Books / John

in the mail: “Reading John”

I’ve flipped through it and read the introduction. Thus far, it looks like a great tool to have for those teaching John: The Gospel of John is often found at the center of discussions about the Bible and its relation to Christian theology. It is difficult to quantify the impact John’s Gospel has had on both the historical development of Christian doctrine and the various expressions of Christian devotion. All too often, however, readers have failed to understand the Gospel as an autonomous text with its own unique story to tell. More often than not, the Gospel of John


Review of “Esther and Her Elusive God: How a Secular Story Functions as Scripture”

How do you bring to bear a cross-disciplinary approach to a generally discarded book of Scripture, suddenly transforming it from a canonical oddity to a pearl? You do it the way John Anthony Dunne has — with careful attention to detail, a wonderful writing style, and an innovative, but sacred, way of looking for the story beneath the headlines. Rarely have I read a more enjoyable and engaging book dismantling previous notions while asserting new ones — with arrogance and any slight against previous notions. Dunne does not get bogged down in a superficial need for footnotes, but simply lays


Review of “TheoMedia: The Media of God and the Digital Age”

I once came close to actually meeting Andrew “Andy” Byers in the flesh during a presentation on John the Baptist in the Gospel of John. It was at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Baltimore. Before that, we had communicated over various forms of social media — blog, Facebook, Twitter, and email — about a variety of topics. We’ve even spoken via Skype. So, I guess that while I have never “met” Andy in any traditional sense, I have come to know him via online interactions, across the new media if you will, and maybe

Publications and Papers

first review for “Praying in God’s Theater”

For the most part, you can find other articles on this book here. Geoffrey Kruse-Safford writes, Joel Watts invites readers in to the world of Revelation in exciting, intriguing, and enlightening ways. Cutting the cord tying St. John’s vision both to history and “prophecy”, Watts reads Revelation with commentators crossing the vast spectrum of Christian history and confession, asking only that we indulge the possibility that there are layers upon layers of possibility within this much-contested text. Placing the text firmly within the liturgical and eucharistic practices of the early church, Watts makes each scene come alive as an

Publications and Papers

Endorsements for “Praying in God’s Theater” (@wipfandstock)

“Revelation is, at its heart, about mysteries. Such things are best approached in prayer, in an attitude of worship, and in conversation with wiser souls. Joel L. Watts’s approach does exactly that, weaving a mix of liturgical prayer and scholarly reflections together with insights from commentators both ancient and modern.” —Gary Neal Hansen, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA “Watts has written a beautiful, creative, and informative book on John’s Apocalypse. Watts’ attention to the full landscape of the book of Revelation, coupled with his attention to multiple interpretive traditions, is commendable. This book will serve faith communities

Publications and Papers

It’s finally ready to order: “Praying in God’s Theater, Meditations Upon the Book of Revelation” @wipfandstock

Much like the book of Revelation, Joel L. Watts’ Praying in God’s Theater aims to pull readers into a deeper spirituality to confront the daily struggles of Christian life. Drawing from the rich well of Christian mystics and theologians from across the ecumenical experience, Watts uses the Apocalypse to build a series of prayers and devotions aimed at increasing what he identifies as the contemplative unity and the certain unity between the individual and Christ. He urges a radical vision of the prayer and the sacrament of the Eucharist. Each chapter of Revelation is considered, explored, and finally used


In the Mail: Esther and Her Elusive God, How a Secular Story Functions as Scripture

John Anthony Dunne was kind enough to send this along. What if the way the book of Esther has been taught to us in church and retold to us in films, cartoons, and romance novels has missed the original point of the story? Far from being models of piety and devotion, Esther and Mordecai seem indifferent to the faith of their ancestors. How then did this story become part of the Bible and gain the broad acceptance that it has? If the church should not neglect the story, how should it be read? Esther and Her Elusive God calls