Recent books of interest

Schleiermacher, Christian Faith, Tice and Kelsey

Greetings, y’all. This blog has been on a hiatus for the past three months. I hope to resume regular blogging at some point. In the meantime, I want to continue with one of this site’s features: “Recent books of interest.” Herein, we take a look at recently released and soon-to-be released books in theology. Click here for the previous installment.

The titles are organized according to church affiliation and theological tradition, which is an imperfect means of identification for many. Please notify me of any errors, as well as any recommendations.

It is safe to say that the new edition of Schleiermacher’s Christian Faith will be the most anticipated release of the year. According to the publisher, “Employing shorter sentences and more careful tracking of vocabulary, the editors have crafted a translation that is significantly easier to read and follow.”


Roman Catholic

ecce homo

Riches, Aaron, Ecce Homo: On the Divine Unity of Christ (Eerdmans)

Rausch, Thomas, S.J., Systematic Theology: A Roman Catholic Approach (Michael Glazier)

Bauerschmidt, Frederick Christian, Catholic Theology: An Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell)

Furnal, Joshua, Catholic Theology after Kierkegaard (Oxford University Press)

Porro, Pasquale, Thomas Aquinas: A Historical and Philosophical Profile (Catholic University of America Press)

Summa Contra Gentiles

Davies, Brian, Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Contra Gentiles: A Guide and Commentary (Oxford University Press)

Slattery, William J., Heroism and Genius: How Catholic Priests Built Western Civilization (Ignatius Press)

Foster, Reginaldus Thomas , Ossa Latinitatis Sola (Catholic University of America Press)

McCosker, Philip and Denys Turner, eds., The Cambridge Companion to the Summa Theologiae (Cambridge University Press)

Lamb, Matthew L., ed., Theology Needs Philosophy: Acting Against Reason is Contrary to the Nature of God (Catholic University Press of America)


Pinckaers, Servais, O.P., The Spirituality of Martyrdom: to the Limits of Love (Catholic University of America Press)

Reno, R. R., Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society (Regnery) – editor of First Things

Lehner, Ulrich L., On the Road to Vatican II: German Catholic Enlightenment and Reform of the Church (Fortress Press)


Protestant (Anglican)

Williams, Rowan - On Augustine

Williams, Rowan, On Augustine (Bloomsbury Continuum)

Radner, Ephraim, Time and the Word: Figural Reading of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans)

Radner, Ephraim, A Time to Keep: Theology, Mortality, and the Shape of a Human Life (Baylor University Press)

Scruton and Dooley

Scruton, Roger and Mark Dooley, Conversations with Roger Scruton (Bloomsbury Continuum)

Scruton, Roger, The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung (Allen Lane)


Protestant (Other)

Schleiermacher, Christian Faith, Tice and Kelsey

Schleiermacher, Friedrich, Christian Faith (Terrence N. Tice and Catherine L. Kelsey, eds., WJK Press)

Long, D. Stephen, The Perfectly Simple Triune God: Aquinas and His Legacy (Fortress Press)

Hinlicky, Paul R., Divine Simplicity: Christ the Crisis of Metaphysics (Baker Academic)

Insole, Christopher J., The Intolerable God: Kant’s Theological Journey (Eerdmans)

Dillard, Peter

Dillard, Peter S., Non-Metaphysical Theology After Heidegger (Palgrave Macmillan)

Kreglinger, Gisela H., The Spirituality of Wine (Eerdmans)

Vanhoozer, Kevin J., Pictures at a Theological Exhibition: Scenes of the Church’s Worship, Witness and Wisdom (IVP Academic)

Noll, Mark and Thomas Albert Howard, Protestantism after 500 Years (Oxford University Press)



Moyse, Ashley John, ed., et al., Correlating Sobornost: Conversations between Karl Barth and the Russian Orthodox Tradition (Fortress Press)

Vance, J. D., Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper)

Kienzle, Rich - George Jones

Kienzle, Rich, The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones (Dey Street Books)





  1. That list sounds fascinating. Some thoughts:

    Heroism & Genius: I’m skeptical, but intrigued. Sounds too feel good. However, I’ll give props if it includes influential, but villainous (a relative term), priests. I fully expect to see Richelieu, Talleyrand, Torquemada alongside any number of saints. And if they want to be serious, they ought to include people like Luther, who (a villain to Rome perhaps) was incredibly influential, though excommunicated.

