Archive Picks

More from 2009

Books Uncommon and Offbeat

Evangelical Disenchantment, Jesus and Philosophy, and Rapture for the Geeks.
2009This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Evangelical Disenchantment: Nine Portraits of Faith and Doubt
David Hempton

Hempton, a distinguished historian best known for his studies of Methodism, includes some figures often treated in the literature of evangelical deconversion (for example, the novelist George Eliot and the memoirist Edmund Gosse, whose Father and Son was a famous book in its day) and others you might be surprised to encounter in this company (for example, Vincent Van Gogh and James Baldwin). How much can be inferred from these case studies about the protean movement that includes Jonathan Edwards and Sarah Palin is a matter for debate. And every engaged reader will be tempted to imagine an alternative portrait gallery. But few, I think, will regret the time spent with Hempton's rather melancholy book.

Jesus and Philosophy: New Essays
Edited by Paul Moser

Dallas Willard once wrote a provocative essay titled "Jesus the Logician." Here you will find ten wide-ranging essays on Jesus and philosophy, framed by Paul Moser's excellent introductory overview. Don't miss Nicholas Wolterstorff on "Jesus and Forgiveness," which begins with a simple but probing question: Where did we get the ideas of forgiveness and reconciliation, so widespread in our culture? And for a strong challenge to Christian orthodoxy — not persuasive for this reader, but subtly argued and worth engaging — see James Crenshaw's "Sipping from the Cup of Wisdom."

Rapture for the Geeks: When AI Outsmarts IQ
Richard Dooling

The territory that Richard Dooling explores in this painfully funny, compulsively readable little book has been thoroughly plowed over. (See Tom Wolfe's brilliant essay "Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died.") But we can be thankful that Dooling was not daunted by his ...
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