Friday, April 19, 2013

The 25 plus Books that have most influenced me

A book which turned an atheist into a theist.

A Protestant friend of mine asked me to list the twenty-five books that have most influenced me. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would be interested in such a thing but apparently he is and maybe others will find it a curiosity. It was a pleasant exercise, a bit like recalling old and dear friends but also an exercise in self-examination. I am surprised how 'dated' it is and how many of these books are simply what I found in my father's library and the parish library of St James, Texarkana, Texas, where I grew up. I have included only ‘secondary sources’ and I found it impossible to limit the list to twenty-five books. 

Eric Lionel Mascall
Christ, the Christian and the Church : A Study of the Incarnation and its Consequences (1946)
Corpus Christi : essays on the church and the Eucharist. (1953)
He who is; a study in traditional theism. (1943)
The importance of being human. (1958)
Nature and Supernature. (1976)
The openness of being: natural theology today. (1971)
The recovery of unity; a theological approach. (1958)
Via Media (1956)

George Leonard Prestige
God in Patristic Thought (1952)
Fathers and Heretics (1954)

Darwell Stone
Outlines of Christian Dogma London: Longmans, 1919.

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox
The Belief of Catholics (1927)
Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion with Special Reference to the XVII and XVIII Centuries (1950)
The Hidden Stream: Mysteries of the Christian Faith (1952)
The Window in the Wall and Other Sermons on the Holy Eucharist (1956)

Gregory Dix
The Shape of the Liturgy (1945).

Alexander Schmemann
For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy (1970)
Of Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism (1974

Vladimir Lossky
The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, SVS Press, 1997
The Vision of God, SVS Press, 1997

John Chapman
Spiritual Letters, posthumously, London 1935.

Étienne Gilson
The Philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas, (Cambridge: W. Heffer, 1924)
The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy, translated by A. H. C. Downes (London: Sheed and Ward, 1936)
Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1939) The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, translated by A. H. C. Downes (London: Sheed and Ward, 1940)
Being and Some Philosophers (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1949
History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (London: Sheed and Ward, 1955)
The Christian Philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas, translated by L. K. Shook (London: Gollancz, 1957)
Heloise and Abelard (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1960)

John Henry Newman
The Arians of the Fourth Century (1833)
On the Prophetical Office of the Church (1837)
Lectures on Justification (1838)
Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845)
Apologia Pro Vita Sua (religious autobiography – 1864; revised edition, 1865)

Joseph A. Jungmann
The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origin and Development

Adrian Fortescue

Eamon Duffy
The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, c.1400 to c.1580 (1992)
The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village (2001)

Louis Bouyer
Life and Liturgy (Liturgical Piety) (1955)
The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism (1956)
Introduction to Spirituality (1961)
The Spirituality of the New Testament and the Fathers (History of Christian Spirituality; v. 1) (1982)
The Spirituality of the Middle Ages (History of Christian Spirituality; v. 2) (1982)


Anonymous said...

Fr. Allen, too little lifespan and too many good books. If we can figure out how to fatten our retirement paychecks maybe we get the opportunity to deeply imbibe primary and secondary sources life remainder. ...Interesting list. Thanks for providing. Respectfully, Brent

Matthew M said...

WOW! R U sure you aren't a Roman Catholic?
No C.S. Lewis?

Read many of these myself.
Definitely a good list.

P.S. Came across a post of yours from earlier in the year about the ACNA and the updated BCP they are working on. I was in contact with someone at a parish in Long Beach, CA. but when I tried to check back in with them for an update they were gone. Do you have any further report or a connection I can go to for more info?

Your post was very good and I sympathize. Back when the first "Anglicans" organized and broke away over WO and the '79 BCP they became fixated on the 1928 American BCP and unfortunately GOD BLESS THEIR LITTLE PEA PICKIN' HEARTS the 'continuers' have stagnated. Between the constant divisions and scandals (not nearly so many as TEC or Rome thank goodness), they have never seen any growth. For all intent and purpose they seem to be ghettoized. The ACNA has problems as well but hopefully will survive in a positive manner.
I'm waiting to see what Rome gives the Anglican Ordinariates in the way of a Prayer Book/Missal. Hopefully better than the 79 BCP or the BDW.

Feed Room Five said...

I have certainly been influenced by many RC writers but not because they were RC but because they addressed matters about which I was curious. C.S. Lewis has not captivated me the way he captivated many folks. "The Great Divorce: and "The Abolition of Man" as well as The Volume on 16th Century English Literature" are favorites but they fall in the category of confirming what I already knew and not opening up new territory. One book which I neglected to mention is Ernst Robert Curtius European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages -- that opened up a whole world to me.

I really know nothing about the ACNA PB -- just rumors and I think
the "Initial Report of the Prayerbook and Common Liturgy Task Force of the Anglican Church in North America: What the Guiding Principles of Christian Worship Should Be," which is available on the ACNA website. My expectations are low and doubt that what ever is produced will have much impact upon me. I am moving in a different direction -- more and more in the direction of the old Missals but without a wholesale rejection of the 1979 BCP and the Novus Ordo. "Mutual Enrichment" pace the former Holy Father Benedict XVI.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Allen, I'm sure you once read and curious as to what you now think of Rudolph Otto's The Idea Of the Holy. It's in a different "channel" than your list and current track and my guess--after hearing/reading your thoughts for three years--is that you've been and are widely influenced. Otto's not "Anglo"- or "catholic" anything in some respects. Yet he is sensitive to "the Sacred" and this book exerted powerful influence on me regarding "response to the sacred". Any thoughts? Respectfully, Brent