    Radner: His books look very interesting. He always strikes me as a curious figure. He seems rather conservative, and an ally of Leithart, and yet he seems to refuse to allow the gay-catholic Episcopalians to run him out. Most people would see the writing on the wall, and get out. I’m not exactly sure his reasoning. If you know more, I’d be appreciative to know. I’m also sad that his one book is $50! 😦

    I’m excited for Williams work, but roll my eyes at Rusty Reno’s new book. I wonder if he is fighting against Dreher’s call towards retreat. But I very much doubt Reno will come to terms with the blatant systemic sins that have plagued American history from the get go and continue to this day (most notably, racism).

    I look forward to your new posts. I miss your commentary 🙂


    • Yeah, the Heroism & Genius book could be more apologetic than properly academic, and Ignatius Press does both. Radner is an interesting guy. In his ‘The End of the Church’ he argues that the division in the church is a sign of the Holy Spirit’s abandonment of the church, and therefore the church is dead. I’ve only read the first chapter. As for the Reno book, it seems pretty harmless based upon the brief description on Amazon. I’m curious to see.

  2. For the past few months I’ve been waiting for William’s On Augustine to come out. I’m dying to get my hands on a copy. I also need to read his poetry. I’m sure I will love his works, I just have too many books to get too and only so much money. Glad you included Furnal’s book. Villanova is apparently hosting a conference this year on Augustine and Kierkegaard. It’s times likes these when I wish I could bilocate :). Porro’s book on St. Thomas sounds interesting, but since I’m thoroughly ignorant of the Summa I’m going to begin with Denys Turner’s Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait. I’m hoping Turner will emphasize Thomas’ Dominican-ness. His historical context I imagine is very important for appreciating his Summa.

    Books I recommend to you (because I read things that are great and others need to read them too): The Friars by C.H. Lawrence – a good intro to the history of the friars. If you are interested in the cult of saints (particularly the politics of sanctity) in the Middle Ages I recommend The Making of Saint Louis by M. Cecilia Gaposchkin and Forgetful of Their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society by Jane Tibbets Schulenburg. Finally, The Middle Ages by Johannes Fried is a great introduction to the Middle Ages. The English translation was published last year by Harvard.

    • one more book I was just made aware of: Reformations by Carlos M. N. Eire. It’s coming out at the end of the month and is published by Yale. Haven’t read it yet but I imagine it will be of interest to you.

    • Thanks for the recommendations. I am especially interested in the St. Louis book. Prior to my trip to France last year, I read Jean de Joinville’s account of Louis, and it’s rather fascinating. I hadn’t seen the Carlos Eire book. That is definitely a must purchase. At 900+ pages, it is a reasonable price.

    • Thanks, Jordan. I had not seen this yet. I’m very interested to see how he tackles Protestant disunity. I am firmly in the pessimist camp when it comes to unity in the church, namely among Protestants, and I do not see it getting better.

  3. J.D Vance’s book looks interesting. (they all do, this one in particular, though) Lamenting the loss of the ”American Dream” isn’t something we’re taught [at least here in Australia] to really lament about.

    I remember the concept of anything like it being torn down by one professor I heard speak once, almost to the point of doing the reverse and seeing the disappearance of the middle-class as something to celebrate.

    I’m not clear on whether this was because of a hard-core socialist philosophy he held. My surface response was to think it was directly related.

    Socialism in that sense, appeared more to me to be about tearing down everything, in the name of “equality”, including hope, rather than building up. It’d be interesting to see if Vance views the socialist philosophy at work against the middle-class during those 40 years, as being a major (if only at times silent) contributor to it’s decline.

    • Yes, Vance’s book looks great, and it has received quite a lot of attention. I even saw him interviewed on Morning Joe. The reasons for the plight of poor whites are enormously complex — economic, cultural, behavioral, religious. I grew-up in the lower rung of the middle class in the South, and I have some experience of what’s happening and why. But Vance’s account, from Rod Dreher’s excerpts at TAC, paints a far bleaker picture than anything I experienced or saw. Most of all, the behavioral problems and the disappearance of the church are unlike anything I saw. It’s tragic.

