Thursday, 18 June 2009

Five books that have changed the way I read the Bible

J.K.Gayle over at Aristotle's Feminist Subject has tagged me on a five book meme about the books that have the most lasting influence on how I read the Bible

Tonya and Daniel of The Hebrew and Greek Reader have posted their lists and have tagged some of us. Seems they'd been tagged in a meme by Ken Brown (of C. Orthodoxy), who writes:

1. Name the five books (or scholars) that had the most immediate and lasting influence on how you read the Bible. Note that these need not be your five favorite books, or even the five with which you most strongly agree. Instead, I want to know what five books have permenantly changed the way you think.

2. Tag five others.

You can read J.K.'s answers here. Ever the high-achiever he has also added a further 10 you can read here. You can also read Suzanne McCarthy's five here.

This meme was difficult for me and I'm still not sure that I'm quite happy with what I have decided on but here goes:

1) Faith and Fratricide by Rosemary Radford Ruether
Reading this book for my undergraduate history dissertation made me a theologian. It helped me with my personal struggle to believe in the God of the whole Bible.

2) All desires known by Janet Morley
My original copy of this book was published in a simple green card cover with a golden symbol on the cover. It is very dear to me. These beautiful prayers sing to me of women's contemplation and creativity. Helping me to not only read the Bible in a different way but pray it with a different voice.

3) Fulbert Steffensky or Dorothee Sölle, I think today I shall choose Feier des Lebens and not Die Hinreise. I read both of these books during my year in East Germany as the wall was coming down and society there was in transformation. It was only on the eve of Holy Week in Greifswald that I learnt for the first time from Arndt Noack that Steffensky was Sölle's husband. These two books for me make a trio with Charles Elliott's Praying the Kingdom which I also read during that year. I read the Bible passionately, prayerfully, politically, partially, pointedly ...

4) André Chouraqui's translation of the Bible into French. There will always be another meaning waiting to break out from the text at you thanks to talented and daring translators. The first time I heard Chouraqui's rendering of the Beatitudes something fell into place for me.

5) This has to be a novel. Novels are where I get my theology, they are what send me back to the Bible with new eyes, ears and understanding. It could have been the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver but it will actually be Beloved by Toni Morrison. A former lover sent me the copy I first read and it blew me away, even though it was his way of saying his beloved was another. I read it weeping for my lost love, struggling to understand the amazing English and occasionally thinking about the Old Testament essay I should actually have been writing at the time. This complex narrative speaks deeply to me about all of our need to tell our story in a meaningful way, to tell the story with others.

So there's your five (with a sneaky 3 extra) but I have made my choice for now.

SORRY forgot to tag anyone so here goes I tag:
Novice blogger, Maryann, Dr B, Skelter and Sustain if able Kiwi.