A Beginner’s Christian Bookshelf

compiled by Professor David Lyle Jeffrey

The following list is divided into three categories: (1) classic works of Christian spirituality and devotional theology; (2) post-enlightenment and modern works of Christian intellectual and cultural criticism; (3) great novels, poems and plays whose Christian content and/or asking of questions central in their importance to accountable Christian reflection make them a desirable part of the well-tempered, well-furbished apostolic mind.

Athanasius  On the Incarnation of the Word         


The City of God 
Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love
Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount 
The Teacher (De Magistro)             

Boethius Consolation of Philosophy
Gregory the Great Pastoral Care  

John Chrysostom

Homilies on 1 and 2 Corinthians
Anselm of Canterbury Truth, Freedom and Evil 
Cur Deus Homo?
Basil On the Holy Spirit 

Bernard of Clairvaux

On Loving God
Sermons on Charity       

Thomas Aquinas

Summa Theologica, 5 vols. (Christian Classics)
Theological Texts, ed. Thomas Gilby (Oxford)
Commentary on John’s Gospel     

Bonaventure The Mind’s Road to God 
Walter Hilton  Ladder of Perfection   
Thomas à Kempis Imitation of Christ 

Martin Luther

On the Bondage of the Will
Commentaries on Galatians, Romans     

John Calvin

Commentary on Deuteronomy   

Thomas More The English Prayers of Sir Thomas More  
Blaise Pascal          Pensées
Thomas Browne Religio Medici
Richard Baxter Saints’ Everlasting Rest    
Ignaius of Loyola Spiritual Exercises
John of the Cross  Dark Night of the Soul  
Theresa of Avila  The Way of Perfection  
Lancelot Andrewes Private Prayers 
Isaac Watts Guide to Prayer
William Law Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
Phillip Doddridge  The Rise and Progress of the Soul   
John and Charles Wesley Spiritual Writings (Paulist Press) 
Charles Simeon Memoirs     
John Henry Newman  Apologia Pro Vita Sua  

Søren Kierkegaard

Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing (Princeton)
Fear and Trembling
The Present Age:  The Difference Between
A Genius and an Apostle (Harper and Row)  

C.S. Lewis

 Mere Christianity 
Screwtape Letters
God in the Dock and Other Essays

Dietrich Bonhoeffer The Cost of Discipleship    

Watchman Nee

The Normal Christian Life
Sit, Walk, Stand
The Release of the Spirit      

J.I. Packer  Knowing God

A.W. Tozer

The Knowledge of the Holy   
Josemaria Escriva

 The Way
Christ is Passing By   

Simone Weil Waiting for God      
Hans Urs Von Balthassar On Prayer    

John Paul II  

Letter to Families
The Splendor of Truth
The Gospel of Life
Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Ut Unum Sint     


A. Focusing on the Patristic Era

Jaroslav Pelikan

 The Christian Tradition:  A History of the                 Development of Doctrine (Chicago)   

Bernard Lonergan

The Road to Nicea

F.F. Bruce

The Canon Of Scripture
Tradition Old and New
The Spreading Flame:  The Rise and Progress
of Christianity from First Beginnings to the 
Conversion of the English (Eerdmans)     

B. Medieval through Reformation

Fredrick Coppleston A History of Philosophy (Penguin) 
C.S. Lewis The Discarded Image (Oxford)
Gillian Evans  The Language and Logic of the Bible, 2  vols. (Cambridge) 
Beryl Smalley The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages (Notre Dame) 
Etienne Gilson

Thomas Aquinas
The Christian Philosophy of St. Bonaventure 
A Christian Philosophy (PIMS)  

Alistair McGrath

The Intellectual Origins of the European
Reformation (Blackwells)     

Heiko Oberman  Luther (Image)
William J. Bowsma  John Calvin (Oxford) 
Dom David Knowles  Saints and Scholars  
E. Harris Harbison  The Christian Scholar in the Age of Reformation 

C. Enlightenment and Early Modern

Donald Davie A Gathered Church 
William Paley  Evidences of Christianity
D.L. Jeffrey, ed. English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley   (Eerdmans) 

D. Modern

1. Arts and Humanities  
Hannah Arendt   

 Between Past and Future
 Men in Dark Times

Herbert Butterfield   Christianity and History (Bell)
Dorothy Sayers The Mind of the Maker (Methune)  
G.K. Chesterton

The Everlasting Man (Doubleday Image)
Orthodoxy (Doubleday Image)

Jacque Ellul

The Technological Society (Seabury)
The Humiliation of the Word (Eerdmans)
Hope in a Time of Abandonment (Seabury)   

T.S. Eliot    The Idea of a Christian Society  
W.H.V. Reade The Christian Challenge to Philosophy     
John A. MacMurray

The Self as Agent (Faber)
Persons in Relation (Faber)  

George Grant   Technology and Justice
David L. Jeffrey

People of the Book:  Christian Identity and Literary
Culture (Eerdmans) 

Harry Blamires    The Christian Mind (Seabury) 
Mark Noll The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Eerdmans)         
Paul Ricoeur History and Truth (Northwestern)   
George Marsden      The Soul of the American University (Oxford)      
J.I. Packer and Thomas Howard   Christianity:  The True Humanism (Word)  
Nicholas Wolterstorff  Reason Within the Bounds of Religion      
Keith Yandell Christianity and Philosophy (Eerdmans)    
2. Science  
Herbert Butterfield  Christianity and Science  
Paul Davies

