A Tour of My Bookshelf

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At the top of the shelf is the “Catholic” section. It contains bibles and catechisms and the like, all of which are either critical texts, or official Catholic editions.

  • Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Compendium of the Catechism
  • The Catechism of Trent
  • Ludwig Ott – Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma
  • David Bentley Hart New Testament
  • Chinese Catholic Bible
  • Good News Catholic Bible
  • RSV-C2E Study New Testament
  • Knox Bible
  • NRSV Bible
  • Navarre Commentary on the Minor Prophets
  • Critical Texts
    • Hebrew Old Testament
    • Greek New Testament
    • Latin Vulgate
    • Greek Septuagint

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On the Next shelf is the “Functional Catholicism” section. I keep all my missals and breviaries here.

  • English Liturgy of the Hours (Australian Edition)
  • Novus Ordo Roman Missal
  • Traditional Roman Breviary
  • Traditional Latin Mass Missal

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To the right of the functional Catholic books is my Mormon shelf. It contains a variety of Mormon holy texts

  • Collection of Deseret Alphabet Mormon Scriptures according to the KJV
    • Old Testament Volume 1
    • Old Testament Volume 2
    • Apocrypha
    • New Testament
    • Book of Mormon
    • Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants
  • LDS Quad. This contains all currently canonised Mormon scriptures in a single volume.
  • Book of Mormon. This was a gift from some Mormon missionaries, and contains personalised notes and highlighting. This BoM therefore has sentimental value
  • JST translation of the bible. This is an edition of the KJV bible which was radically modified by Joseph Smith, with many additions and changes. It is considered the official bible of the RLDS church, and the LDS church accords it a high degree of respect.

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This is my “Universalism” Shelf. It contains various books devoted to Universalism.

  • Terms for Eternity. This book is a comprehensive academic survey of classical Greek literature, including the New Testament, in order to investigate what words this literature employs in order to convey ideas such as “everlasting”, “timeless”, “eternal” and so on. The conclusion is remarkable, and indicates that the New Testament does not actually teach a doctrine of everlasting punishment after all.
  • God’s Final Victory. An absolutely brilliant book which philosophically analyses the issue of Hell. It clearly and logically examines all possible angles which people use to approach the issue of everlasting damnation, and concludes that they are all fallacious, and that Universal Salvation is preferable in every case as a more consistent and coherent world-view.
  • The Evangelical universalist. This book examines the issue of Universal salvation from a purely biblical perspective. It surveys the entire biblical narrative and zeros in on problematic texts, such as the book of revelation. This is a very valuable book when discussing Universalism with sola scriptura protestants, who take pride in abandoning reason and logic so as to follow “the plain sense of scripture”. When debating simple folk such as this, it is helpful to be able to demonstrate that “the plain sense of scripture” actually supports universalism, not infernalism.
  • The Inescapable Love of God. A brilliant book arguing in favour of universalism from a Christian philosopher. It is a cross between a memoir, a scriptural survey, and a philosophical discourse. It is an incredibly powerful book and I highly recommend it.
  • Dare we hope that all men be saved? A short book on the issue of universal salvation from a hesitant Catholic perspective. The author concludes that Catholics should “hope” for the salvation of everyone, but that they cannot have any confidence that this will actually come about. This is a valuable introduction to universalism, but I needed a more robust confidence, and found it in the other books on this shelf.
  • Love Wins. A controversial book from a protestant minister. In the book all he does is ask stimulating questions surrounding the issues of Heaven and Hell, and he never clearly states his personal position. However the reaction from fundamentalists has been to assume that he is teaching heresy and to cry fowl.

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This is the “Other Religions” shelf, including Protestantism, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

