Book List for Hilary Term 2017

Oxford Study Centre
Book List for Hilary Term 2017

Our reading list changes a bit from term to term. New books are published, others seem less pressing, and there is a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. For the upcoming coming Hilary Term (January-April)—in addition to a selection of articles, essays, and other items—we are using the titles listed below. I have placed them roughly in the order we will read them. (I’ve provided links to Amazon for any who care to chase up the volumes.) Before getting to the book list, permit me a moment to explain the purpose of our course.

oxfordstudycentre.org

 

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Readings at Summit Oxford – Summer Term 2016

It undoubtedly is a truism that one can be wearied by the reading of many books. Perhaps even more so, the reading of many online articles, a bulk of blogs, a flurry of frenzied Facebook statuses, all of the horrible and hasty hashtags, and opium opinions. Even so, some publications actually can be enlightening, perhaps challenging, even motivating. Some most certainly are fuel for our conversations at Summit Oxford. And sometimes our conversation become a tad bit energetic. I call these CHAT times: Christians Happily Arguing Theology (hopefully with an emphasis upon happily).

Readings at Summit Oxford
Summer Term 2016

Our reading list changes a bit from term to term. New books are published, older ones seem less pressing or helpful, and there is ever a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. We do read a lot, mind you, approaching 2600 pages for the longer terms and 2100 pages for the Summer Term.

We still have 5 weeks before our term begins, if you’d like to visit summitoxford.org and apply yourself to study abroad with purpose this summer!
For the upcoming coming Summer Term (7 June–August 8), along with a selection of articles, essays, and other items, we are reading and discussing the volumes listed below. I have listed them roughly in the order we will read them. Often I have our students read the books in their entirety and prepare reports or summaries for select chapters or sections. I’ve provided Amazon links if you care to purchase any of them.

Christ church - Henry James

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Readings at Summit Oxford • Spring Term 2016

It undoubtedly is a truism that one can be wearied by the reading of many books. Perhaps even more so, the reading of many online articles, a bulk of blogs, frenzied Facebook statuses, hasty hashtags, and awful opinions. Even so, some publications actually can be enlightening, perhaps challenging. Some most certainly are fuel for our conversations at Summit Oxford. And sometimes our conversation get to be a bit energetic. I call these CHAT times: Christians Happily Arguing Theology (hopefully with an emphasis upon happily).

Readings at Summit Oxford • Hilary Term 2016

Our reading list changes a bit from term to term. New books are published, older ones seem less pressing or helpful, and there is ever a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. We do read a lot, mind you, approaching 2500 pages.

For the upcoming coming Autumn Term (September – December), along with a selection of articles, essays, and other items, we are reading and discussing the ten volumes listed below. I have listed them roughly in the order we will read them. Well, actually, several of them will be divvied up over the course of several days, with a chapter or section each day. Often I have our students read the books in their entirety and prepare reports/summaries for select chapters or sections. I’ve provided links to Amazon, if you care to purchase any of them.

December2015

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Islam, Refugees, and the Kingdom of God: A Potpourri of Thoughts

Islam, Refugees, and the Kingdom of God

A Potpourri of Thoughts

Kevin James Bywater

• • •

The world simply won’t stop spinning – more like wobbling on its axis. So much is happening right now, and so quickly, that many have retreated to the morally corrupting and mentally dulling practice of argument by meme regarding refugees. God forbid! Beyond this, there is simply a swirling torrent of very energetic and hasty opinions expressed on social media. Some seek the solace of slogans. Others establish cliques around clichés. We might suppose that it is all simply like the fog of war. I suspect it more likely is simply the heady fog of not thinking with care, of not caring to think, of failing to practice the discipline of seeking to enhance the well-being of others. Again, this is no more evident than in so many verbal ejaculations on social media. Of course, blurting and chiding, taunting and demeaning – such emissions may bring us pleasure, but they neither enhance nor reproduce life.  

Thinking about Refugees

How can we see through this fog? There is no easy answer, as if one could simply drive up, speak into a box, move forward, pay a modest fee, and get your answer in a small paper bag. Rather, I think it is a discipline, a patient discipline that we develop over years – years complete with a menagerie of missteps and mistakes and misperceptions and misconceptions. But they are years lived with friends and mentors and neighbors, listening to those who emulate the wisdom and uprightness, the charity and clarity that provide guidance through the cacophony of voices that distract us from diligence and yet vie for our allegiance. 

Below are some bullet-pointed thoughts interspersed with some resources that may help anyone interested in escaping the morass of memed opinions sloshing about online.

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Studying the Word for Life

Studying the Word for Life

A Six-Week Plan for Developing
Lifelong Bible Study Habits and Skills

♦ ♦ ♦

Study Bibles inhibit Bible study.

This is the first principle.

The simple fact is, the footnotes tend to curtail our need to attend to the text, to read it with care, again and again, and thus they diminish our desires and abilities to pay attention to the details and flow of a passage, a story, a song, a chapter or a letter or a book. (Besides, the footnotes might just be mistaken.)

So, to begin with, it is vital that you obtain a clean text of the Bible, or at least a clean text of the book you intend to study. If you invest in a Bible computer program or app, you should be able to copy and paste and format the text in your word processor so that the margins are wide enough for some of your own notes. I recommend 1.5 inches all the way around each page. I also suggest that the text be in two columns (with at least inch between columns), and delete any sub-headings.

