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My Summer Reading (Michael A.G. Haykin)

By Michael A.G. Haykin–

Books are so much a part of my life—and summer is great when I can read some books that I would normally not have time to read. Here is a small list of some I have already read this summer and a few that I hope to read in July and August:

Adrian Murdoch, The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World, where Murdoch examines the life and legacy of  Flavius Claudius Julianus (332–363), who failed to reverse the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Read this at the beginning of the summer and loved its historical finesse, though Murdoch is down on Christians, including one of my ‘favs,’ Gregory Nazianzen.

Peter Popham, The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi. When I was in Florida in May, I picked up this biography and could not put it down: a tremendous story of a remarkable woman.

Andrew Atherstone and David Ceri Jones, Engaging with Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The life and legacy of ‘the Doctor’: regretfully this collection of essays, the product of a conference held in 2011, is not available yet on this side of the Atlantic—despite a negative review in The Banner of Truth, I found the essays uniformly good and very insightful.

Robert Lacey, The Queen: A Life in Brief: I am not one to normally read biographies of modern royals, but in this year of her Diamond Jubilee, I thought I would read a brief overview of Queen Elizabeth II, an important player in our world (witness her speech at Dublin Castle in 2011 and her imminent meeting with past-IRA commander Martin McGuinness).

Jane Brown, Lancelot ‘Capability; Brown: The Omnipotent Magician 1716–1783: I have long admired this gardener who changed the face of Georgian England and am looking forward to an engrossing read.

Paula Frederiksen, Sin: The Early History of an Idea: picked this up this past Monday in a Vancouver Chapters bookstore—she examines sin especially in a number of second-century authors and then compares the concept in Origen and Augustine—looking forward to a stimulating read, though I fear Augustine will be cast as the bad guy.

Peter Clarke, Mr. Churchill’s Profession: The Statesman as Author and the Book That Defined the “Special Relationship”: also picked this up on Monday and am currently reading it—hard to imagine finding a new angle on Churchill that has not been explored, but Clarke has found such: Churchill as an author and historian. A fascinating read so far.

John Owen, The Priesthood of Christ: this is a modern rendition of an excursus in Owen’s famous Hebrews commentary—my recent study of Hebrews over three years changed forever my thinking about the relationship between the covenants and highlighted the importance of Hebrews’ teaching about Christ as our high priest. Am looking forward to this a meditative read.

Augustine, Confessions, trans. Garry Wills: I have normally read this work in R.S. Pine-Coffin’s translation—have decided to venture out and taste Garry Wills’ new translation. I tried this a few years ago with Henry Chadwick’s translation—but the experiment didn’t work. Maybe Wills will capture my allegiance—we shall see.

Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His most recent book is Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway, 2011). Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.

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