These are the top ten books I read this year. Some were published in 2012 and others are older. I will include an excerpt from my review alongside a link to the full one. At the bottom of this post I list some larger resources that I obtained that were too large to read from cover-to-cover, but useful nevertheless. These are the books:

10. John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate

“We must remember that the ancient world did not split the natural and the supernatural. God’s involvement in the cosmos was assumed. The cosmology of the ancients was more “theological” than modern science allows.”

Read my full review here.

09. Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master

“I enjoyed this book. I recommend you read it. I presume that people who are sympathetic to Rachel’s views on this or that are more likely to read it than those who oppose her. That is fine. But I do hope some who find themselves skeptical will take the risk of reading this book. I think you will find it isn’t what you suspected (or what book reviewers for some coalition who claim to have a monopoly on the “Gospel” might say about it). This book exalts Christ, it honors the work of the Spirit, it respects Scripture, it challenges the church, and it serves as a prophetic voice in a world where women who are beloved by God wait for an advocate.”

Read my full review here.

08. Daniel B. Wallace (ed.), Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence

“Does this book have value? Yes, it is a great resource for textual criticism. The essays are easy to read, even for a novice such as myself. I think the more important contribution is that it shows that people like Ehrman are far from objective. This doesn’t mean these evangelical students are less subjective, but rather than everyone, even text critics, approach their task with an angle. It would be a great book to read beside Ehrman’s The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture of the sections in his popular books where he deals with the same passages these authors address.”

Read my full review here.

07. Lester J. Grabbe,  An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel and Jesus

“Lester L. Grabbe’s introduction to Second Temple Judaism is a text that packs a lot of information into a smaller space. It is not too large to use as a textbook for a semester long course and it is not too short to deprive the reader of the broad overview needed for studying this subject. The best thing about this book is that it dispels the simplistic language sometimes used of Judaism in the Second Temple Period. It presents what some have come to call “Judaisms,” plural.”

Read my full review here.

06. Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins

“I finished this book with the conclusion that the Gospel does not depend on the historicity of Adam, but that doesn’t mean that this discussion is meaningless. A lot has to change for conservative Christians if they decide to abandon the historicity of Adam. Debates over everything from the nature of Scripture, to hermeneutics, to worldview, to gender roles, to eschatology can be impacted by one’s understanding of Adam (and Eve). If you are not satisfied with the “Bible v. Science” paradigm this book may be a useful tool in beginning to reassess how you think about a lot of things.”

Read my full review here.

05. Jack Levison, Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life

“I was raised in a form of Pentecostalism. I have had many experiences with the holy spirit. Yet I find the traditional and intellectual parts of the Christian tradition to be all too important for the sake of mere experience. I think this connects me as a reader to what Jack is doing.Jack senses that he ‘one foot in the mainline Protestant church and one in Pentecostalism’ may allow him to ‘offer a fresh and surprising word about the holy spirit to both (p. 5).'”

Read my review with Daniel James Levy here.

04. J.R.D. Kirk, Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul? A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity

“The project of this book is to link Christ and Paul around the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the new creation that God has enacted upon the world beginning with the resurrection of Christ. It is this message that united Jesus and Paul. Jesus proclaiming God’s Kingdom through his words and deeds. Jesus was vindicated by God as the agent of the Kingdom through the resurrection. Paul reinterprets the story of the Hebrew Scriptures through this apocalyptic event. Paul recognizes that Jesus is the one through whom God has begun the new creation and through whom he is establishing the Kingdom. Paul sees the church as the community that embodies the Kingdom and the new creation.” I reviewed this book alongside a list of others as part of a “blog tour”, and I did not write a full review myself, so I will link to the list of participants here.

03. Jonathan T. Pennington, Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction 

“This book is aimed at reminding people that the Gospels are to be read for a greater purpose than the mere extraction of information. Pennington wants people to read the Gospels “wisely”, hearing their message, asking what this message means for one’s life and the life of the Church, and thinking about the Gospels from a variety of angles.”

Read my review here.

02. C. Kavin Rowe, World Turned Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age

“I guarantee that this book is worth your time. It isn’t all that long in total content (about 176 pages). It has a ton of endnotes for further research. It satisfies the needs of historians and theologians alike (though maybe at different points of the book). If you are interested in studying Luke-Acts considering reading Rowe. This is his speciality and he is a gifted researcher and writer who knows how to handle Luke’s message well.”

Read my full review here.

01. Anthony LeDonne, Historical Jesus: What Can We Know and How Can We Know It?

“Anthony Le Donne’s Historical Jesus is one of the finest short works I’ve read on historical Jesus studies, human memory, and historiography. Le Donne positions himself as a “postmodern historian” whose task is not to find Jesus behind his literary sources but in their midst (pp. 9-10). This is an important part of his project. He sees modernist historiography as a sort of archaeological endeavor where the historian must dig underneath the narrative to find the “real” Jesus. At that point this Jesus emerges as someone very different than how he was remembered. For Le Donne the place to begin is at the narratives themselves since this is where the memories of Jesus were preserved.”

Read my full review here.

These are some other works worth obtaining:

John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow (eds.), The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism

Read my review here.

Craig A. Evans’s Matthew (NCBC)

Read my review here.

Craig A. Evans, Joel N. Lohr, and David L. Petersen, The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation

Read my review here.

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