Most Influential Books
Earlier this week I was tagged by Adam on Ken Brown‘s most influential book meme challenge. With all that’s been going on in my life the past few weeks (teaching, moving, writing, applying for jobs), I haven’t kept up with reading blogs. At the moment there are some 400 posts sitting in my RSS reader. As such, I just realized today that I was even tagged!
The rules of the meme challenge are:
- Name the five books (or scholars) that had the most immediate and lasting influence on how you read the Bible. Note that these need not be your five favorite books, or even the five with which you most strongly agree. Instead, I want to know what five books have permenantly changed the way you think.
- Tag five others.
Here are my five in order of their influence upon my life:
- W. G. Lambert’s Babylonian Wisdom Literature: changed the way I read wisdom literature in the Bible and made me want to pursue a career in Bible and the ancient Near East.
- Marvin Pope’s Song of Songs commentary in the Anchor series: opened my mind to a whole new set of literature (various rabbinic exegetical methods, obscure Nabatean legends, etc.) and an entirely different way of constructing a commentary than the monolithic, single-minded viewpoint I had found in most commentaries up to that point. Pope provided a myriad of different (and often contradictory) interpretations.
- Frank More Cross’ Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: took me further along the ancient Near Eastern path. Cross was using much of the same material that Pope was using but in different ways. Additionally, Cross was grounding his work in source and tradition critical paradigms I had already come to embrace.
- David P. Wright’s Ritual in Narrative: brought together the Ugaritic material and ritual criticism in a way that made sense. Before Wright’s work I was most interested in Ugaritic texts in terms of myth (very much in keeping with Cross and Pope); it was Wright who first provided a paradigm to help understand Ugaritic (and biblical) ritual texts. He’s also my dissertation adviser.
- Catherine Bell’s Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice: provided the framework that Wright was using and that subsequently I’ve embraced in my own work.
While I’m supposed to now tag five others to take this challenge, I really have no idea who has or has not yet gotten around to this one. So instead, I’ll just throw out an open invite to any of my dear readers who have not yet been formerly tagged.