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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Books
History, biography, politics, and even comedy all find a place in this year’s top 10 religion and spirituality books. All titles were reviewed over the last 12 months.
The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible. By Matti Friedman. 2012. Algonquin, $24.95 (9781616200404).
Written in the tenth century, the Codex, the most accurate copy of the Hebrew Bible, was safely kept in the Syrian city of Aleppo until Israel became a state. This fascinating piece of nonfiction traces its history and fate.
Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. By John G. Turner. 2012. Harvard/Belknap, $35 (9780674049673).
Recent scholarship helps Turner develop an impressively detailed portrait of a controversial giant, and his broad historical perspective clarifies why Young’s ecclesiastical successors still feel the man’s influence.
Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written. By Marcus J. Borg. 2012. HarperOne, $29.99 (9780062082107).
An eminently readable and eye-opening offering as well as a new and fascinating way to read the New Testament.
The Last Testament: A Memoir by God. By David Javerbaum. 2011. Simon & Schuster, $23.99 (9781451640182).
God knows the current state of publishing, so He decides to help out by writing a telleth-all. Plenty of laughs, yes, but also a dazzling display of religious knowledge.
Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine. By Eric Weiner. 2011. Twelve, $26.99 (9780446539470).
A hilarious and upfront account of Weiner’s journey to find God—which takes him from Catholicism to Sufism, Judaism, Wicca, and all points in between.
The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation. By Jon M. Sweeney. 2012. Image, $14 (9780385531894).
In the unprecedented decision by Celestine V to surrender the seat of Peter, Sweeney uncovers a tangle of mysteries. A story of real sanctity enveloped in baffling ambiguities.
The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus. By John Dominic Crossan. 2012. HarperOne, $25.95 (9780061875670).
One of the most insightful and thought-provoking writers about the New Testament says both the little stories Jesus told and the big stories of his life are parables. Crossan’s exceptional presentation makes this one of the most enthralling Bible-study courses readers will ever take.
Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation. By Elaine Pagels. 2012. Viking, $29.95 (9780670038459).
The preeminent scholar of the early-Christian period uses ancient sacred writings, including the Bible, to illuminate the New Testament’s last book.
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. By Jonathan Haidt. 2012. Pantheon, $28.95 (9780307377906).
Haidt says religion was essential to human moral foundation. Atheists and believers, liberals and conservatives will all find some of their cherished tenets in jeopardy here—along with a concluding plea for more civility that all should support.
Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power. Ed. by Kathe Schaaf and others. 2011. Skylight Paths, $24.99 (9781594733130).
Written by a group of uniformly outstanding contributors, these essays create a dynamic conversation about women’s deepest spiritual roots and explore a global reclamation of women’s rightful place as spiritual leaders.
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