August 22, 2010

Reading and Reading Goals?

Here's a quick post with a few questions for all of you out there in the blogosphere.  This is the first year I've ever set a personal reading goal.  So, I've started keeping up with titles and pages read this year.  Before I comment about my own goals, I have a few questions: How many of you set an annual reading goal?  What is it?  Do you usually make it?  Also, what are you reading right now?  Leave a comment with answers to any or all of the questions.  For work, I'm presently working through Michael Lawrence's Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry.  For doctoral preparation, I'm presently reading Simon Gathercole's Where is Boasting? Early Jewish Soteriology and Paul's Response in Romans 1-5 and J. R. Daniel Kirk's Unlocking Romans: Resurrection and the Justification of God.  What about you?  I want to hear from you.

9 comments:

ἐκκλησία said...

In no particular order:

a. A NEW KIND OF SCIENCE, Stephen Wolfram, ISBN-13 978-1579550080

b. THE THIRTEENTH TRIBE: Khazar Empire and Its Heritage, Arthur Koestler, ISBN-13 978-0330250696 and 978-0445042421

c. THE GRID 2, Second Edition: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure, Edited by Ian foster, Carl Kesselman, ISBN-13 978-1558609334

d. THE ANTIQUITES OF THE ANGLO-SAXON CHURCH, Rev. John Lingard, ISBN-13 978-1402173639

e. Vol VI: LEGAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL COURT OF NINEVEH, PART I: Tiglath-Pileser III through Esarhaddon, Edited by Theodore Kwasman and Simo Parpola, ISBN 951-570-093-0

f. LETTER PERFECT: The Marvelous History of Our Alphabet From A to Z, David SAcks, ISBN-13 978-0767911733

g. Vol V: THE CORRESPONDENCE OF SARGON II, PART II: Letters from the Northern and Northeastern Provinces, Edited by Giovanni B. Lanfranchi and Simo Parpola, ISBN 951-570-079-5

h. THE MEANING OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS: Their Significance For Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity, James Vanderkam, Peter Flint, ISBN-13 978-0060684655

i. ANCIENT ISRAEL: WHAT DO WE KNOW AND HOW DO WE KNOW IT?, Lester L. Grabbe, ISBN-13 978-0567032546

j. ANCIENT RECORDS OF ASSYRIA AND BABYLON - Vol II, Daniel David Luckenbill, ISBN-13 978-1854170491

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Matt O'Reilly said...

Ekklesia, Wow. Impressive reading list. From the looks of it, you either teach in the area of OT/ANE or are a doctoral student in that area. Am I right?

Matt

ἐκκλησία said...

Unfortunately, no graduate degrees are in my future.

Matt O'Reilly said...

Alas, I thought I had you pegged.

ἐκκλησία said...

If, underlying your question was the question “Why those particular books?” Those particular books point to the Bible, by helping to amplify, explain, or augment some Biblical question of interest (which Paul would describe as a mystery)

For example, consider Wolfram's A NEW KIND OF SCIENCE; In the Genesis vs. natural selection debate, people of all sorts want to explain the complexity found in nature. The prevalent humanistic explanation, since Darwin, is natural selection, which points to biological systems as a supreme example of higher order complexity without God as its source. Natural selection comes with the assumption higher order complexity is a consequence of a unique process of adaptation and natural selection in the system (leaving no room for God)

Stephen Wolfram, an atheist, has come along and discovered rule 110, the simplest Turing complete finite automata with the most unusual properties. This discovery seems little to most, but what it means to the believer is that higher order complexity does not require or likely result from any adaptive or selective process since complexity arises naturally in any system so designed, even simple systems.

Wolfram's rule 110 is such a system WITHOUT natural selection, but WITH simple initial conditions, and simple rules (having only 8). It is Turing complete and exhibits the property of being neither completely repetitive nor completely random and produces local properties whose emergence are in-decidable in a computational sense. The appearance of all of this higher order complexity isn't even apparent in the initial conditions or its governing rules but falls out of the structure of the designer's creation rather than a process of adaptation or selection.

In Genesis God lays out the initial conditions for creation, and He sets creation in motion with His ordained laws and rules. Creation is Turing Complete, yet the no believer I know believes the emergence of higher order complexity in creation requires a Natural Selective process without God. However, few believers can show Natural Selection is wrong or point to such a system.

Stephen Wolfram's Rule 110 gives us a simple human example of a Turing Complete system which is neither quite random, nor quite repetitive and which is capable of higher order complexity as a consequence of the design of the system and without natural selection. This example contradicts every assumption necessary for belief in Natural Selection and proves it wrong; and Wolfram doesn't even believe in God. Oh what humour God has!

Samual Clemens once wrote that “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example “.

All of the other books in that list, are similar in value for understanding some mystery of the Bible including prophetic fulfilment (since prophecy is really nothing by history pre-written).

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Hi Matt,

I don't set a reading goal, since I'm never short of books I want to read. If I were doing an advanced degree I guess I'd have to, as well as focus more tightly on a particular subject, which is maybe why I haven't gone in that direction.

Anyway, today I picked up Peter Hitchens' The Rage Against God, which looks intriguing. It's what I would regard as light reading because it's a personal reflection rather than theology proper. More heavy at the moment is Schnelle's NT Theology. I'm contemplating F F Bruce's magnum opus on Paul, as well as Ridderbos's Paul An Outline of His Theology and Dunne's book on the same. I'm trying to get across the past and present of Pauline research.

Nothing out of the ordinary there, I guess; I just follow my interests, which are mainly related to pastoral ministry.

Matt O'Reilly said...

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your comment. I've heard good things about the Hitchens book. I'm hoping to read Ridderbos's book on Paul before to long. One helpful summary of whats been said on Paul is David G. Horrell's An Introduction to the Study of Paul. He works through various current debates and covers who is on what side. I enjoyed it.

Matt