Leman’s Favorite Books About God

I made a comment on James Pyles’s blog today that Heschel’s God in Search of Man is in my top twenty favorite books of all time. That led me to think about formalizing my list. I exclude from the list things like “the Bible” or “midrash” or “mishnah” or “gemara.” I’m talking about books that draw on the Bible and midrash and Talmud and also Christian creeds and ideas. My list may be quirky. But it is mine. Some are not directly about God, per se, but support developing a view of God, history, and biblical literature. The list would probably change from year to year, but this is what came to my mind:

20. The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel.

19. Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis.

18. Everyman’s Talmud, Abraham Cohen.

17. The Essential Talmud, Adin Steinsaltz

16. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis.

15. My People’s Passover Haggadah (2 Volumes), Lawrence Hoffman and David Arnow (eds.).

14. As a Driven Leaf, Milton Steinberg.

13. A Community Called Atonement, Scot McKnight.

12. The Prophets, Abraham Joshua Heschel.

11. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Richard Bauckham.

10. The Confessions, Augustine.

9. Michael Fox’s Commentary on Proverbs.

8. Jacob Milgrom’s (3-volume) Commentary on Leviticus.

7. Raymond Brown’s (2-Volume) Commentary on John.

6. Love and the Messianic Age, Philip Levertoff.

5. Miracles, C.S. Lewis.

4. God in Search of Man, Abraham Joshua Heschel.

3. The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis.

2. Mesillat Yesharim (JPS Edition with Ira Stone’s comments), Chaim Luzzato.

1. The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis.

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7 Responses to Leman’s Favorite Books About God

  1. Derek Leman says:

    Okay, you have to notice the prominence of C.S. Lewis and Abraham Joshua Heschel here. Also, in another year, it may be that more books in the mussar category will be on my list.

  2. James says:

    That’s James Pyles’s blog to you, cowboy. 😉

    Thanks for the mention and the list.

  3. Derek Leman says:

    James, thanks and I corrected the spelling above. Oops.

    I think I would add #21. Justification, N.T. Wright.

  4. Don says:

    “In the Shadow of the Temple” (Jewish Influences on Early Christianity) by Oskar Skarsaune, is one of my all time favorites. His book “Jewish Believers in Jesus” showed me the many forms messianic congrations took in the early centuries. “Under the Influence” (How Christianity Transformed Civilization” by Alvin J. Smith, is a great practical apologetic work. These are some of my favorites.

    • Derek Leman says:

      Shadow of the Temple is a good book. I’m not familiar with Alvin Smith. I’ll check it out on amazon.

  5. louise says:

    Have not read Herschel but he sounds good….

    Lewis helped us all either early or late…

    Can i add a couple of favorites?
    1. THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND FAITH, volume 1 “Copernius and the Jews” by Dan Gruber
    2. THE CHURCH AND THE JEWS, “the Biblical Relationship” also by Dan Gruber (cut my teeth on this one in terms of learning how the church and the Jews became separated and re-learning church history, which i had been taught in a public high school and also in churches).
    3. CHRIST ON THE JEWISH ROAD by Richard Wurmbrand, also wrote TORTURED FOR CHRIST which impacted me deeply decades ago when i also met the man, newly released from 14 yrs of cruel imprisonment in communist Romania. anything by Wurmbrand is worth reading, some believers consider him too ‘mystical’ but some of us exult in that. Wurmbrand and his wife were Jews by birth, amazing people …..

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