Mystical / Existential Christian Theology

Reading list

Over half a century of interest in these topics has left me with a skewed view of what things are commonly known. This became clear when I asked several intelligent, well-read people I know to read the first draft of the book. I’ve used their comments and critiques to hopefully firm up some holes in the book.

You may, however, be interested in looking into some details of the various aspects of what I’ve written about. So, I’m including what I consider to be a good representative sample to get you started.

If everything of import could be said in 130 characters or less, we could burn all the books ever written. While  I like a good aphorism as much as the next guy, sometimes understanding something requires digging in and learning something complex. This is certainly true with many of the following topics. Some of these books are out of print, but most are available used through Amazon. If you click a title, it will link you to a place to purchase it on Amazon.

History of Christianity

Christian Theology: An Introduction by Alister E. McGrath

How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee by Bart D. Ehrman

The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholar’s Version by Robert J. Miller

Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart D. Ehrman

The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus by Robert W. Funk

The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do? by Robert Walter Funk and The Jesus Seminar

From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus by Paula Fredriksen

Mysticism / Christian Mysticism

Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion by Alan W. Watts

Mysticism: The Preeminent Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness by Evelyn Underhill and Ira Progoff

The Cloud of Unknowing: With the Book of Privy Counsel (any legitimate version)

New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton and Sue Monk Kidd

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection by Benedicta Ward and Metropolitan Anthony

Early Christian Mystics: The Divine Vision of Spiritual Masters by Bernard McGinn and Patricia Ferris McGinn

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (get several translations to get a full flavor of this work)


The Farther Reaches of Human Nature by Abraham H. Maslow , Bertha G. Maslow, et al.

Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences by Abraham H. Maslow

The web of belief by W. V. Quine and J. S. Ullian

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature by William James

Science & The Philosophy of Science

The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions by David Berlinski

The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl R. Popper

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

Logic and language

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter (this is a good “popularized” introduction)

Logic and Philosophy: A Modern Introduction by Howard Kahane

Metalogic: An Introduction to the Metatheory of Standard First Order Logic by Geoffrey Hunter

Philosophy of Logics by Susan Haack

Gödel’s Proof by Ernest Nagel , James Newman, et al.

The Search for the Perfect Language by Umberto Eco

Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein , C. K. Ogden, et al.

Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein

An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Religion by Brian Clack

Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard: Religion, Individuality, and Philosophical Method by Charles L. Creegan

Spiritual Writings: A New Translation and Selection by Soren Kierkegaard and George Pattison

“Non-standard” views of Christianity

Silence: A Christian History by Diarmaid MacCulloch

Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today by John Shelby Spong

Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

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