theology written since the first volume of Robert Jenson's systematics was published in 1997. Then I asked: What are other plausible candidates from, say, the last two decades?

I thought of half a dozen off the top of my head, then started adding others' replies to the list. See the (lightly curated) resulting list below.

A few preliminary comments, though. First, everything on the list was published (for the first time) in 1998 or later. That's arbitrary, but then, all lists are; that's what makes them fun.

Second, your mileage may vary, as mine does; I think some of these books are in a league of their own compared so some of the others. But I've tried to be broader than just my own preferences.

Third, candidates for this list are works of Christian systematic theo…

Genre lists: the best science fiction authors and series

All right. I've written about my crime fiction list and my fantasy list; here, rounding out the genres (at least those in which I'm interested), is my chronological list of the authors and series in science fiction that I have read or aim to read. Far from exhaustive, and not aiming to be "completist." I want to read the best. What should I add to it? [NB: The list has now been expanded with suggestions.]
H. G. Wells, Time Machine + Invisible Man + War of the Worlds (1895–98)Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars (1917)Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)C. S. Lewis, Space Trilogy (1938–45)George Orwell, 1984 (1949)Ray Bradbury, Martian Chronicles (1950) + Fahrenheit 451 (1953) Isaac Asimov, The Foundation Trilogy (1951–53)Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End (1953) + 2001 (1968)Richard Matheson, I Am Legend (1954)Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination (1957)Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) Stanislaw Lem, Solaris (1961) Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a…

Genre lists: the best fantasy series

Last year I wrote about how I worked my way back into regular fiction reading through genre, specifically the genre of crime novels. I also keep separate genre lists for fantasy and science fiction. Each scratches a particular itch, and I slowly make my way through each one, as the mood strikes me. But I'm a novice, using either my own eclectic interests or the lists of others as guides. I thought I'd open myself up to others to build out my current fantasy list.

NB: I'm not looking to be a completist for completion's sake. I don't want to read just-fine or so-so series in order to comprehend the genre. I want to read the very best series, for nothing but pleasure. Having said that, I do enjoy (as my chronological listing below shows) understanding the relationship between different fantasy novelists and series, tracking the influence going forward and the reactions, revisions, and subversions looking backward. I find that endlessly fascinating.

So: Having said tha…

Paul Griffiths on the liturgy anticipating heaven

"[A]ttending to the liturgy is the closest we can get, here below, to attending to heaven. In examining it, we approach as close as we can get to examining the life of the saints in heaven as it is once they are resurrected and enjoying both sensory and nonsensory modes of knowing and seeing the LORD. This is because most of the elements of the life of the world to come are present in nuce in the worshiping assembly: the ascended LORD is present in the flesh; the gathered people is an assembly of those who know and love him as he is, at least to some degree; and the fabric of the event is woven from the threads of love exchanged—love given preveniently by the LORD, whose creature the church is, and love given responsively by the people, who have collectively and individually been brought into being by the LORD. The leitmotif of the words and actions of the liturgical gathering is adoration. All this is also true of the gathering of the resurrected saints around the LORD's asc…