The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America
Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey (Univ. of North Carolina)
This model of academic inquiry and analysis is clearly written, deeply researched, socially engaged, ambitious in the intellectual scope of its questions about race and religion, and methodical in its answers.
Religion? No, really. Morris's novel about a mysterious man whose advent changes the straightened circumstances of a WWI-era family is everything faith fiction ought to be and usually isn't: a fabulous (as in fable) and subtle tale of love, loyalty, grit, and on-fire imagination, a Southern stew lightly seasoned with the mystery of faith.
Revelations: Visions, Prophecies, & Politics in the Book of Revelation
Elaine Pagels (Viking)
An academic in command of her field of early Christian studies and also of clear, nonacademic prose offers wise analysis of a puzzling biblical text that has prompted many a fevered preacher to pencil the end times onto a calendar.