Most Influential Books

I was tagged by Daniel and Tonya over at the Hebrew and Greek Reader to complete a book meme.  The originator of this meme is Ken Brown.  The idea is that you have to either share your top five most influential books or the top five scholars that had the most immediate and lasting influence on how you read the Bible.  Here is my list:

Perdue, Leo G. Wisdom and Cult: A Critical Analysis of the Views of Cult in Wisdom Literatures of Israel and Near East. Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series. Missoula, MT.: Scholars Press, 1977.  This book brilliantly challenges the notion that wisdom was a secular enterprise and only later within its redactional history was it then baptized into cultic waters.  Perdue, in my opinion, shatters this presupposition; showing that the sage, in his quest to gain a mastery over order, would not and could not avoid the cultic sphere.  This book has greatly shaped my understanding of the wisdom tradition in profound ways, and I reference it often.

Dunn, James D. G. The Epistle to the Galatians. Black’s New Testament Commentaries. Peabody, MA.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993.  This commentary opened up my understanding to the Pauline Corpus, by introducing me to the N.P.P.  Also, this book is indirectly responsible for my desire to obtain a MA in Old Testament studies.  I can honestly say that this book was also responsible for the single greatest paradigm shift in my own theology.

Fox, Michael V. Proverbs 1-9. Anchor Bible Commentary. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.  This is probably one of the best commentaries that I own (and I own a decent number of commentaries).  Fox is a master interpreter and his work has greatly influenced my understanding of this book (which is also my favorite biblical book).  Fox’s book is the first title I pick up when I am beginning to study a particular passage in Proverbs 1-9 (outside of my BHS).  I also debated putting any of Claudia Camp’s books in this space.  She is one of my favorite O.T. scholars, but I decided to pick a title that covered the book of Proverbs more systematically, hence Fox’s title won out.

Postman, Neil. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York, NY.: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.  This book is not a book about biblical studies, but it has shaped my reading of the bible none the less.  Postman employs an ecological model to the advent of new technologies.  These technologies impact and ultimately alter one’s cultural environment in powerful ways.  This model has helped me to better understand a slew of technological changes that occur over time within the biblical history, while causing me to think about the ramifications of these changes.

Dickens, Charles.  Great Expectations.  The last title isn’t theological, but it is one of the best works of fiction.  I read this book once a semester, and with each reading I catch something that I missed.  This book has helped clarify for me the human experience, and in many ways has helped me to better understand the possibility of character formation through the pedagogy of love.  Someday, I will have to make a post about this subject.


Oddly enough, I did not read the original post issuing this meme until I was finished writing my own.  Apparently Ken Brown and I have been shaped by some similar authors (Dickens) and concepts (N.P.P)…very interesting.

Tag your it (Calvin and Mandy Park, Jim Getz, Phillip Marshall, Richard), unless you have all ready been tagged.

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