Reading Goals for 2016-2017

I measure the years starting in August, not January. So, here is what I plan, Lord willing, to have read by the end of the year:
  1. 1. All of Martin Heidegger’s corpus in English. I’ve read Sein und Zeit and most of his essays.
  2. 2. Most of Edmund Husserl’s stuff, or at least make a dent in the Logical Investigations.
  3. 3. To finish reading Dugin’s works in English. That would be his book on Putin and his book on Heidegger (one of them, anyway).
  4. 4. Cyril O’Regan’s Heterodox Hegel. That’s been on my list for some years now.

So, about that Lent…

I try never to talk about Lent, pro or con.  I think Lent is an example of Christian liberty at the most basic (St Paul: why value one day over another?).  The reactions to Lent, for and against, however, are most interesting.

Practically, I am not celebrating Lent this year in the sense of “giving something up.”  Especially food.  I have several dietary issues, along with other logistic problems that make “fasting from meat/eggs/cheese/milk” problematic.

However, my own reading takes a turn during Lent.  I read a lot more of the medievals than I normally do (slugging through the latter half of Aquinas’s ST at the moment).

But enough about me.  I want to call attention to all of the hipster Reformed/YRR attacking Lent, and attacking Lent by what is basically “food porn.”  Uploading pictures of the latest kegger or six pack and big cigars.

If you want to attack medieval interpretations of Lent that “bind consciences,” go at it.  Have fun.  I fear that many have thrown the baby out with the proverbial bath water.   Spiritual disciplines in the sense of “disciplining the body” is very good and should not be abandoned.  Yet we don’t see this among the Hipster/Bro Reformed.

But someone would say, pointing to Colossians 2 and Galatians 4, that we are no longer under the seasons and stoichea.  True, which is why I don’t believe tying Lenten discipline to a cosmic calendar is necessary.  But…we still live in God’s world and he made seasons and rhythms.

If you haven’t figured it out, yet, I am alluding to the Facebook group Reformed Pub.

A List.

*Fr Seraphim Rose read through Augustine’s Confessions during each Great Lent.  Not a bad idea.

*As noted earlier, I am reading as much of Thomas’s Summa as I can.

*Reread the Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of English People.

*Memorize some medieval prayers written in Latin.  Nothing magical about Latin, but this could be a mental training exercise.

Some Good Lenten Resources and Ideas:

Chant Blog.

St Bede Blog.

A Clerk of Oxford.

Audio of BCP Daily Prayer.

St Bede Breviary.

A Church Fathers Reading List

Michael Haykin’s group came up with its recommended reading list.  It’s worth considering, though here is my own list.  I am skipping some otherwise seminal individuals, simply to make this list manageable.

Irenaeus, Against Heresies.  Bailey links to this edition. I understand that AH is hard to read through, but books III-V are just too important to condense.  However, it is very difficult to find an accessible edition, so I will go with that version.

Athanasius, Contra Arianos.  Everyone links to On the Incarnation.  I admit it is important, but it’s not that important and it is nowhere near as good as CA.  Unfortunately, you have to go to the Schaff edition to find an accessible version.

Origen.  On First Principles.  Yes, you have to be careful reading Origen, but he is just too important to dismiss.  I am aware of the 5th Council’s anathemas, but they aren’t part of the council itself (and are morally and historically suspect).  Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine a Gregory or a Maximus without an Origen.

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity.  A so-called “Western” take on the Trinity before the Augustinian revolution.  This volume is expensive, but you can find the Schaff edition online somewhere.

Gregory of Nazianzus.  Five Theological Orations.  .Read this before anything else.

Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man and Resurrection and the Soul.  One of the exciting things I’ve been studying the past year is the possible relationship between the doctrine of the soul propounded by JP Moreland and what the church fathers say on the soul.

Maximus the Confessor, The Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ.  Read this at least three times.  It is the most important book on this list.

Augustine, Confessions, City of God, and De Trinitate.  

Survey Texts

Pelikan, Jaroslav.  I am not the fan of Pelikan that others are.  Pace Orthodox Bridge, I don’t think merely citing him counts as an argument.  Still, in many ways it is the foundational post-Harnack church history series.

Secondary Sources

This list could go on forever, but here is what I have found helpful.  Since these are academic works, they are pricey.  Try interlibrary loan.

Williams, Rowan.  Arius: Heresy and Tradition.  Kind of limited and scope and Williams tends to see Barth and Bonhoeffer as the Athanasiuses of our day, but his handling of ancient philosophy is masterful.

Ayres, Lewis.  Nicea and its Legacy. Ayres has a tendency to use “simplicity” (aplosis) as a univocal term among the fathers, when it clearly isn’t.  Notwithstanding, this will end up being the standard work in the field.

Ayres, Lewis.  Augustine.   Good read.  I think he downplays any neo-platonic elements, but certainly will be a standard text.

Beeley, Christopher.  The Unity of Christ: Continuity and Conflict in the Patristic Tradition.  Tries to rehabilitate Origen somewhat; a fantastic read.  Limited in scope, though.  Origen and the immediate aftermath get a lot of attention.

Beeley, Christopher.  Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God: In Your Light We Shall See Light .  Hit or miss.  But outstanding discussio on Gregory’s usage of “cause” and “monarchia.”  In fact, the best treatment on that in the English language, period.  I have his essay on this if you want it.

Radde-Galwitz, Andrew.  Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity.  The best patristic book on divine simplicity.

McGuckin, John.  Saint Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy.  One of the best texts on Cyril.  Period.

Anatolios, Khaled.  Athanasius: The Coherence of his Thought.  Probably the best text on working out the God-world relationship in Athanasius.  He tries to rescue Athanasius from the charge of of “instrumentalizing Christ’s humanity,” but I am not sure he succeeds.  

Gavrilyuk, Paul. Suffering of the Impassible God: Dialectics of the Patristic Tradition.  Excellent discussions.  His goal is to close the gap between Cyril and modern critics of Cyril..  Not sure he succeeds.  

Cooper, Adam.  The Body in St. Maximus the Confessor: Holy Flesh, Wholly Deified.  Great discussion of Maximus’s “Five Divisions” and their subsequent unities.

Bathrellos, Demetrios.  The Byzantine Christ.  The best discussion on Maximus the Confessor.  

von Balthasar, Hans urs.  Cosmic Liturgy: Maximus.   Great section dealing with terms like hypostasis.  He tries to make Maximus a hard-line neo-Chalcedonian.  Other scholars have thoroughly attacked Balthasar on this point.  

Thunberg, Lars.  Microcosm and Mediator.   Encyclopedic work on Maximus.  No original ideas here, but an outstanding summary of the Nyssa-Maximus tradition.

Loudonikos, Nikolaos.  A Eucharistic Ontology.  My favorite work on Maximus.  

Barnes, Michel.  Dunamis in the thought of Gregory of Nyssa. The best discussion on what Gregory means by energy and power.


Reading thinkers, not individual books

You will often see it suggested that one is better served by reading the corpus of major thinkers rather than simply individual books.  I think there is some wisdom to that.  So here is my reading list for 2016, Deo Volente:

Barth, Karl.  Church Dogmatics vols II/2-III/4.  If I wanted to, I believe I could finish the whole thing, but I am realistic.

Calvin, John. ICR vol. 1 (Battles Edition).  Commentaries on Acts, Romans, John, Isaiah.

Torrance, Thomas.  Most of his stuff.  I have a friend that has most of his works but not all.

Yates, Dame Frances. Giordino Bruno and the Hermetic TraditionOccult Philosophy in Elizabethan EnglandThe Art of MemoryThe Rosicrucian Enlightenment.