Some Reviews Worth Reading

Kevin Edgecomb has posted a bunch of reviewlets (here & here) about the books he has read this summer.  They’re only about a paragraph or so for each but he’s managed to cram more info in these short paragraphs than I’m used to seeing in much longer reviews.  Of course, the reason for this is simply that he’s actually read the books, which isn’t always the case with others.  These short reviews definitely have me interested in Paula Fredriksen’s Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism as well as Douglas Burton-Christie’s The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism. Biblical Interpretation in the Russian Orthodox Church: A Historical and Hermeneutical Perspective looks interesting as well (although not as interesting as the other two).  Check the reviewlets out and see if you come across anything that might interest you.


12 thoughts on “Some Reviews Worth Reading

  1. Kevin: You need to stay on top of that! Apparently Fredriksen’s book is being published in paperback next month at half the (already low) cost of the hardcover. I think I might pick it up then.

  2. You mean some people don’t read the books they review?! Surely you jest!

    (P.S.- I almost attached a link to the words “some people,” but then I remembered that I’m a nice guy. Most of the time.)

  3. The Fredriksen is great. Of the three you specify, it’s the best, because it’s throoughly excellent, in a different class of quality altogether. And it’ll be perfect in paperback. The Negrov is something of a niche interest–a history of interpretation. The Burton-Christie is likewise more of an overwrought history of interpretation, though on a smaller chronological scale. Faced with a choice of a single introduction to the Desert Fathers phenomenon, instantly I (and everyone else with any knowledge of it at all) would recommend Derwas Chitty’s The Desert A City, which is, like Fredriksen’s, a book of an entirely superior class altogether.

    And yes, I do happen to read the books that I review, subversive that I am! Having worked a non-negotiable reading time of two hours back into my nights, I am once again making quick progress through books. I feel human again, at long last.

  4. Kevin: Well seeing as how you actually purchase the books you review I can see why you read them! The trend amongst certain bloggers is to request books, fake reviews, and then request more books. The thought process is that the faster a book is reviewed is the faster one can ask for more. This, of course, is nonsense! I have books from publishers that I’ve had for more than 2 years (!) waiting for review and they’ve always been happy to honor new requests. This type of “reviewing” behavior really does a disservice to both the publisher and the “reviewer.”

    But I will be very happy to pick up Fredriksen’s book in the near future. Also, thanks for the recommendation on Chitty’s book, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

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