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Biblical Anthropology: A Reader’s Guide

Feb 17, 2020

Just what does it mean to be human?

It is vitally important that we get the right understanding on what it is to be human. A wrong view on how we view humanity and personhood will often result in some very ugly results. Simply look at how the Nazis viewed human dignity and worth, and what flowed from that.

The Christian believes that one’s understanding of anthropology will be determined by one’s theology. A bad view of God almost always results in a bad view of man. Indeed, years ago John Warwick Montgomery made this three-part connection:

-In the 18th century we sought to destroy Scripture.
-In the 19th century we sought to destroy God.
-In the 20th century we sought to destroy mankind.

These things do go together. And the further we drift from God and his word, the further away we are from treating mankind as we should. Just yesterday I penned a piece on the new batch of human haters. Because of concerns about saving the planet, we have many voices now calling for the complete end of mankind. You can see that article here: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/02/16/we-love-the-planet-but-we-hate-people/

The books featured here are admittedly of a particular sort; they are all written by Christians. They deal with various biblical and theological issues such as man and his nature, the doctrine of humanity, the nature of personhood, the image of God in man, the Fall, sin, psychology, anthropology, and so on.

Also, there are many philosophical, scientific and psychological issues addressed, such as the mind/body problem, the nature/nurture debate, what the new neurosciences are telling us, and related issues. Indeed, various forms of new research on the brain and similar matters have raised plenty of questions.

Some of the worldviews behind these are quite critical of the Christian understanding. Evolutionary psychology and sociobiology for example have been attacking the biblical notion of personhood, even to the point of denying such basic things as the mind, the soul, consciousness, and individual personality. Thus a number of books listed here look at the new brain research and neurosciences.

Bioethics and the new reproductive technologies are also covered, along with things such as transhumanism. These areas are also presenting big challenges to the traditional Christian thinking on what it is to be human. The many books available on Christian psychology and Christian counselling are for the most part not featured here however.

Here then are 60 books in alphabetical order by author that you should be aware of when it comes to biblical anthropology:

Aeschliman, Michael, The Restitution of Man: C.S. Lewis and the Case against Scientism. Eerdmans, 1983.

Allen, Ronald, The Majesty of Man: The Dignity of Being Human, 2nd ed. Multnomah Press, 1984, 2000.

Baker, Marc and Steward Goetz, eds., The Soul Hypothesis. Continuum, 2011.

Beauregard, Mario and Denyse O’Leary, The Spiritual Brain. HarperOne, 2007.

Beck, James and Bruce Demarest, The Human Person in Theology and Psychology: A Biblical Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century. Kregel, 2005.

Berkouwer, G. C., Man: The Image of God. Eerdmans, 1982.

Blazer, Dan, Freud vs God. IVP, 1998.

Boa, Kenneth, Augustine to Freud: What Theologians & Psychologists Tell Us About Human Nature and Why It Matters. Broadman & Holman, 2004.

Brown, Warren, Nancy Murphy and H. Newton Malony, eds., Whatever Happened to the Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature. Fortress Press, 1998.

Carey, George, I Believe in Man. Hodder and Stoughton, 1976.

Clark, Kelly James, God and the Brain: The Rationality of Belief. Eerdmans, 2019.

Clarke, Peter, All in the Mind? Does Neuroscience Challenge Faith? Lion, 2015.

Cooper, John, Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate. Eerdmans, 2000.

Corcoran, Kevin, Rethinking Human Nature. Baker, 2006.

Cortez, Marc, Christological Anthropology in Historical Perspective: Ancient and Contemporary Approaches to Theological Anthropology. Zondervan, 2016.

Cortez, Marc, ReSourcing Theological Anthropology: A Constructive Account of Humanity in the Light of Christ. Zondervan 2017.

Cortez, Marc, Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed. T&T Clark, 2010.

Cosgrove, Michael, The Essence of Man. Zondervan, 1977.

Custance, Arthur, The Mysterious Matter of Mind. Zondervan, 1980.

