Our Idea of God: An Introduction to Philosophical Theology
by Thomas V. Morris
University of Notre Dame Press, 192 pages, $18.95
A clear and solid introduction to philosophical theology, which is best described as an attempt to answer the questions children ask: Where is God? What is God like? How do we know that God is all powerful? Is God in time? At times Morris’ attempts at clarity appear almost pedantic, but better that than the standard incomprehensible studies. A good defense of the coherence of theism. —Ian Markham
Doing Faith Justice: An Introduction to Catholic Social Thought
by Fred Kammer, S.J.
Paulist Press, 246 pages, $12.95
It is not the author’s fault that the book appears just after Centesimus Annus, an encyclical that is in starkest contrast to his rendering of Catholic social thought. Quite apart from that, the neologism in the title reflects, unfortunately, the author’s conflation of conventional leftisms with Catholic teaching. The social teachings of his church deserve much better than that.
Biblical Principles and Public Policy
edited by Richard C. Chewning
Navigator Press (Colorado Springs), 330 pages, $15.95
The fourth volume in a series titled “Christians in the Marketplace.” This one includes everything from unemployment compensation to education policy to foreign trade. Contributors include Carl F. Henry, Theodore R. Malloch, and James W. Skillen. The series will no doubt be welcomed by those who want a closer than usual connection between biblical prescription and contemporary practice.
Jewish Literacy: the Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History
by Joseph Telushkin
William Morrow, 688 pages, $24.95
Nearly 350 articles covering virtually everything about Jews and Judaism (the title is a play on E. D. Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know). One may quibble with the author’s treatment of this or that topic, hut overall the book is clearly an enormous achievement. The articles are intelligent and well-written, concise yet comprehensive, and are often graced by touches of humor. Organized topically, Jewish Literacy can be read in long stretches or used for quick reference. It will undoubtedly, and deservedly, become a standard work in the field, for both Jews and non-Jews.
Unapologetic Theology: A Christian Voice in a Pluralistic Conversation
by William C. Placher
Westminster/John Knox Press, 178 pages, $13.95
Theology by itself will not solve the social problems facing us,” the author modestly opines. But, if Christians work together with Marxists and others who are devoted to justice, we can make the world a much better place. And so forth. Along the way is much politicized pondering of contemporary questions in theological methodology.