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Christianity in the New Millennium

by Professor Walter Wyman, Religion

* The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions by Marcus J. Borg and N. T. Wright (Harper San Francisco, 2000). Marcus Borg is a New Testament scholar and fellow of the Jesus Seminar; N. T. Wright is likewise a New Testament Scholar, but he is a conservative critic of the Jesus seminar. In alternating chapters Borg and Wright address such focal points as the actions and teachings of the historical Jesus, the virgin birth, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus.

Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a New Millennium by Robert W. Funk (Harper San Francisco, 1997). This book is by the founder of the Jesus Seminar. Funk clearly lays out his agenda and conclusions. Along the way he gives the reader an introduction to contemporary New Testament scholarship generally and the major issues and procedures that guide the Jesus Seminar’s quest for the historical Jesus.

Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile by John Shelby Spong (Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 1999). Spong recently retired from his position as Episcopal bishop of Newark, New Jersey. Has the Christian creed become simply incredible in the modern world? Spong thinks there are good reasons for thinking that it has, and proposes ways in which the central touch points of Christian belief should be rethought.

* Belief in God in an Age of Science by John Polkinghorne (Yale University Press, 1999) and Paths from Science Towards God by Arthur Peacocke (Oneworld Publications, 2001). These two books address the relation of science and theology; both authors have dual training in science and theology. These two books demonstrate that the terms posed by the creationist controversy are not the only way to think about the relation of science and religion.

Cardinal Ratzinger, The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith by John L. Allen, Jr., (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2001). Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is the prefect of the Catholic church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; John Allen is Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. A self described “progressive Catholic,” Allen has chosen to write “about the chief doctrinal conservative of our time” because he wants to understand him. This engagingly written and fair-minded study opens a fascinating window on contemporary issues in the Catholic church.

Walter Wyman, Weyerhaeuser Professor of Biblical Literature and Professor of Religion














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