*** DEBUG END ***

Review of the Year 2019: Books

20 December 2019

THE past year was a striking one for books on church — particularly An­­gli­­can — history, in the 20th cen­tury. They included Christian Radic­al­ism in the Church of England and the Invention of the British Sixties, 1957-1970 by Sam Brewitt-Taylor, and This is Your Hour: Christian intellectuals in Britain and the crisis of Europe, 1937-49 by John Carter Wood; and Adam Sisman’s The Pro­fessor and the Parson. The period was also covered by a large part of The Cowley Fathers by Serenhedd James.

Charles Moore’s authorised bio­graphy of Margaret Thatcher, Her­self Alone, the third and final vol­ume, was reviewed, as was a book on Christians who fought fascism, Fergus Butler-Gallie’s best­sell­ing Priests de la Résistance! The late Valerie Eliot’s series of volumes of T. S. Eliot’s letters reached 1936-38.

Among other historical titles re­­viewed in our columns were The Idea of Nicaea in the Early Church Councils AD 431-451 by Mark Smith; The Further Correspondence of William Laud, edit­ed by Kenneth Fincham; and The Oxford Illustrated History of the World by Felipe Fernández- Armesto.

Titles published to coincide with the canonisation of John Henry Newman in­­cluded The Hand­book of John Henry New­man, edited by Frederick D. Aquino and Benjamin J. King; John Henry Newman: A very brief history by Eamon Duffy; and Newman: The heart of holiness by Roderick Strange.

Well-known authors whose books were reviewed included Luminaries by Rowan Williams; Angels by Peter Stanford; Dominion by Tom Holland; Love Without End by Melvyn Bragg; The Voices of Nîmes by Suzannah Lipscomb; The Lost Art of Scripture by Karen Armstrong; and Are We Bodies or Souls? by Richard Swinburne.

The relationship of science and religion was explored in The Scien­tific Sublime by Alan G. Gross; The Territories of Human Reason by Alister E. McGrath; Science and Humanity by Andrew Steane; The Poetry and Music of Science by Tom McLeish; and the shortlisted 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize title Making All Things New by Ilia Delio.

Apologetics was covered in Five Events that Made Christianity by John Pritchard; The Table by Paul Bayes; and Apologetics Without Apo­logy by Elaine Graham. The God debate was covered in Religion Hurts by John Bowker and Does Religion Do More Harm than Good? by Rupert Shortt.

Theological books included That All Shall Be Saved by David Bentley Hart; Religion in the Modern World by Keith Ward; Christ and the Common Life by Luke Bretherton; The Providence of God by David Fergusson; A Cultural Theology of Salvation by Clive Marsh; God Beyond Words (2019 Michael Ramsey Prize short­list) by Jill Harshaw; Augustine’s Life of Prayer, Learn­ing and Love by Cally Hammond; The Origins of Angli­can Moral Theology by Peter H. Sedgwick; and Con­fronting Vio­lence by Richard A. Bur­ridge and Jonathan Sacks.

Books on the Bible included the best­selling A History of the Bible by John Barton; God B. C. by Anthony Phillips; The Badly Behaved Bible
by Nick Page; Rehearsing Scripture by Anna Carter Florence; Reading Romans Backwards by Scot Mc­­Knight; and The Art of Bible Trans­la­tion, and The Hebrew Bible: A trans­­lation with commentary by Robert Alter.

Preaching was the theme of Speaking the Truth by Samuel Wells; By Way of the Heart by Mark Oakley; and Preach It! Under­stand­­ing African Cari­­b­­bean preaching by Carol Tomlin.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book was Recon­ciliation by Muthuraj Swamy. Among the other Lent titles were The Merciful Humil­ity of God by Jane Williams; From Now On by Rachel Mann; and Celtic Lent by David Cole. Advent inspired In the Bleak Midwinter by Rachel Mann; Freedom is Coming by Nick Baines; and Wake Up to Advent! by John Sentamu.

