Books on the Ten Commandments…and Hedges

Yesterday, I posted a heart-felt tribute about the moving experience of reading Christopher Hedges very worthwhile rumination on the ten commandments called Losing Moses on the Freeway. You may know of Hedges for his powerful, wise, and deeply moral critique of the seductions of warfare ideologies, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Both are important works, and Losing Moses was surprisingly entertaining.
I noted that it didnÕt do serious, let alone Christian, exegesis and, as a journalistic memoir, was rooted less in the authority of the text than in the telling of the tales. I still loved the book, and found it wonderfully helpful and healing for me. I promised to explain more, which I will do, soon.
But, so friends and visitors know that Hearts & Minds does carry more standard Bible study approaches, let me just note a couple of books on the Ten Commandments that have crossed our counter lately.
I Am the Lord Your God: Christian Reflections on the Ten Commandments Carl Braaten, Christopher Seitz, et al (Eerdmans) $22.00 A grand and serious collection by some of the most provocative theologians, ethicists, and Biblical scholars today—Rusty Reno, Ephraim Radner, Seitz, David Bentley Hart, William Cavanaugh, Gilbert MeilanderÉpastoral, radical, aware of postmodern culture, ecumenical, orthodox. Good, meaty stuff.
The Ten Commandments: A Reciprocity of Faithfulness William Brown, editor (Wesminister/John Knox) $35.00 Again, a meaty, serious, nearly academic theological set of reflections by some very important writers. Walter Brueggemann, John Barton, George Lindbeck, Nancy Duff, Patarick Miller. AND, the seminal authors of the church, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin. Some of these pieces are very helpful and some are nearly classic.
Do We Still Need the Ten Commandments? John Timmerman (Augsburg) $13.99 A lovely, helpful book by a professor at Calvin College. The blurb from Lewis Smedes says, ÒLike no other book on the commandments. Beautiful, tender, poignant, strong.Ó

The Truth About God: The Ten Commandments in the Christian Life
William Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas (Abingdon) $11.00 Think what you may about this tag-team of Methodist trouble-makers, they are committed to a close reading of the Biblical text and proclaiming it as truth to be lived. Very nice for small groups or personal devotional reading.
Smoke on the Mountain: An Interpretation of the Ten Commandments Joy Davidman (Westminister) $18.95 No, I did not say ÒSmoke on the Water.Ó And yes, it is that Joy Davidman. C. S. Lewis himself wrote the forwardÑhe calls her Miss Davidman, at that point. Ha! Tell your cool Lewis friends about this one.
Other serious exegetes do good work and there are commentaries and small group discussion guides and all kind of resources for those wanting to explore the Biblical law. We commend them, of course. The ones above are a nice little sampling for you to file away for when you may want to embark on such a study.
For now, though, recall my enthusiasm for Chris Hedges. It is a very, very wonderful book.
Here is an extensive interview by the feisty and very conservative John Whitehead. It is a good interview and an fabulous and very intriguing website and I think you will find it worthwhile.(Browse through his postings on the arts, politics, etc. Fascinating and thoughtful worldview stuff.) Hedges, though, in his book, is much, much more elequent, turning remarkable phrases and telling unforgettable stories. The grace of the prose and the power of the narrative is lost in the interview.
Here is another link with a favorable review, and a way to click to read a brief excerpt.
Mess around the internet if you have timeÑthere are critiques, video interviews, the works. Just donÕt buy it elsewhere. There has to be a ÒThou Shalt NotÓ about that, eh?