BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 16, 2015

Cover ArtByron Borger, at Hearts & Minds Books, named J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth as 2014’s Best Book Of Biblical Studies.

“What a book!…There is no doubt in my mind that this book is urgently needed — among evangelicals and mainline folks alike — to be fully clear about God’s promises of new creation, and how this vision of a restored Earth can animate and sustain our efforts for cultural reform now. Richard is an excellent Biblical scholar and has worked on this serious volume for years; the endorsements have been robust and exceptional, and early readers report it is nearly life-changing.”

Also in his Best Books of 2014 post, Borger gave a double award (Best New Contribution to Bonhoeffer Studies and Best Youth Ministry Book) to Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker by Andrew Root, and an honorable mention to From Every Tribe and Nation by Mark Noll and Reading a Different Story by Susan VanZanten.

At The Hump of the Camel, Jon Garvey reviewed A New Heaven and a New Earth.

RJS continued to discuss Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth in the post “The End of the World” at Jesus Creed.

J. Richard Middleton wrote “God’s Bringing Creation to Its Glorious Destiny” for The High Calling.

Chris Woznicki reviewed Reformed Catholicity, by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

At First Things, Peter Leithart reflected on the discussion of Reinhold Hutter in Reformed Catholicity.

Reformed Catholicity was listed in The Aquila Report’s New & Noteworthy Books in 2015.

At Panorama of a Book Saint, Conrade Yap reviewed Effective Intercultural Communication by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell, and Susan Greener.

Christopher Skinner, at Crux Sola, reviewed Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite.

Daniel Gullotta reviewed Ancient Christian Worship by Andrew McGowan.

Elodie Ballantine Emig reviewed Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek for the Denver Journal.

At Theosblog, Lawrence Osborn reviewed Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology by Daniel Brunner, Jennifer Butler, and A. J. Swoboda.

At The Jesus Blog, Anthony LeDonne named Dale Allison’s Constructing Jesus as the best Jesus book of the 2010’s.

Robert Johnston, author of God’s Wider Presence, was interviewed in Tehelka Magazine.


BA Books & Authors on the Web – July 18, 2014

Cover ArtThe Institute for Sacred Architecture reviewed The Space Between, by Eric Jacobsen.

“Jacobsen artfully weaves together the linear progression of the story of redemption, which starts in the Garden and ends in the Heavenly City, with our understanding of the urban environment. He states that in our place and time we are not yet in the Heavenly City; however, we can and should work toward it.”

G.K Beale’s A New Testament Biblical Theology, John Cook and Robert Holmstedt’s Beginning Biblical Hebrew, and Rolf Jacobson and Karl Jacobson’s Invitation to the Psalms were reviewed in the Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament.

Daniel Waldschmidt, at the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Blog, reviewed Galatians by Douglas Moo.

At Scriptorium Daily, Matt Jenson recommended the Turning South series; comprised of Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Journey toward Justice, Susan VanZanten’s Reading a Different Story, and Mark Noll’s From Every Tribe and Nation.

Jordon Stone recommended Old Testament Commentary Survey by Tremper Longman, and New Testament Commentary Survey by D.A. Carson, at the Ordinary Ministry blog.

At Daily Theology, Krista Stevens reflected on The Gospel of Mark by Francis Moloney.

David Naugle listed Bonhoeffer the Assassin? by Mark Nation, Anthony Siegrist, and Daniel Umbel, in the Cardus summer reading list.

The Logos Academic Blog interviewed Bryan Chapell, author of Christ-Centered Preaching.

Peter Enns, author of Inspiration and Incarnation, interviewed Christopher Hays, co-editor of Evangelicals and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, as part of his ongoing “Aha” Moments series.


BA Books & Authors on the Web – June 13, 2014

Cover ArtAt The Two Cities, Adam Harger reviewed Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry.

“[T]his book is unique in helping the reader to think through the implications for faith and theology if one engages with historical-critical approaches to the Bible….One of the primary goals of the authors is to convince evangelicals of the need to engage in scholarly discussion, while assuring that it can be done without jeopardizing evangelical faith.”

Don Wacome, at Perspectives, reviewed James K.A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom.

Reading a Different Story by Susan VanZanten, as well as the overall Turning South series, were reviewed on the Books & Culture podcast.

At Pastor’s Library, Joey Cochran reviewed the fifth edition of Tremper Longman’s Old Testament Commentary Survey.

Bryan Chapell, author of Christ-Centered Sermons, was interviewed at Preaching Today. You can read part one here, and part two here.


BA Books & Authors on the Web – February 28, 2014

Cover ArtAt The Englewood Review of Books, Tim Høiland reviewed Reading a Different Story by Susan VanZanten.

“Ultimately, VanZanten is an apologist for ‘Christian cosmopolitanism.’ She wants believers’ allegiances to transcend geopolitical borders. Specifically, she wants us to read widely and well in order to better love God and to love our neighbors, both near and far. While she specifically appeals to her colleagues in academia, the principle applies to the rest of us just as well.”

J. Ryan Parker, at Pop Theology, reviewed Personal Jesus by Clive Marsh and Vaughn Roberts.

Thomas Schreiner’s  The King in His Beauty was reviewed by Lindsay Kennedy at My Digital Seminary.

Chris Kiesling, co-author with David Setran of Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood, wrote the article “Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood: Christian Formation and Discipleship” for Catalyst.

Nijay Gupta reflected on a quote about simplicity and complexity from Donald Hagner’s The New Testament.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – February 14, 2014

Cover ArtIn honor of the recently released seventh edition of D. A. Carson’s New Testament Commentary Survey, Matt Smethurst at The Gospel Coalition interviewed Carson about what makes a good commentary.

