This section of the website contains reviews of books with theological and religious content. Book reviews on other matters I write about, such as NFP management, accounting, taxation, etc.can be found elsewhere.
Who are some of my favorite authors? The following are my top five authors for this category. I did not make any distinction between authors of popular or scholarly works. I have simply listed them in alphabetical order.
Dr. Bart D. Ehrman
Doctor Bart Ehrman has authored many books including How Jesus Became God, Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted. I have read almost all of them as Ehrman is an exceptional writer and scholar. What’s more, he used to teach at Rutgers University, my alma mater, before moving to the University of North Carolina to teach. (I know, this shouldn’t impact my view of his work, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for Rutgers.) Having said all of this, I often find myself disagreeing with Ehrman on key points in his books. It feels he is sometimes pressing the point too much, but his books are always thought provoking. The scholarship is impressive as well.
Fr. Malachi Martin
Fr. Malachi Martin was an American Jesuit who served as secretary to Cardinal Bea, one of the principal architects of the Second Vatican Council. Martin became disenchanted with the Catholic Church shortly thereafter and asked to be laicized, although there is some dispute about this. He later went on to write many books, the most famous of which are Hostage to the Devil, The Jesuits, and The Final Conclave.
Martin is a controversial figure for many reasons, including his claim to have been secretly ordained a bishop, his flirtation with sedevacantism later in life, and his personal situation after laicization among other things. He is a wonderful author, but one should always read him with a grain of salt. Put another way, I wouldn’t build your belief system on his writings.
Archbishop Joseph Raya
Archbishop Raya was a Melkite Catholic archbishop who left his diocese in the Middle East to work in Canada and the United States. He is the author of many liturgical books, but his most famous works are Face of God: An Introduction to Eastern Spirituality and Theotokos: Mary, Mother of Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Both books are excellent resources for those interested in Eastern Spirituality and very readable as well!
Fr. Alexander Schmemann
Fr. Schmemann was a prodigious author and one of the major intellectual voices of the Orthodox Church in America for decades. One wonders how he was able to accomplish all of this while still keeping a day job as dean of the St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary. While all of his work is outstanding, I particularly loved his book The Great Lent: Journey to Pascha. It was a centerpiece of my dissertation. Part of this book concerning the requirement for confession before Holy Communion was eventually disavowed by his Church’s hierarchy, but that is a tale for another day!
Archimandrite Robert Taft
Father Robert Taft was a Jesuit who became an Archimandrite of the Russian Greek Catholic Church. (I am still perplexed as to how this happened, since priests in Catholic orders generally are not accorded honorifics such as this, but I suppose that too is an inquiry for another day.) Taft wrote extensively on the Byzantine Christian Divine Liturgy and on the Divine Office, the daily prayer cycle of Eastern Christian monastics. Taft’s work is scholarly and brilliant, but can be described as, well…ponderous to read. They are truly rough sledding, but certainly worth the time and effort.