Now for a second principle: Our discoveries made in and through our struggles to understand and apply the word of God usually are much more significant and lasting than those we are taught by others. In other words, when you do the work yourself, you’ll own more of what you learn, even when others help you along the way (which naturally will be the case for all of us).

books and study 2

Below is a suggested six-week study of Paul’s letter to Titus. In my experience over the last two decades, when someone engages in this sort of study, and follows through with relative consistency, habits arise that change for the better the ways that person studies, hears, understands, appropriates, and applies the Bible. And I have seen these changes persist in people’s lives for many, many years.

May your own studies be just as fruitful in your life.

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Readings at Summit Oxford

Readings at Summit Oxford • Summer Term 2015

It undoubtedly is a truism that one can be wearied by the reading of many books. Perhaps even more so, the reading of many online articles, a bulk of blogs, frenzied Facebook statuses, hasty hashtags, and awful opinions. Even so, some publications actually can be enlightening and perhaps challenging. Some most certainly are fuel for our conversations at Summit Oxford.

Often I am asked about what we are reading in the Summit Oxford program. The list changes a bit from term to term. New books are published, older ones seem less pressing or helpful, and there is ever a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. We do read a lot, mind you, exceeding 2000 pages.

For the upcoming coming Summer Term (9 June – August 10), along with a selection of articles, essays, and other items, we are reading and discussing the volumes listed below. I have listed them roughly in the order we will read them. I also have provided links to Amazon, if you care to purchase any of them.

Summit Oxford Study Centre - www.summitoxford.org

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Communicating Our Convictions

Greg Koukl, the president of Stand to Reason, has for many years now provided both hours of engaging radio commentary and a host of insightful articles. Greg is on the International Advisory Board for the Summit Oxford Study Centre (which I founded and currently direct), and he also is a friend.

Well over a decade ago Greg began speaking at Summit Ministriesstudent summer conferences. Personally, I was very pleased to have him on our faculty as his contributions were intelligent, clarifying, experienced, and mature. Greg is a careful thinker and speaker, conscious of which words are better to use and how best to use them. One learns not only from the content of his messages but also from the manner of his messaging.

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The Power of Storytelling (1.1)

Robert McKee, in his book, Story: Substance, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, says the following about storytelling.

In 388 B.C. Plato urged the city fathers of Athens to exile all poets and storytellers. They were a threat to society, he argued. Writers deal with idea, but not in the open, rational manner of philosophers. Instead, they conceal their ideas inside the seductive emotions of art. Yet felt ideas, as Plato pointed out, are ideas nonetheless. Every effective story sends a charged idea out to us, in effect compelling the idea into us, so that we must believe. In fact, the persuasive power of story is so great that we may believe its meaning even if we find it morally repellent. Storytellers, Plato insisted, are dangerous people. He was right.

I imagine that along with poets and storytellers one could include actors and journalists and politicians. Regardless, there are several things to take from this.

For one, the power of story has been known and realized for a very long time. However, this is not to say that everyone realizes the power of story.

Also, because stories can convey what is the opposite of the good, the true, and the beautiful, we should be ever-conscious when we encounter stories, both those with presented with the explicit intent to persuade hearers of some conviction, as well as those that are not so explicit.

A third observation is that in our desire to persuade others of the truth, it behoves us to be able not only to present rational argument, and not only to embody the very truths we seek to convey, but also that we endeavor to couch what is good, what is true, what is beautiful, and what is just in compelling narratives.

UPDATE: 1.1

On the next page McKee writes:

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Summit Oxford • 2014 Summer Term

Readings @ Summit Oxford • 2014 Summer Term

It undoubtedly is a truism that one can be wearied by the reading of many books. Perhaps even more so, the reading of many online articles, a bulk of blogs, frenzied Facebook statuses, hasty hashtags, and awful opinions. Even so, some publications actually can be enlightening and perhaps challenging. Some most certainly are fuel for our conversations at Summit Oxford.

Often I am asked about what we are reading in the Summit Oxford program. The list changes a bit from term to term. (Here is the list from Hilary term 2014. It is similar to what I’ve posted below.) New books are published, older ones seem less pressing or helpful, and there is ever a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. We do read a lot, mind you, most often approaching 2500 pages. (And our students read many times this number of pages for their Oxford tutorials. It is a good thing that we are so close to the world-class Bodleian Library.)

For the upcoming coming Summer Term (10 June – August 8), along with a selection of articles, essays, and other items, we are reading and discussing the nine texts below. I have listed them roughly in the order we will read them. I also have provided links to Amazon, if you care to purchase any of them.

Summit Oxford Study Centre - www.summitoxford.org

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In Defence of War: Nigel Biggar

There has been a bit of a glut lately of articles and books discussing war and peace, and the place of Christian participation in either or both. Perhaps the most recent publication is that of Nigel Biggar, In Defence of WarBiggar is Regis Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, and Director of the McDonaldCentre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life at Oxford University. I have come into brief contact with Biggar, and have two friends who have been advised by him in their studies here in Oxford. 

I am slowing working through parts of In Defence of War and aim to post some quotes from it here and there. I am not usually very good at following through on such plans, however, so please do not feel a need to depends on my doing so. Regardless, here are some gems from chapter 1, “Against Christian pacifism.”

Not even pacifists object simply to acts that result in the deaths of other people, for they themselves are prepared to perform deliberate acts of omission, which permit innocents to die at the hands of the unjust. (30)

I am apt to sum up this point by noting that the peacemaker is willing to lay down her life for others while the pacifist is willing that others lay down their lives. Of course, the peacemaker also is (reluctantly) willing to lay down the lives of the unjust to protect the innocent. 

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