      As for socialism, it is rooted in Left Hegelianism’s rejection of metaphysics, as classically conceived and including hierarchies of forms. All that remains is a materialist monism and the forces at play, i.e., power. For the socialist, we are therefore radically free to be free, if we so choose. This has now become our culture’s paradigm as well. But the freedom is not oriented toward anything other than itself, which is why we are obsessed with self-identities. Thus, there is nothing to build — no telos of any substance because there is no such thing as normative ends or prescribed ends, which only limit our freedom. I could go on, but that’s enough rambling for now.

      • How do you see a politics of displacement working out from the socialist angle to support its varying idealistic goals? E.g.: Revolution for revolutions sake. For me it’s the false promise of freedom; a false hope often paraded as liberation.

      • To be fair, many neo-conservatives still thought with the logic of a Marxist. All they did was replace socialism with democratic capitalism. So for the neo-conservative, democratic capitalism represented an end of history.

      • A lot of the old-school anticapitalist left, while generally agreeing with the new social left’s goals, hate identity politics (or are at least deeply ambivalent). From their perspective, the strong unifying base of class solidarity is replaced with endless fragmentation of identities, which both creates perpetual civil wars and is easily co-opted by the capitalist elite. Socialist Fredrik de Boer is a good example:

        The stuff I’ve read about the new white ghetto is terrifying and something I would like to read more about. It is part of the reason for Trump’s success – he at least pretends to care about them, so that is enough for many working-class whites to jump on board with all the toxic stuff.

      • Rod, yeah, I think that’s right. Interestingly, we could probably apply this paradigm to the Brexit debate and, in particular, the heated exchange between Christiane Amanpour and Daniel Hannan. They were clearly coming at the issue(s) from completely different vantages, where Amanpour could not seriously grapple with anything that challenges her globalist, placeless, idealist, liberationist center in the self. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but that was my impression.

        Ivan, that’s a great point, and I agree. For all of my criticisms of Left Hegelianism, I see neo-conservatism and most schools of libertarianism (different as they are) to be making the same mistakes and rooted in the same Idealist commitments. The only difference is whether the state or the market becomes the idol and, therefore, the savior.

        Joel, that is something that my philosophy professors at UNC-Charlotte lamented. They saw the various schools of postmodernism and identity politics as a betrayal of genuine liberalism. In today’s campus climate, they would abhor the culture of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.” The truths of liberalism must be universal or they are not truths and are only divisive. My impression is that this backlash against postmodernism has dominated in the philosophy departments, and we can hope that it spreads to the other departments (such as the “studies” departments). You are right about Trump. He may be an idiot in many ways, but he outmaneuvered every politician by accurately identifying and speaking to the disaffected and disenfranchised white poor. By contrast, Jeb and Marco and all the rest didn’t have a clue. Amazing.

      • I don’t understand Vance’s point. Socialism was never a serious ideology in the United States, though it had minor times of peaks. Bernie Sanders is hardly a socialist.

        I don’t understand why other countries would want to emulate the American Dream. You could extract a meaningless platitude, but that denies the essence of why the American dream could be anything. Historically speaking, it could only exist with a general, popular, social imagination that there was endless unoccupied land where everyone could be the king of their own manor. When the frontier ended (1890s), the American Dream was conjugated as the country had an identity crisis. Hence we’ve gone through periods of empire building, tycoon obsession, anti-Communism etc etc etc.

        Channeling Chrysostom, it’s not a sin to have wealth, but we ought to ask where it came from. The prevalence of an American Middle class, whence it came? Whether Indian land theft or global exploitation through labor exploitation (why is Walmart so cheap?), we live off the backs of other people. So before we celebrate or lament the Middle class, how much is it just a material means to distract ourselves? Are we crying selfish tears over our own unrighteousness? I speak as someone in the lower-middle, and I’m not saying divest. But economic classes are perhaps not something to lament or praise, only utilize. I speak as a Christian on this.

        American ideology does not promote community health or development, it eviscerates it. This is not just neo-liberalist market economics (the idea of a placeless global village), capitalism, or neo-conservative, Fukuyama-esque, Democratic empire.

