Recommended Reading List

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.

Disclaimer: The reading list represents a wide variety of views that extend beyond the scope of Westar’s academic seminars. No author or authors below represent the Westar Institute.

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Armstrong, Karen
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

Borg, Marcus
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

Cupitt, Don
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

Eisenbaum, Pamela
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

Galston, David
Embracing the Human Jesus
God’s Human Future

Geering, Lloyd
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.
Excavating Q

Koester, Helmut
Paul & His World
The Fabric of Early Christianity
History & Literature of Early Christianity

Laughlin, Paul Alan
Getting Oriented – Eastern Religions
Remedial Christianity

Leaves, Nigel
Religion Under Attack: Getting Theology Right!
The God Problem: Alternatives to Fundamentalism

Levine, Amy-Jill
The Misunderstood Jew
Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi

Lüdemann, Gerd
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

Matthews, Shelly
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

Pagels, Elaine
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

Primavesi, Anne
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

Taussig, Hal
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

Vearncombe, Erin
After Jesus before Christianity
(with Brandon Scott and Hal Taussig)

White, L. Michael
From Jesus to Christianity

Wink, Walter
Just Jesus: My Struggle to Become Human