Gospel Truth: On the Trail of the Historical Jesus by Russell Shorto
Carrier re-examines the question [of whether Jesus' may be mythical] and finds compelling reasons to suspect [this] is correct. He lays out extensive research … contrast[ing] the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible [mythicist] theory of [Jesus] and Christian origins. [The latter] theory posit[s] that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earth history were crafted to communicate the claims of the gospel allegorically; such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century..
Who is Jesus: Answers to Your Questions About the Historical Jesus, by John Dominic Crossan
This fascinating book makes the results of a lifetime of scholarship readily available to nonspecialists who want to meet the historical Jesus. Eminent biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan collaborates with pastor Richard G. Watts to rediscover the life, the work, and the message of the Man from Galilee.
How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee by Bart Erhman
The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.
Did Jesus Exist:: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart EhrmanIn
Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts the question, “Did Jesus exist at all?” Ehrman vigorously defends the historical Jesus, identifies the most historically reliable sources for best understanding Jesus’ mission and message, and offers a compelling portrait of the person at the heart of the Christian tradition.
Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgement by Michael Bishop and J.D. Trout
Bishop and Trout here present a unique and provocative new approach to epistemology (the theory of human knowledge and reasoning). Their approach aims to liberate epistemology from the scholastic debates of standard analytic epistemology, and treat it as a branch of the philosophy of science. The approach is novel in its use of cost-benefit analysis to guide people facing real reasoning problems and in its framework for resolving normative disputes in psychology. Based on empirical data, Bishop and Trout show how people can improve their reasoning by relying on Statistical Prediction Rules (SPRs). They then develop and articulate the positive core of the book. Their view, Strategic Reliabilism, claims that epistemic excellence consists in the efficient allocation of cognitive resources to reliable reasoning strategies, applied to significant problems.
Descarte’s Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason by Russell Shorto
In [Descarte's] Discourse on the Method, this small, vain, vindictive, peripatetic, ambitious Frenchman destroyed 2,000 years of received wisdom and laid the foundations of the modern world. At the root of Descartes’ “method” was skepticism … In an age of faith, what Descartes was proposing seemed like heresy. Yet Descartes himself was a good Catholic, who was spurred to write his incendiary book for the most personal of reasons: He had devoted himself to medicine and the study of nature, but when his beloved daughter died at the age of five, he took his ideas deeper. To understand the natural world one needed to question everything. Thus the scientific method was created and religion overthrown. If the natural world could be understood, knowledge could be advanced, and others might not suffer as his child did.
American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church by ALex Beam
In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.
Perplexities of Consciousness (Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology) by Schwitzgebel, Eric
In Perplexities of Consciousness, Schwitzgebel examines various aspects of inner life (dreams, mental imagery, emotions, and other subjective phenomena) and argues that we know very little about our stream of conscious experience. Drawing broadly from historical and recent philosophy and psychology to examine such topics as visual perspective, and the unreliability of introspection, Schwitzgebel finds us singularly inept in our judgments about conscious experience.
Old School (a novel) by Tobias Wolfe
Babbitt (a novel) by Sinclair Lewis
Candide (a novel) by Voltaire
The Waterworks (a novel) E. L. Doctorow