Book Report: Kierkegaard, a single Life

KierkegaardJust as Kierkegaard sought to reintroduce Christ to Christendom; Backhouse has done a great job of introducing Kierkegaard to a popular audience. Soren Kierkegaard as an author has always enjoyed interest from a specialist audience, the average person only speaks of him in unattributed quotes – “leap of faith” or being authentic.

In around 200 pages, the reader will get a good sense of who our subject is but not in a dry academic tone but as an imaginative biography with its very own fascinating love story. In another 115 pages, Backhouse provides a summary of every literary work by the Dane.

A major point of dispute about the book is the ‘fictional’ tone adopted by Backhouse which is sure to annoy Kierkegaard nerds. The popular reader as well might get a feeling that most of the story is being made up by the author though part of the fault is Kierkegaard’s for living such an unbelievable life. I get the feeling that though Backhouse would accept this criticism, he will not take back his decision to write as he did.

On the whole, this is a very enjoyable and needed biography of the danish Philosopher. With such an effort, a biopic is not far off and wider readership is sure to follow. Be warned though, Kierkegaard himself is not easy to read.

Book Report: Counted Righteous in Christ

counted-righteous-in-christThe bulk of the argument is in the 3rd chapter where Piper presents exegetical arguments for imputed righteousness, particularly in Romans (and other related pauline texts). Although, the rest of the book – especially the first 3 chapters – could appear to be padding in order to convert an essay into a book (which it is); it does also provide the pastoral and practical background to the arguments presented against Gundry. This sets Piper apart from his opponents in the same way Augustine differed from Pelagius – one was coming from the hard slug of pastoral concerns, the other mostly academic.

Chapter 3 could either be a hard slug or the meat of the matter depending on who is reading. Expect references to the Greek text. The general advice to read just the Introduction and Conclusion (chapter 1,2 and 4) to get the gist of the matter applies here also. Wade into chapter 3 at your own peril.

Excerpts from the Underground

Lonely TrainI was introduced literally to Fyodor Dostoyevsky through Kierkegaard and cinematically through Richard Ayoade’s film based on Dostoyevsky’s novel, the double  (Ayoade once said in an interview, “there is Darth Vader in all of us, I think about that everyday in the shower“. This quote was just to get a Star Wars reference in. Sorry) . Subsequently I greedily bought a few of Dostoyevsky’s works only to not have time to read them, which is pretty much the problem every bibliophile faces – so many books, so little time (Ecclesiastes 12:12).

Eventually I thought it good to start small with “the meek one” and was not at all disappointed. Taste and see they say, so back for more I am with “the underground” and luckily the copy I have also has “the double” included, double for my buck.

Continue reading “Excerpts from the Underground”

Peter Mead – Foundations [Review]

A narrative turn

There’s an increasing tendency developing within Western Christian thought to pay attention to the background story of Bible which due to past biblical literacy was merely assumed. And so Evangelism and Evangelicalism in the past, when it gave its gospel spiel and insisted on word-centredness benefited from the fact the audience was well versed in Christianity’s language games.

Pitched as a book for those with little or non existent knowledge of Christianity, in other words the unbeliever or the new believer. The book centers around “Four Big Questions We Should Be Asking But Typically Don’t” – Which God? What does it mean to be human? What is Sin? What is the Solution/Salvation? Continue reading “Peter Mead – Foundations [Review]”