The pick of the new re­leases

The Church of England - - ENGLAND ON SUNDAY -

Pub­lished in 2010 but still avail­able is Ni­cholas Per­rin’s ‘Je­sus and the Tem­ple’ (SPCK), it should be read by any­one with a se­ri­ous in­ter­est in the New Tes­ta­ment. The au­thor, who teaches at Wheaton, was for­merly re­search as­sis­tant to NT Wright and the book is ded­i­cated to Bishop Tom and his wife, Molly. Per­rin writes in an ac­ces­si­ble style and of­fers new in­sights to help us un­der­stand the his­tor­i­cal Je­sus. One critic found this book hard to put down. Highly rec­om­mended.

What light can po­etry shed on re­li­gious be­lief and na­tional iden­tity? ‘Red­crosse’, edited by Ewan Fernie (Blooms­bury) is a col­lec­tion of es­says in which the ed­i­tor, a Shake­spearean scholar, theologian An­drew Shanks, and con­tem­po­rary po­ets Jo Shap­cott, Michael Sy­monds Roberts and An­drew Mo­tion re­flect on this ques­tion. The book in­cludes ‘Red­crosse’, a liturgy for St Ge­orge’s Day, and re­flec­tions of the cre­ation of the liturgy by John Milbank, Sal­ley Vick­ers, and Sarah Apertrei (as well as the con­trib­u­tors to this book who helped cre­ated the liturgy). This is an im­por­tant re­source for St Ge­orge’s Day and car­ries an en­dorse­ment by Bishop Rowan Wil­liams.

In ‘The Ex­quis­ite Risk of Love’ (DLT) Robert Wal­dron chron­i­cles the love Thomas Mer­ton felt for a young nurse who cared for him dur­ing spinal ill­ness. The book re­pro­duces 18 love po­ems by Mer­ton with ref­er­ences from his jour­nal and the ed­i­tor ar­gues that this for­bid­den re­la­tion­ship made it pos­si­ble for Mer­ton to at­tain a psy­cho­log­i­cal and spir­i­tual whole­ness he had not known be­fore.

Has ‘see you on Face­book’ re­placed ‘see you at the pub?’ How is tech­nol­ogy chang­ing our lives? Is it steal­ing some­thing es­sen­tial in re­turn for all its mar­vel­lous gifts? John Lynch, a priest and sem­i­nary rec­tor in Rome, ex­plores some of th­ese ques­tions in ‘The Scent of Lemons’ (DLT).

Jeremy Wor then, Prin­ci­pal of the South East In­sti­tute for The­o­log­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion, ex­plores the is­sue of vo­ca­tion in ‘Re­spond­ing to God’s Call’ (Can­ter­bury). There are al­ready a num­ber of books on this sub­ject but this new study comes rec­om­mended by John Pritchard, Gra­ham Tom­lin, Martin Percy, Paul Avis, and the Pres­i­dent of the Methodist Con­fer­ence, Mark Wake­lin.

Bill Med­ley, who has worked as a stand-up co­me­dian and pro­fes­sional en­ter­tainer, gives the five ma­jor re­li­gions, Chris­tian­ity, Hin­duism, Bud­dhism, Ju­daism and Is­lam, a lay­man’s ex­am­i­na­tion in ‘Re­li­gion is for Fools’ (Au­then­tic). Med­ley has pro­duced satires on re­li­gion; now he gives it a more se­ri­ous ex­am­i­na­tion.

David Ford’s ‘Shape of Liv­ing’ (Can­ter­bury) first ap­peared in 1997 un­der the old Fount im­print. Now it has been re-is­sued. It asks how we can cope cre­atively with all the in­flu­ences that shape our daily lives.

Widely re­viewed but not yet noted in th­ese pages is the fi­nal vol­ume of Pope Bene­dict’s life of Je­sus, which deals with the in­fancy nar­ra­tives and is pub­lished by Blooms­bury and can be highly rec­om­mended. With­out ig­nor­ing the find­ings of New Tes­ta­ment schol­ar­ship, the au­thor is more in­ter­ested in the spir­i­tual mean­ing of the in­fancy nar­ra­tives. This is the fruit of a life­time’s schol­ar­ship, prayer and re­flec­tion.

Hilde­gard of Bin­gen (1098 – 1179) com­posed mu­sic, pro­duced plays and wrote on nat­u­ral sci­ence, medicine, the­ol­ogy and ha­giog­ra­phy. She trav­elled on preach­ing tours and re­buked clergy and laity alike. In a ‘Taste of Hilde­gard’ (New City) Elizabeth Ruth Obard has edited se­lec­tions from Hilde­gard’s first book ‘Scivias’ which aimed to set out the way of sal­va­tion. There is an ex­cel­lent in­tro­duc­tion that out­lines Hilde­gard’s life and lots of il­lus­tra­tions. A good, short sam­pler of some­one re­cently named by Ro­man Catholics as a ‘doc­tor of the Church’.

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