        Quite frankly, Vance’s definition of Socialism is a strawman. Socialism existed before Marx, and its first major eruption was a means to combat globalizing tendency among the elite (i.e the Jacobin radicals of the French Revolution who mainly rioted for government price control). Of course, there were some pretty murderous currents within it, and one might say it was co-opted (Robespierre the lawyer took power, and Babeuf the Agrarian utopian was put to the sword). This is a part of the legacy of Socialism that existed before, and during, the Marxist reformation of the idea. It’s not for nothing that Marx’s theories have never played a definitive role in any socialist revolutions. The Soviet Union looked more like rule under the Ivan the Terrible.

        I’m not arguing for Socialism, but a return to communal integrity is not so simple. Identity politics is, in many ways, a collective insanity. But I have to wonder how much a racialized social foundation, denying people so often, can drive people to extremes in order to seize a voice. It’s no solution, and it’s a growing problem, but I understand the reaction.

        And as someone in the history dept., we are too retarded to ever be on the right side of the trend. We’re usually the last to adapt. So history departments will probably be a bunch of washed up identity-politics types for another forty years, saying nothing to nobody. /cynicism


      • Cal, I am not sure if Vance talks about socialism — that’s just Rod and I. I’ll have to read the book before I can relate any of my broad theories to Vance’s on the ground, personal analysis.

  4. Speaking of Schleiermacher, it seems that a good deal of what Barth says is implicitly a response to Schleiermacher. Webster’s introduction to Barth seems to confirm what I am suspecting. Having just finished reading Dogmatics in Outline, I’m wondering just how much I’m missing out from not knowing much about 19th century liberal theology.

    • Indeed, Ivan, and there is currently a resurgence of interest in 19th century theology — Schleiermacher in particular — thanks to the resurgence in Barth for the past 20+ years. It was inevitable that young PhD students would get bored with the endless amount of Barth research and want to explore other figures. Speaking for myself, I am more interested in the (mostly forgotten) great theologians between Scheiermacher and Barth, such as Isaak Dorner and F.H.R. Frank, who both anticipate Barth in interesting ways. The 19th and early 20th century is one of the great high moments in the history of theology — certainly one of the creative high points, which can be both good and bad.

    • The only problem is that I’ve never been a Wagner fan. Mea culpa! That whole period (Gustav Holst too) has never appealed to me, but I’ve never really given it the serious attention that Scruton has done. His interview on YouTube about Wagner is fascinating.

  5. I ordered the hillbilly book and plan to eventually get Eire’s book on the reformation. A couple of recent things I want to read:
    Islamic Exceptionalism by Shadi Hamid – This sounds like a helpful geopolitical and theological perspective on recent events. In my mind we need to both take Islam seriously as an actual worldview while also avoiding the extremes of absolute demonization. As problematic as the right’s fearmongering about Islam can be, the mainstream progressive poststructural religious indifferentism is very naive (and I would even say colonialist).

    Catholic Enlightenment by Ulrich Lehner – This book argues that the hardline fortress mentality toward modernity in the 19th and early 20th centuries really only solidified as a result of the French revolution and before that there was a strong movement that wanted to seriously dialogue with modernity and contributed to its development. Lehner says that the church was one of the vanguards of proto-feminism after Trent, for example. It sounds like it avoids simplistic apologetics and also includes the bad stuff like justifications of slavery.

    • Both of those books look good. Academic views on multiculturalism — for all its good in regard to civil liberties in the West — is indeed a form of colonialism in its purported value-neutrality vis-a-vis non-Western cultures. As for the Lehner book, I also see that he has also just published another book: On the Road to Vatican II: German Catholic Enlightenment and Reform of the Church from Fortress Press. That’s quite an accomplishment to have two serious monographs in one year.

  6. I guess I’m late to this party, but I also want to say thanks Kevin for how you bring to us from time to time interesting books to read and consider. I’d never heard of Roger Scruton but thanks to your blog now I do and I’ll probably check out one of his books. Note: I’ve stopped buying books. We’ve run out of room in our house.

    • Thanks, Mike, and I definitely understand what it’s like to run out of room for books! I occasionally go through my books and give away the ones that I know I will never read/use again, so I can make room.

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