Faculty & Staff Summer Reading Ideas: Howell Edition

By Jay Howell

  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment — I finished reading through Dickens’s novels a couple of summers ago, and moved on to Dostoyevsky. I’ve read Crime and Punishment several times, but wanted to read it and other works in preparation for our seminar over Brothers. Also highly recommend Poor Folk, The Idiot, Devils, and really anything else by the great Russian master.
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, A Gentle Creature and Other Stories
  • Fyodor Dosoyevsky, Winter Notes on Summer Impressions
  • F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews — I try to read at least a couple of commentaries a year, and I generally like the NICNT series. This year I’ve worked through Bruce’s classic commentary on Hebrews and am currently in Joel Green’s extensive commentary on Luke
  • Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke
  • Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony — Bauckham’s work is one of the most important books in gospel studies of the last 25 years or so. It’s a slog, but worth it for anyone interested in defending the historicity of the gospels against the received “wisdom” of form criticism and other higher biblical criticism.
  • Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd, The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition — This is the complete academic work of which Lord or Legend?, which the seniors read in apologetics, is a summary. Also an important work in the historical studies of the gospels.
  • Eleonore Stump — Atonement — this magisterial look at the doctrine of the atonement from the perspective of analytic theology is the next in the line of Stump’s fantastic monographs. Stump is a part of the second generation of philosophers in England and America who made being a philosopher AS a Christian academically palatable again, and who made particularly CHRISTIAN philosophy a discipline. Taken together, her previous works on Aquinas, The God of the Bible and the God of the Philosophers, and Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering, along with her book on the Atonement provide as comprehensive and persuasive explication of and defense of Christianity of which I’m aware in contemporary literature of any kind.
  • Robert C. Roberts — Emotions in the Moral Life — Roberts was my dissertation advisor, and his work on emotions, moral philosophy, and virtues have been quite influential for myself and many others. See also his Emotions: An Essay in Aid of Moral Psychology, Spiritual Emotions: A Psychology of Christian Virtues, and Intellectual Virtues: An Essay in Regulative Epistemology with Jay Wood.
  • David McCullough — one of my favorite history writers — I finally got around to reading John Adams recently (the miniseries with Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney is also excellent). I find McCullough is tough but fair in his evaluation of American history and its figures. I also recently enjoyed the biography of FDR by Jean Edward Smith for similar reasons.
  • In addition to more contemporary history, I’ve been trying to work through Will and Ariel Durant’s epic Story of Civilization. This summer I read the fourth volume in the series, The Age of Faith. If you just commit to reading ten pages a day, you’ll be done in about 110 days!
  • I wrote my dissertation on Soren Kierkegaard, so I try to stay in his writings on a regular basis. I went back and reread his breakout achievement, Either/Or Part 1 and Part II recently. Kierkegaard is also one of the great explicators of Christianity, and particularly challenging when it comes to living out the claims of Christianity. 
  • Finally, I also like to try to stay in church history to some degree — I’ve found the Library of Christian Classics to be helpful in this regard. I hope to begin the volume on Christology of the Later Fathers soon, which covers Athanasius, the Gregorys, and other documents.
  • I also enjoy listening to the Logos Institute Podcast when I’m able — focused on issues in analytic theology. Featuring guests like NT Wright, Eleonore Stump, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and C. Stephen Evans.