Other titles on spirituality in­­cluded The Shattering of Loneliness by Erik Varden; Touched by God by Luigi Gioia; An Ocean of Light by Martin Laird; The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr; The Joy of God by Sister Mary David; Alive in God by Timothy Radcliffe; and Why Pray? by the late Robert Llewelyn.

Priesthood, ministry, mission, and ecumenism were discussed in The Great Vocations by Andrew Watson and Magdalen Smith; Face to Face by Samuel Wells; The Study of Ministry, edited by Martyn Percy; Out of Noth­ing by Andrew Dunlop; Mis­sional Conversations by Cathy Ross and Colin Smith; and Vicar by Alan Bartlett. Among titles on liturgy and worship were Spirit and Sacrament by Andrew Wilson and Did the An­gli­cans and Roman Catholics Agree on the Eucharist? by Colin Buchanan.

Environmental concerns were reflected in the World Made Other­wise by Tim Gorringe; God’s Good Earth by Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn; The Great Flood by Edward Platt; and On Fire by Naomi Klein.

The issues of gender and same-sex relationships were covered in Trans­faith by Chris Dowd, Christina Beardsley, and Justin Tanis; Shame­less by Nadia Bolz-Weber; God, Gender, Sex and Mar­­riage by Mandy Ford.

Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church came under scru­tiny in In the Closet of the Vatican by Frédéric Martel.

On the abuse scan­­dal in the C of E were To Heal and Not to Hurt by Rosie Harper and Alan Wilson; Letters to a Broken Church, edit­ed by Janet Fife and Gilo; and Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse by Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys.

Among titles exploring interfaith issues, racial justice, and community relations were Vibrant Chris­tianity in Multifaith Britain by Andrew Smith; Loving Your Neighbour in an Age of Religious Conflict by James Walters; We Need to Talk About Race by Ben Lindsay; Holy Envy by Barbara Brown Taylor; Truth Over Fear by Charles Kimball; and Being Jewish Today by Tony Bayfield.

Books on pilgrimage included Medi­­eval Pilgrimage by Nicholas Orme; Walking to Jeru­salem by Justin Butcher; Striking Out by Stephen Cottrell; A Cornish Celtic Way by Nigel Marns; Following the Celtic Way and The Fife Pilgrim by Ian Bradley; Travels With a Stick by Richard Frazer; and The Naked Hermit by Nick Mayhew-Smith

Literature titles included Anglican Women Novelists, edited by Judith Maltby and Alison Shell; Born in Gilead: A theological dialogue with Mari­lynne Robinson, edited by Tim­othy Larsen and Keith L. Johnson; and God and the Gothic by Alison Milbank. Popular poetry titles in­­cluded The Five Quintets by Michael O’Siadhail; Francis: A life in songs by Ann Wroe; and The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin by the late Geoffrey Hill.

Of the novels reviewed, James Runcie offered his fans The Road to Grantchester, a prequel to the six novels in his crime series. Others included The Good Priest by Tina Beattie; The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton; A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier; The Second Sleep by Rob­ert Harris; and the 2019 Booker Prizewinner, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Also reviewed was Kiss and Part, a collection of 10 short stories by women writers, including Catherine Fox, Salley Vickers, and Marina Warner.

Autobiographies and memoirs included River of Fire by Sister Helen Prejean; Rough Ideas by Stephen Hough; A Better Ambition by Tim Farron; Going Home by Raja Shehadeh; and Me by Elton John. There were also biographies of Canon Michael Green, Jane Haining, Anne Frank, and C. E. Kempe.

Other books of interest reviewed dur­ing the year were The Vocation of Anglican­ism by Paul Avis; Theo­somnia by Andrew Bishop; The Sac­red Art of Joking by James Cary; The Lost Message of Paul by Steve Chalke; The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia by John Binns; Retired and Inspired by Wendy Billington; Ships of Heaven by Christopher Somer­ville; Peterloo by Jacqueline Riding; and The Power of Pictures in Christian Thought by Anthony C. Thiselton.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)