Dickerson, Matthew, The Mind and the Machine. Brazos, 2011.

Dirckx, Sharon, Am I Just My Brain? The Good Book Company, 2019.

Elliott, Mark, ed., The Dynamics of Human Life. Paternoster, 2001.

Evans, C. Stephen, Preserving the Person: A Look at the Human Sciences. IVP, 1977.

Meilaender, Gilbert, Neither God Nor Beast: The Dignity of the Human Person. Encounter Books, 2009.

Goetz, Steward and Charles Taliaferro, A Brief History of the Soul. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Green, Joel, ed., What About the Soul? Abingdon, 1987, 1999.

Green, Joel and Stuart Palmer, eds., In Search of the Soul: Four Views on the Mind-Body Problem. IVP, 2005.

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Hasker, William, The Emergent Self. Cornell University Press, 2001.

Hoekema, Anthony, Created in God’s Image. Eerdmans, 1986.

Horton, Michael, Richard Lints and Mark Talbot, eds., Personal Identity in Theological Perspective. Eerdmans, 2006.

Hughes, Philip Edgcumbe, The True Image. Eerdmans, 1989.

Jeeves, Malcolm, Human Nature at the Millennium: Reflections on the Integration of Psychology and Christianity. Baker, 1997.

Jeeves, Malcolm, Mind Fields: Reflections on the Science of Mind and Brain. Lancer Books, 1993.

Jeeves, Malcolm, ed., From Cells to Souls – and Beyond: Changing Portraits of Human Nature. Eerdmans, 2004.

Jeeves, Malcolm and Warren Brown, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature. Templeton Press, 2009.

Kilner, John, Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God. Eerdmans, 2015.

Kilner, John, ed., Why People Matter: A Christian Engagement with Rival Views of Human Significance. Baker, 2017.

Kline, Meredith, Images of the Spirit. Baker, 1980.

Lewis, C. S., The Abolition of Man. Macmillan, 1947.

Lints, Richard, Identity and Idolatry: The Image of God and its Inversion. IVP, 2015.

Macaulay, Ranald and Jerram Barrs, Being Human. IVP, 1978.

McConville, J. Gordon, Being Human in God’s World: An Old Testament Theology of Humanity. Baker, 2016

MacKay, Donald, Brains, Machines and Persons. Eerdmans, 1980.

MacKay, Donald, The Clockwork Image. IVP, 1974.

McDonald, H. D., The Christian View of Man. Crossway, 1980.

Machuga, Ric, In Defense of the Soul: What it Means to be Human. Brazos, 2002.

Martin, Charles, How Human Can You Get? IVP, 1973.

Middleton, J. Richard, Liberating Image: The Imago Dei In Genesis 1. Brazos, 2005.

Moreland, J. P., and David Ciocchi, eds., Christian Perspectives on Being Human. Baker, 1993.

Moreland, J. P., The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism. SCM, 2009.

Moreland, J. P., and Scott Rae, Body and Soul: Human Nature and the Crisis in Ethics. IVP, 2000.

Pyne, Robert, Humanity and Sin. Word, 1999.

Scruton, Roger, On Human Nature. Princeton University Press, 2017, 2019.

Shatzer, Jacob, Transhumanism and the Image of God. IVP, 2019.

Schaeffer, Francis, Back to Freedom and Dignity. IVP, 1972.

Sherlock, Charles, The Doctrine of Humanity. IVP, 1996.

Smail, Tom, Like Father, Like Son: The Trinity Imaged in Our Humanity. Eerdmans, 2006.

Strachen, Owen, Reenchanting Humanity. Mentor, 2019.

Swinburne, Richard, The Evolution of the Soul. Oxford University Press, 1986.

Taliaferro, Charles, Consciousness and the Mind of God. Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Vitz, Paul and Susan Felch, eds., The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis. Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006.

Ward, Keith, More Than Matter? What Humans Really Are. Lion, 2010.

Happy reading and study.

(Australians will find many of these books at Koorong: www.koorong.com/ )

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