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Review of 2012: Books

21 December 2012

IN A YEAR when an Archbishop of Canterbury announced his resignation, the biographical studies of his predecessors reviewed in the Church Times included those of Geoffrey Fisher (by Andrew Chandler and David Hein), Cosmo Lang (Robert Beaken), Thomas Becket (John Guy), and Ralph D'Escures, William of Corbeil, and Theobald of Bec (Jean Truax).

Dr Williams's book Faith in the Public Square topped the Church Times monthly Top Ten, as did his study of C. S. Lewis's Narnia, The Lion's World.

Books by other world religious leaders included the Dalai Lama's Beyond Religion and Pope Benedict's XVI's Jesus of Nazareth: The infancy narratives.

Lent 2012 titles reviewed in the Church Times included: Love Unknown by Ruth Burrows; The Nail by Stephen Cottrell; On Retreat by Andrew Walker; The Heart's Time by Janet Morley; Love Set Free by Martin L. Smith; Handing on the Torch by John Young; and Finding a Voice by Hilary Brand.

The Church in rural England was analysed in Faith and the Future of the Countryside by Alan Smith and Jill Hopkinson, and Rural Life and Rural Church, edited by Leslie J. Francis and Mandy Robbins. The Church of the 21st century was discussed in The State of the Church and the Church of the State by Michael Turnbull and Donald McFadyen, and Religion and Change in Modern Britain by Linda Woodhead and Rebecca Catto.

Christianity in the public square was explored in A Public Faith by Miroslav Volf; Equality, Freedom and Religion by Roger Trigg; and Theology in the Public Square by Sebastian Kim.

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer, key titles reviewed included: The Book of Common Prayer: The texts of 1549, 1559 and 1662, edited by Brian Cummings; God Truly Worshipped: Thomas Cranmer and his writings, edited by Jonathan Dean; and Stir Up, O Lord by Kevin Carey. To mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, titles published included Reaping the Harvest by Suzanne Mulligan, Jim Corkery, and Gerry O'Hanlon; 50 Years Receiving Vatican II by Kevin T. Kelly; and the recently translated My Journal of the Council by Yves Congar.

The topical issue of virtue economics was analysed in The Price of Inequality by Jospeh E Stiglitz; What Money Can't Buy by Michael Sandel; How Much is Enough? by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky; and Faith and Social Capital by Adrian Dinham.

Anglican identity was explored in Mark Chapman's Anglican Theology, and in Samuel Wells's What Anglicans Believe. Christian living was celebrated in Jane Shaw's Practical Christianity and in David Adam's Occasions for Alleluia.

Popular titles on spirituality included: Everyday God by Paula Gooder; Does My Soul Look Big in This? by Rosemary Lain-Priestley; Falling Upward by Richard Rohr; and Lectio Divina by Christine Paintner.

Books on priestly ministry which came under review included Ministry Without Madness by Gordon Oliver; Called to Love by Raymond Tomkinson; and Mindful Ministry by Judith Thompson and Ross Thompson. Fresh Expressions were celebrated in Fresh! An introduction to Fresh Expressions of church and pioneer ministry by David Goodhew, Andrew Roberts, and Michael Volland. Resources for all-age worship included Creative Ideas for Using Worship by Paul Glass; and Worship Together by Sandra Millar. The rites of baptism and confirmation were explored and celebrated in Taking the Plunge by Timothy Radcliffe, and in Peter Maidment's and Paul Butler's Living your Confirmation. The eucharist was discussed in The Eucharistic Liturgies by Paul F. Bradshaw and Maxwell E. Johnson.

Titles to mark the Queen's Jubilee year included Queen Elizabeth II and her Church by the Dean of Westminster, John Hall.

Books on the God debate included Where the Conflict Really Lies by Alvin Plantinga; Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not by Robert N. McCauley; and God and the Scientist: Exploring the work of John Polkinghorne, edited by Fraser Watts and Christopher C. Knight. Well-known writers who joined the debate included: Francis Spufford in his much acclaimed Unapologetic; Roger Scruton in his The Face of God; Jonathan Clatworthy in Making Sense of Faith in God; Rupert Sheldrake with The Science Delusion; and Raymond

Novels reviewed included Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel; The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling; and The Potter's Hand by A. N. Wilson.

The best-selling memoir of the year was Leaving Alexandria by Richard Holloway. There were biographies, diaries, and collections of letters of John Keats, Mary Livingstone, Mary Robinson, Penna Davies, Edna O'Brien, John Stott, Martin Luther King Jr, and T. S. Eliot.

Books on the Bible included: Simply Jesus and How God Became King by Tom Wright; The Paul of Surprises by Geoffrey Turner; The Power of the Parable by John Dominic Crossan; Jesus and His World by Craig A. Evans; With My Whole Heart (the Psalms) by James Jones; and Inscribing the Text by Walter Brueggemann.

Other books reviewed included: Disabled Church by John Gillibrand; Jesus and the Subversion of Violence by Thomas Yoder Neufeld; Temple Mysticism by Margaret Barker; Jesus Freak by Sara Miles; Lost in Wonder by Aidan Nichols; Sacred Land by Martin Palmer; We Don't Do God by George Carey and Andrew Carey; Speaking Christian by Marcus J. Borg; The Art of Tentmaking by Stephen Burns; Making the Most of the Lectionary by David Stancliffe; Healing Agony by Stephen Cherry; Christian Beginnings by Geza Vermes; and Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition by Eamon Duffy.

The Advent titles reviewed included: Companions on the Bethlehem Road by Rachel Boulding; Saving Power by Michael Doe; Inside the Christmas Story by Anthony and Melanie Bush; and Come Emmanuel by Ann Lewin.



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