The Beginning of Politics: Power in the biblical Book of Samuel by Moshe Halbertal and Stephen Holmes (Princeton, £22.95 (£20.65); 978-0-691-17462-4).
“The Beginning of Politics mines the story of Israel's first two kings to unearth a natural history of power, providing a forceful new reading of what is arguably the first and greatest work of Western political thought. Moshe Halbertal and Stephen Holmes show how the beautifully crafted narratives of Saul and David cut to the core of politics, exploring themes that resonate wherever political power is at stake.”
Reading Jesus’s Bible: How the New Testament helps us understand the Old Testament by John Goldingay (Eerdmans, £19.99 (£18); 978-0-8028-7364-4).
“For Jesus and his contemporaries, what we now know as the Old Testament was simply the Scriptures - and it was the fundamental basis of how people understood their lives with God. In Reading Jesus's Bible John Goldingay discusses five ways in which the New Testament uses the Old Testament.”
Hope Without Optimism by Terry Eagleton (Yale, £10.99 (£9.90); 978-0-300-22644-7). New in paperback.
“In a virtuoso display of erudition, thoughtfulness and humour, Terry Eagleton teases apart the concept of hope as it has been (often mistakenly) conceptualised over six millennia, from ancient Greece to today. He distinguishes hope from simple optimism, cheeriness, desire, idealism or adherence to the doctrine of Progress, bringing into focus a standpoint that requires reflection and commitment, arises from clear-sighted rationality, can be cultivated by practice and self-discipline, and which acknowledges but refuses to capitulate to the realities of failure and defeat.”
Prayers for Dementia: And how to live well with it by Fay Sampson (DLT, £5.99 (£5.40); 978-0-232-53297-5).
“The book is divided into three parts. Part A is targeted at those with dementia and includes reassuring Bible quotations and prayers. Part B is for carers and includes practical advice for caring for dementia patients as well as prayers. Part C is for family and friends, indeed the wider community and attempts to contextualise dementia in terms of what it can mean for those beyond patient and carer matched with appropriate prayers.”
English Parish Churches: Architecture, art and people by Matthew Byrne (National Churches Trust, £20 (£18); 978-1-78442-239-4).
“This beautifully illustrated book features photographic portraits and descriptions of 26 English churches and chapels: ancient and modern, large and small, urban and rural. It reveals the beauty of this group of buildings, the history and significance of which are unmatched anywhere in the world.”
Selected by Frank Nugent, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.