  • Book of Concord. This is an English translation from the original Latin and German.
  • Book of Common Prayer
  • Westminister Confession
  • Gideons Pocket New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I have had this pocket New Testament since I was 13 years old. I never used it much, but it has sentimental value seeing as it has accompanied me for much of my life.
  • Textus Receptus.
  • New World Translation
  • ESV Translation with Apocrypha
  • NIV Translation. This was my first real bible, given to me as a gift by some Anglican friends a long time ago during High School. I don’t read it any more, but it was very important for my formative early Christian days, and carries a high degree of sentimental value. This was also the bible that I reached for during my hour of crisis in order to read the story about Jesus being tempted in the desert.
  • 1611 KJV complete with Apocrypha.
  • Esperanto Bible with Apocrypha.
  • Chinese Bible. This was given to me as a gift during my 2014 mission trip to China. It therefore has sentimental value. I also like to hold onto it because it retains the translation of 道 for λογος in the prologue to the Gospel of John. I think this translation choice is rich in meaning and deep in significance, and it annoys me that the official Catholic Chinese translation instead translates λογος as “Holy Word”.
  • Arabic Bible.
  • Pocket Baghavad-Gita
  • Pocket Quran
  • 6-in-1 volume of the most authentic Hadith collections, in Arabic.
  • Critical Text Quran, Arabic
  • Standard Arabic Quran
  • Dual Column English/Arabic Quran.
  • Dao De Jing, Hardcover. English Translation with original text in Simplified Chinese characters.
  • Dao De Jing, Paperback. This was bought for me as a gift by Helen Yim at the end of our 2014 mission to China. I have greatly enjoyed reading it and this particular copy has sentimental value.

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This is my “Generic Religious literature” shelf. It contains books about Islam, Christianity, Atheism.

  • Answering the anti-Catholic challenge. A response to the popular anti-catholic polemical tract, “Nothing in my hand I bring”. Nothing in my hand I bring is recommended highly by evil protestant pastors who are trying to steal sheep from the Catholic church and drag them down to the depths of Hell to be brutally tortured unto the ages of ages. It is packed full of lies, slander, and misrepresentations of Catholicism. Unfortunately many Catholics who read it are taken in by this subterfuge and end up apostatising from the faith, to the eternal peril of their soul. This book is an attempt to bring some of them back to the light, and inoculate existing Catholics against the lies and heresies of the totally depraved, bloodthirsty protestants that are seeking to destroy them.
  • The Orthodox Church. A good book from Hopeful universalist, bishop Kallistos Ware. Goes through the history of Orthodoxy and examines issues facing that church today.
  • Why I am not a Calvinist. Companion book to “Why I am not an Arminian”, it examines the shortcomings of Calvinism and makes a case for Arminianism.
  • Why I am not an Arminian. Companion book to “Why I am not a Calvinist”, it examines the shortcomings of Arminianism and makes a case for Calvinism.
  • Surprised by Truth 1, 2 and 3. Anthologies of testimonies of people who have converted to Catholicism from a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • Far from Rome, Near to God. 50 stories and testimonies from Catholic priests who left the Catholic church in order to become evangelicals. I find this book to be fascinating. Some times the reasons these priests give for their apostasy are erroneous and easily answered, but some times the reasons they give really touch your heart and make you sympathise with them. Some of their criticism of Catholicism are entirely valid and we should demand reform in the church along the lines they have identified.
  • Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. A testimony from Ex-Ahmadiyya Muslim, Nabeel Qureshi. A great, moving read.
  • No God But One. A theological companion to Nabeel’s testimony. Examines the theological concerns that drove Nabeel to Christianity in much greater depth.
  • Building a Bridge. A controversial book from a controversial author on the issue of homosexuality and the Catholic church. After reading the book I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. The author stays faithful to church teaching the whole way through and simply seems to be advocating for greater respect and compassion between Gays and non-Gays within the Catholic church.
  • Story and Promise. An interesting exploration of the Gospel from the perspective of Lutheran theology.
  • Lutheranism. A brilliant introduction to Lutheranism. The history of Lutheranism is examined, as well as key and core theological issues. The theology of Unconditional Promise as it relates to “Sola Fide” is explored and there is a brilliant section where the book claims that the vast majority of modern protestants just don’t get it, and have reduced “Sola Fide” to just another variation on “salvation by works”. The original Lutheran understanding of Sola Fide is far more profound and wonderful than the modern evangelical version.
  • The Devil Hates Latin. A cheesy novel that reads somewhat like fan fiction. It is nevertheless enjoyable. It is in the emergent genre of “Trad-Fiction”: Stories written from a perspective favourable to traditional Catholicism, and conservative Catholic values.
  • Atheist Delusions. A great historical survey of Christianity by the amazing David Bentley Hart, so as to refute the claims of modern Atheists against the church.
  • The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. Another brilliant David Bentley Hart exploration of Classical Theism, as found in a wide and diverse range of religious, theological and philosophical traditions. DBH shows how human religious intuition is well founded, and backed up well by reason and experience.
  • Faith Within Reason. A great book from Herbet McCabe exploring issues surrounding classical theism. Very thought provoking. A great read if you want to try to conceive of God more correctly and less anthropomorphically.
  • How are we Saved? A tract from Bishop Kallistos Ware, outlining the view of salvation in Orthodoxy. A good read.
  • 10 Commandments twice removed. Seventh Day Adventist propaganda. An entertaining read, but ultimately unconvincing. They have a nuanced understanding of the place of the law in Christianity, but I prefer the Catholic account.
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz. Brilliant science fiction. The premise: After a world-wide nuclear holocaust, everything has gone to shit but the Catholic church survives. The story follows a Catholic monastery in the Utah desert through another 1000 years of history. The particular order of this monastery is dedicated to the preservation of scientific knowledge from the old world, through copying and memorisation. Fascinating stuff.

