Two students in one of my classes have recently engaged me with various bits of content from my blog.
Additionally they asked, “Dr. Michelson, Why don’t you post about all the books you talk about in class, the ones you share with us here in lecture and class work?”
I answered: “Great Question!”
And then I offered a reply close to this.
First, a “blog” you may not know derives from a “web log” – an online journal, really. ‘Back in the day’ this was the way that persons gave information to family members or others about their daily events. When I started this blog, it was very intentionally just for me to “log” books I’ve read. I had (and have) no academic agenda on this web log.
Two, a main reason for logging the books I read is because fully 80% of them are library books. Unlike books I buy within the field of Biblical Studies – the books I blog about (1) do not get annotated (as that would be vandalism!) and (2) I don’t maintain these books on my bookshelves (or, piled neatly around my reading chairs at the home and office!) The books that make the blog are books I simply want to remember from what I have borrowed. [And, it serves as a good “jog” to my memory when I think to myself, “I know I recently read about XYZ . . . what book was that in again?”]
Third, within the academic community, there has been a long standing accepted form of Book Review - published, peer-reviewed, in many reputable journals. I intentionally do not want this blog to be that – as that form is precise, clear, and has a sustained intention and critique for scholars within the scholarly community. While I benefit from and read books within Biblical Studies every month, I have no intention to mirror anything like the formal Book Review that on my blog. In fact, I have in many cases avoided writing about books within Biblical studies on purpose, to avoid appearance of credentialed Book Review.
Finally, this web log also intends to capture personal bits and pieces, anecdotes, ideas and other detritus of my random thinking. On some occasions I intentionally want to capture aspects of my life for our children into their future and perhaps for our grandchildren, one day.
Having noted these issues. In the past couple of months I read two great books within Biblical Studies – that are not “within my area” as they are they cover New Testament books. I’ve been shaped by and have been recommending to colleagues both: Jonathan T. Pennington’s The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary and Beverly Gaventa’s When in Romans: An Invitationto Linger with the Gospel according to Paul. Delightful. Each has impacted the way I think about the Gospel and our living today.