This layperson’s religion reading list was generously compiled by Westar Associate Robert Rock in July 2007. Since then, Westar staff periodically updated the list.
The list mainly addresses Christianity due to Westar’s focus on the history and evolution of the Christian tradition. There are a few books on other religions. Scholarly publications of doubtful value for lay reading have been excluded.
Tip: You can use your web browser’s Find function to easily search for a word on this page.
The Bible: A Biography Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of ViolenceA History of God: 4000-year Quest of Judaism, Christianity & Islam
History of JerusalemWhat is Religion? (DVD)
BeDuhn, Jason D.
The First New Testament: Marcion’s Scriptural Canon
Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament
Bessler, Joseph A.
A Scandalous Jesus: How Three Historic Quests Changed Theology for the Better
Beutner, Edward F.
Listening to the Parables of Jesus
The First Christmas
Jesus and Buddha
The Last Week
Meeting Jesus Again … For the First Time
Reading the Bible Again … For the First Time
Butcher, John B.
Back to Darwin: A Richer Account of Evolution
The Call of the Spirit: Process Spirituality in a Relational World
The Uncommon Lectionary
Cobb, John B.
Christ in a Pluralistic AgeSustainability: Economics, Ecology, and Justice (Ecology and Justice)
God and the World
Transforming Christianity and the WorldFor the Common Good
Corley, Kathleen E.
Jesus and Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ
Maranatha: Women’s Funeral Rites and Christian Origins
Women and the Historical Jesus
Crossan, John Dominic
The Birth of Christianity
God and Empire: Jesus against Rome, Then & Now
In Search of Paul
Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
Who Killed Jesus? Anti-Semitism in the Death of Jesus
Creative Faith: Religion as a Way of Worldmaking
The Old Creed and the NewThe Great Question of Life
Taking Leave of God
Kingdom Come in Everyday Speech
Dewey, Arthur J.
Inventing the PassionWisdom Notes
The Complete Gospel Parallels (with Robert J. Miller)
Ehrman, Bart D.
Misquoting Jesus: The Story About Who Changed the Bible & Why
Lost Christianities: Battles for Scripture & the Faiths We Never Knew
Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament
Paul Was Not a Christian
Fortna, Robert T.
The Fourth Gospel and Its PredecessorsJesus in Johannine Tradition
Funk, Robert W.
A Credible JesusThe Acts of Jesus
Honest to Jesus
The Five Gospels
Jesus as Precursor
Embracing the Human Jesus
God’s Human Future
Christian Faith at the Crossroads
Christianity without God
From the Big Bang to God
The World to ComeWrestling with God
Hedrick, Charles W.
Ancient History: Monuments and Documents
Many Things in ParablesParables as Poetic Fictions
When Faith Meets ReasonWhen History and Faith Collide
Hock, Ronald F.
The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric Classroom Exercises
The Social Context of Paul’s Ministry
The Infancy Gospels of James and Thomas
Hoover, Roy W.
The Historical Jesus Goes to Church
Profiles of Jesus
Jackson, Glenna S.
Remedial Christianity (with Paul Alan Laughlin)
Jenks, Gregory C.
Jesus Then and Jesus Now
Once and Future Scriptures
King, Karen L.
Gospel of Mary Magdala
Women and Goddess Traditions
Kloppenborg, John S.
Paul & His World
The Fabric of Early Christianity
History & Literature of Early Christianity
Laughlin, Paul Alan
Getting Oriented – Eastern Religions
Religion Under Attack: Getting Theology Right!
The God Problem: Alternatives to Fundamentalism
The Misunderstood Jew
Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi
Heretics: The Other Side of Early Christianity
The Resurrection of Jesus: History, Experience & Theology
The Unholy in Holy Scriptures: The Dark Side of the Bible
Mack, Burton L.
The Christian Myth
Christian Origins & Language of the Kingdom of God
Re-imagining ChristianityWho Wrote the New Testament?
The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins
The Acts of the Apostles: Taming Tongues of Fire
Perfect Martyr: The Stoning of Stephen and the Construction of Christian Identity
McGaughy, Lane C.
The Authentic Letters of Paul (with Arthur J. Dewey, Roy W. Hoover, and Daryl D. Schmidt)
Miller, Robert J.
Born Divine: Births of Jesus & other Sons of God
Helping Jesus fulfill Prophecy
The Jesus Seminar and its Critics
The Gnostic GospelsGospel of Judas
The Nag Hammadi Scriptures (with Marvin W. Meyer & James M. Robinson)
The Origin of Satan
Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation
Patterson, Stephen J.
The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels Are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins
Beyond the Passion
The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate
The God of Jesus
Gospel of Thomas and Jesus
Making God Laugh
Gaia’s Gift: Earth, Ourselves & God after Copernicus
Sacred Gaia: Holistic Theology & Earth System Science
Robbins, Vernon K.
Exploring the Texture of Texts
The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse
Robinson, James M.
Gospel of Jesus: In Search of the Original Good News
Trajectories Through Early Christianity (with Helmut Koester)
The Sayings of JesusFrom Quest to Q
Scott, Bernard Brandon
The Real Paul: Recovering His Radical Challenge
Re-imagine the World
The Trouble with Resurrection
Smith, Dennis E.
Acts and Christian Beginnings (with Joseph B. Tyson)
Tatum, W. Barnes
Jesus at the Movies
A New New Testament
A New Spiritual Home: Progressive Christianity at the Grass Roots
Jesus Before God
Tyson, Joseph B.
Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle
After Jesus before Christianity (with Brandon Scott and Hal Taussig)
White, L. Michael
From Jesus to Christianity
Just Jesus: My Struggle to Become Human
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