“Good all-round commentaries help readers think their way through the text—which requires adequate handling of words, sentences, flow of thought, genre, theological presuppositions, knowledge of historical setting, and, ideally, a commentary writer who is humble and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at God’s Word. But most commentaries do not do all these things (and other things—e.g., interaction with some other commentaries) equally well. That is one of the reasons one is usually wise to consult at least two or three commentaries with different emphases.”

At The Jesus Blog, Anthony Le Donne briefly reviewed The Theology of Augustine by Matthew Levering.

Also reviewing Levering’s The Theology of Augustine was Nate Claiborne.

Jennifer Guo, at Grace for Sinners, reviewed R. Michael Allen’s Justification and the Gospel.

Moschos Goutzioudis reviewed The New Testament by Donald A. Hagner, for RBL.

At Raw Christianity, David Gunner Gundersen reviewed The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations by Michael Holmes.

The Christian Century reviewed Reading a Different Story, by Susan VanZanten.

Steve Bishop, at An Accidental Blog, reviewed Christian Philosophy by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, and interviewed James Skillen about his forthcoming book The Good of Politics.

The Truth and Reconciliation Hearings – an Exerpt from Reading a Different Story

The following is an excerpt from Reading a Different Story, by Susan VanZanten.


Cover ArtMy research about and experiences in South Africa revealed how interconnected the different types of confessional modes had become in the 1990s. The life-affirming aspects of religious confession were incorporated into the judicial process through the Truth and Reconciliation process, which, in turn, became a major topic of South African memoirs, poems, and novels.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had been established in 1995 to facilitate national reconciliation by creating a public record of human rights violations under apartheid. Victims testified about their experiences; perpetrators confessed their actions. In essence, a new national narrative was written through these testimonies and admissions.

From February 1996 through 1997, victims recounted their stories at hearings held in crowded courtrooms, city halls, and community centers. Beginning in the fall of 1996, the TRC’s Amnesty Committee heard amnesty applications. Faced with the compromises necessary to a negotiated settlement, South Africa decided to establish the TRC process rather than pursue legal prosecutions of those who had committed abuses.

This was a conscious choice of truth rather than justice, with the goal of reconciliation, as the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act states: “There is a need for understanding but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for ubuntu but not for victimization.” While some observers criticized the abandonment of justice, others argued for the greater value of the truth that would be spoken as a way of healing and forming a new South African community.

The Christian roots of the TRC process were unmistakable, beginning with the appointment of Archbishop Desmond Tutu as TRC chair. At the first meeting of the TRC on December 16, 1995, Tutu established the narrative framework of the commission’s work in Christian terms: “We will be engaging in what should be a corporate nationwide process of healing through contrition, confession and forgiveness.”

©2013 by Susan VanZanten. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on Reading a Different Story, click here.

New Release: Reading a Different Story, by Susan VanZanten

Cover ArtChristianity’s demographics, vitality, and influence have tipped markedly toward the global South and East. Addressing this seismic shift, noted Christian literary scholar Susan VanZanten recounts how her focus has shifted from American to African literature, leading her to advocate for a global approach to education and scholarship.

Reading a Different Storythe latest addition to the Turning South series, recounts her journey of reorientation, reflects on the challenges of being a Christian woman scholar, and shows how the rise of global Christianity necessitates changes in academic life


“VanZanten offers a rich weave of memoir and theological reflection and makes a compelling argument for curricular globalization that is dialectical, deep, and humble. She shows how a life of scholarship is also an adventure rife with mystery and grace. All who teach or read literature and all who seek to understand what shalom has to do with story will want to read this thoughtful book more than once.” – Marilyn McEntyre, Westmont College

“This engaging intellectual autobiography is a rare treat for anyone pondering what it means to be a Christian scholar and teacher in the twenty-first century. It offers no vague generalizations. Rather, VanZanten has crafted clear-eyed, generous, and wise reflections on her journey into this vocation–from the intertwined blessings and challenges of her Dutch Reformed roots, through the liberating effects and pitfalls of collegiate and graduate study, to experience in an ecumenical range of Christian higher education. The dominant connecting theme is the value of learning to hear the voice of the ‘other,’ particularly those outside the North Atlantic context.” – Randy L. Maddox, Duke Divinity School

“In this beautifully written memoir, an exceptionally creative, courageous, and faithful scholar-teacher invites readers to join her on a journey that has led her to a truly global sense of both literature and Christianity. Encountering Susan VanZanten’s expanding vision, we are challenged to broaden our own–and also given fresh resources that will help us to face that challenge. Along the way she also shares valuable reflections on gender, literary theory, and teaching. I highly recommend this book to those who teach in church-related colleges and universities.” – Dorothy C. Bass, Valparaiso University

“Susan VanZanten’s wonderful narrative tells how her dedication to teaching led her along unexpected paths: forging her own nuanced synthesis of feminist positions; creating her unique theory of faith and literature; engaging with global and especially African literatures to bring together her love of literature, her political commitments to justice and peace, and her Christian faith. Hers is the fascinating story of an indirect route to wisdom, deepening faith, and integration of mind and heart. It will be enlightening for young scholars being pressured to figure out too much too soon, and inspiring for established scholars who know they are still trying to do so.” – Patrick H. Byrne, Boston College


Susan VanZanten (PhD, Emory University) is professor of English at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington, and leads faculty workshops and retreats across the country. She is the author or editor of seven books, including Joining the Mission: A Guide for (Mainly) New College Faculty, Mending a Tattered Faith: Devotions with Dickinson, and Truth and Reconciliation: The Confessional Mode in South African Literature. She frequently reviews contemporary African fiction in Books & Culture.

For more information on Reading a Different Story, click here.