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This is my “Languages” shelf.

  • Learn To Read Greek. Textbook and Workbook
  • Learn To Read Latin. Textbook and Workbook
  • Alif Baa and Al Kitaab. Arabic Textbooks
  • Fluent in 3 months. A primer on how to quickly arrive at fluency in any language.
  • Everyday Grammar. A compact English Grammar reference text
  • Hebrew Dictionary.

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This is my “Miscellaneous” shelf. Contains poetry, philosophy, novels and so on.

  • The collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. A poetry anthology, given to me for my birthday by some friends back in my penultimate year of high school. Has sentimental value.
  • Endgame. This book was crucial in deprogramming me from the Pick Up Artist community. The key thesis is “Why would a girl want to date you or have sex with you if you are not satisfied and happy with your life as it is?” This book encouraged me to stop pretending to be someone great and attractive and instead actually be someone great and attractive.
  • Expensive habits. Entertaining essays about what it is like to live as a rich person. What is life really like when you have lots of money available to burn? Very humorous.
  • The Philosopher at the End of the Universe. This was my bible for my late teen years. It explores important modern philosophical conundrums with reference to popular science fiction movies. Very deep and thought provoking. I highly recommend it. I have however since moved on to deeper books, and prefer a more theistic approach to philosophical issues.
  • The Religions/Philosophy book. Two great coffee table books which look at the history of religion and philosophy. Very comprehensive. They briefly touch upon all of the big players in history.
  • Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. This was a revolutionary book for me. Reading the first 10 chapters of this book triggered something within me and enabled me to finally understand the core philosophical issues driving mathematics. As a result, I was able to jump from the bottom of the standard mathematics high school class all the way up to the top of the higher extension mathematics class in the space of 3 weeks. However the main theme of the book is to explore the thesis that consciousness can arise out of inanimate matter via something called “strange loops”. The author travels on many fascinating detours while exploring this issue. This book is a mental gymnasium.
  • The Mind’s I. From the same author as GEB:EGB, this is an anthology of short writings, with commentary. The writings explore themes of identity and consciousness, being and reality. A fun and stimulating read.
  • Waking up. By famous New Atheist, Sam Harris. This book explores the idea that it is possible to have a robust spirituality without being religious. A fascinating thesis, and he has some interesting reflections on psychedelics and the philosophy of mind, but I found the book ultimately unpersuasive. Harris dismisses metaphysics and religion too haphazardly. While I agree with him that Fundamentalism is toxic and the essence of ignorance and stupidity, I refuse to reduce all religion to fundamentalism. There is much of value in the philosophical, theological, metaphysical, religious traditions of the world.
  • The Wooden Horse. A great WW2 prisonbreak story. The way they escape from the camp is genius, especially considering that the camp was maximum security and was built specifically to prevent escape.
  • Harrius Potter. The first two Harry Potter books in Latin, along with a paperback English copy for reference.

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This is my “Mathematics” and “Misc” shelf. This shelf just contains a bunch of mathematics textbooks and cook books.

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This is my “Programming Languages” shelf. A relic from my Computer Science and Information Technology days. There are some brilliant books here describing the use and application of some fascinating programming languages, such as Haskell, Lisp, Bondi, Pattern Calculus.

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This is my “Yet to be read” shelf. These are all the books that I haven’t yet got around to, but am incredibly keen to read.

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This is my second “Yet to be read” shelf. It is slowly filling up.

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