Part 1: Just in case you missed it: On Books and Their Impact on the Human Soul and the Academic World
Here are all the seven supposedly favorite books that I have listed as part of the game in the past seven days. I normally don’t like to list my favorite books because I read prolifically, interdisciplinarily, or across the disciplines, and that it is possible that I leave one out.
In addition, most scholars do not assess books in this manner: “this one is my favorite book” or ” this one is not.” Rather, we list seminal and influential texts within their respective discipline and the arguments the authors of the noted books articulate that changed or altered a particular perspective within this discipline of study. We assess books according to their discipline and say whether this particular new text has provided new understanding of this discipline or we could simply ask the following questions: how does this book in particular help us to understand a particular debate or issue (it could be an old or mysterious debate in history, for example), for example, in the field of African American Religion or Christian Erhics? Does it contribute new information or knowledge we didn’t already know about and that which other authors have not covered already in previously-published texts or academic articles?
We academics believe that human knowledge evolves, can be deconstructed and reconstructed, and reevaluated based on the time period (s) and connected historical events associating with it. We also believe that a text is written within a particular historical context and therefore the meaning of this text could be/is contextual, political, sociological, historical, and cultural. In other words, a particular body of knowledge embedded in a book has its own historical limitations and boundaries. Some textual knowledge could also die, fade away, or even become irrelevant in an academic field when a newly-discovered knowledge/information brings greater enlightenment, clarity, and precision. That does not mean we do not believe that some books have universal and transcultural values. Even if that is the case, (textual) knowledge is always and should be construed and analyzed within the boundary of reason and in its own time, milieu, or Sitz im Leben.
***Well, the most influential (collection of books) book in my life is the Bible. However, not every book in the Bible has marked my life the same way; some are more impactful (i.e. Deuteronomy, Psalm, Isaiah, Gospel of Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Ephesians, Romans) than others (i.e. Ruth, Obadiah, Ekekiel, 1 and 2 Kings, Jude).