Morning Roundup - April 25, 2012
In a recent edition of The Chronicle, Lynn Worsham reflects on the reasons why book reviews are a key contribution to the scholarly conversation. IMHO, she is right, and her points serve as a reminder of why theological book reviews are helpful.
Worsham makes several points that are worth repeating. First, she argues that the book review is an excellent venue for faculty and students to develop the skills necessary for scholarly writing. Second, and more importantly, a well-crafted book review helps the scholarly community make wise decisions about how to use our time. In an era in which one must choose between thousands of books on any particular subject, the book review helps make the choice manageable. Third, in order for a review to be helpful, it must provide more than a summary of the book's content, by engaging the book and evaluating its argument(s).
In addition, Worsham provides some helpful tips for first time reviewers:
1. Don't review a book by a friend, colleague, or mentor.
2. Don't review a book by a professional rival or foe.
3. Don't use the review as an opportunity to eviscerate an author.
4. Choose a book that has just been published, not one that has been out for many months or more.
5. After selecting a newly published book, contact the journal's book review editor and ask for permission to write a review for publication.
6. In your review, keep your description of the book relatively short.
7. Keep your readers (fellow scholars in your discipline) in mind as you write the review.
8. Make sure you carefully follow the journal's stated format and typical practices for reviews.
Here is a list of criteria Frame considers unsound when evaluating theological writings:
Tim Keller spoke at the City to City conference this week in New York on the difference between 'inner power' that which flows out of our relationship with the Lord and 'external power' that which comes from position, status or prestige. Focusing on 'external power' is deadly, but 'inner power' brings life and vitality to you and your ministry.
Here are his 5 things we have to work at, plan for, be disciplined at if to have independent, inner, source of power
1. Private devotions
2. Spiritual friendship
3. Pastoral counseling
4. Study & reading
5. Corporate worship