God and the New Physics 
The Mind of God    

Jean Daujat

Physique moderne et philosophie traditionelle (Desclée)                     Le système du monde.  Histoire des doctrines                                 cosmologique de Platon a Copernic (Hermann)                             Le théorie physique (Minerva)   

Phillip Johnson     

Reason in the Balance:  the Case against 
Naturalism (IVP)

John Eccles and Daniel Robinson

The Wonder of being Human, Our Brain and our                           Mind (Free Press)

R. Harre   

The Philosophies of Science (Oxford)
Theories and Things (Sheed & Ward)
Casual Powers (Rowman & Littlefield)  

W. Heisenberg 

Physics and Philosophy, The Revolution in
Modern Science (Harper)    

Mary Midgley Science and Salvation (RKP)
Stanley Jaki

Cosmos and Creator (Scottish Academic Press)                                 The Relevance of Physics (Chicago)
The Origin of Science and the Science
of Origin (Scottish Academic Press)
Angels, Apes, and Man (Sherwood)  

Jacques Maritain Science et Sagesse (Desclée)       
Roger Penrose The Emperor’s New Mind
Emile Simard

La Nature et la portée de la methode
scientifique  (Laval) 

William Wallace  

 Causality and Scientific Explanation (U. Mich.)                                    From a Realist Point of View:  Essays on the                                     Philosophy of Science (U. Press of America)  

3. Law  
Huntington Cairns    Legal Philosophy from Plato to Hegel (Johns Hopkins) 
Benjamin Cardozo The Nature of the Judicial Process (Yale)
Oliver W. Holmes   The Common Law (Yale)  
Roscoe Pound  Justice According to Law (Yale)
Samuel Rutherford  Lex Rex      
4. Social Sciences  
Peter Berger    A Rumor of Angels (Doubleday)
C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man (MacMillan)  
Jacques Ellul

The Meaning of the City (Eerdmans)
The Politics of God and the Politics of Man (Eerdmans) 

William K. Kilpatrick  Psychological Seduction (Nelson) 
Neil Postman  Amusing Ourselves to Death
Paul Tournier The Meaning of Persons (SCM) 
Mary Stewart van Leeuwen The Person in Psychology (Eerdmans)
Paul Vitz

Psychology as Religion: the Cult of
Self-Worship (Eerdmans)   

5. Philosophical Theology  
Donald Bloesch

Theology of Word and Spirit (IVP)
Holy Scripture (IVP)
The Battle for the Trinity (Vine)  

O. O’Donovan Resurrection and Moral Order (Eerdmans)   
T.F. Torrance

God and Rationality (Oxford)
 The Trinitarian Faith (T & T Clark) 

Diogenes Allen  Christian Belief in a Postmodern World(Westminster)
Carl Henry  God, Revelation and Authority 6 vols. (Word)  
A. Plantinga  God, Freedom, and Evil (Eerdmans) 
A. Plantinga and N. Wolterstorff Faith and Rationality (Notre Dame) 
R. Swinburne

The Coherence of Theism (Oxford)
The Existence of God (Oxford)
Faith and Reason (Oxford)
Revelation (Oxford)
Responsibility and Atonement (Oxford)  

Alasdair MacIntyre  Three Rival Genealogies of Moral Inquiry (Notre Dame)                                     
Cardinal J. Ratzinger      In the Beginning (Eerdmans)
Bernard Lonergan Insight (Darton, Longman and Todd)  
Hans Urs Von Balthassar

The Glory of the Lord:  A Theological Aesthetics,                              3 vols.; trans. E. Leiva-Merikakis (Ignatius)         

Donald Davie Christian Poetry:  An Anthology
Dante  Divine Comedy  
Christopher Marlowe The Tragicall Historie of Doctor Faustus
William Roper  The Life of Thomas More
George Herbert    The Temple  
John Donne

 Holy Sonnets, etc.

John Bunyan

Pilgrim’s Progress 
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

John Milton

Paradise Lost
Paradise Regained    

William Shakespeare

A Winter’s Tale
Measure for Measure
King Lear

Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre
Fyodor Dostoevski   

Crime and Punishment 
Brothers Karamazov    

Albert Camus     La Peste
Leo Tolstoy 

War and Peace 
Anna Karenina 

G.M. Hopkins   Poems   
François Mauriac

Viper’s Tangle
Woman of the Pharisees 
The Leper’s Kiss

John Betjeman Summoned by Bells
C.S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength 
Till We Have Faces    

T.S. Eliot 

Murder in the Cathedral
Cocktail Party

Charles Williams

Descent into Hell 
All Hallows Eve

J.R.R. Tolkien   The Lord of the Rings
Graham Green

The Power and the Glory 
The Heart of the Matter 
The End of the Affair

Alexander Solzhenitsyn One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Walker Percy       

 Lost in the Cosmos 
Second Coming 
Thanatos Syndrome  

Flannery O’Connor    

Collected Stories 
The Habit of Being 
Mystery and Manners

Wendell Berry

Fidelity (stories)
Remembering (novel)
Sabbaths (poems)
The Country of Marriage (poems)

Margaret Avison

Collected Poems
No Time   

George Bernanos Diary of a Country Priest
P.D. James  Children of Men