I was privileged recently to deliver some teaching on what it means to be human to a mission team at a charity. They seemed to enjoy it, so I sent a follow-up email. This blog post offers a few things that I think would be helpful places for people to start reading about what it means to be human from the perspective of Bible and Theology. I’d welcome suggestions in the comments – particularly from non-White/Western authors, who aren’t represented here (though are to a small extent in my longer Bibliography).
Introductory – if you can read this blog, you’ll be comfortable with these books.
– John Behr, Becoming Human (Eastern Orthodox Scholar) – superbly simple unpacking of the ‘becoming’ aspect
– Mark Meynell, What Makes Us Human (Evangelical Anglican, working with Langham globally) – best short readable primer
– Paul Gooder, Body (Anglican New Testament scholar) – really helpful on the body, without going off on tangents
Mid-level – if you read this blog regularly, including the longer parts, these should be fine.
– Klyne R. Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are (American New Testament scholar) – single best book on human identity I’ve read so far that I can recommend to most people who read.
– Rowan Williams, Being Human (Anglican Philosopher/Theologian) – more philosophical but readable short book.
– Nancy Pearcey, Love Thy Body (American evangelical scholar and author, Houston Baptist University [but not a Trump kind of American evangelical!]) – masterful application of theology of the body to some big issues.
Academic – bit more technical, but generally very readable.
– Susan Eastman, Paul and the Person (American New Testament Scholar) – superb look at theological anthropology in the bulk of the NT.
– Gordon McConville, Being Human in God’s World (OT Scholar) – great place to start looking at the OT, this is v. readable.
– Ed. Crisp and Sanders, The Christian Doctrine of Humanity (ecumenical academic essay collection. See review for more)
High Level Academic – either niche or technical, these are more nuanced and academic, but not impenetrable.
– Ephraim Radner, A Time to Keep (Canadian Anglican) – I haven’t finished my review but it’s a superb book.
– Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image (American/Canadian OT Scholar) – mind-blowingly good on Genesis 1-11. Not reviewed as interacted heavily in MA thesis, but link is to where you can read a related article.
– Richard Lints, Identity and Idolatry – an NSBT Volume, so biblical theology. V concise and helpful