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Unitarian Christian Book Shelf

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The following list of books are suggested by the AUC and many are available via the Associates Program.  Each purchase you make via the links on this website earns a percentage for the AUC as long as you access the website via the links on the AUC website.  This list is broken up into topical sections, just click on the category link below.  Click on the underlined title to go to the entry for more information and to order.  Your order will be through, not the AUC.

Early Christian Writings

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The Complete Parallel Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments With the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Revised English Bible, New American Bible, New Jerusalem Bible
The Complete Parallel Bible presents four of the most highly respected modern language Bible translations arranged side by side for easy comparison. The parallel format brings new insights into the distinct characteristics that distinguish the texts used by Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians. This unique work highlights the importance of the translation process in defining the priorities and concerns of these different groups, and reveals interesting contrasts in literary styles, verse placement, and canonical content. The volume includes three translations that have an imprimatur (NRSV, NAB, NJB). Available in cloth and fine leather bindings.


The Original New Testament: The First Definitive Translation of the New Testament in 2000 Years

The first truly historical translation with no theological motivation or devotional purpose, "The Original New Testament" rediscovers the force and urgency of the original message. Both passionate and scholarly, this inspiring work re-emphasizes the "Jewishness" of the New Testament and offers new opportunities for understanding and applying the Bible's message. 


After the New Testament: A Reader in Early Christianity - Bart D. Ehrman (editor)

To help readers recognize and experience the rich diversity of the early Christian movement, After the New Testament provides a wide range of texts, both orthodox and heterodox, including such works as the Apostolic Fathers, (e.g., 1 Clement), the writings of Nag Hammadi (e.g., the Apocryhon of John), early pseudepigrapha (e.g., the Gospel of Peter), martyrologies (e.g., Perpetua), anti-Jewish tractates (e.g., from Tertullian), heresiologies (e.g., Irenaeus and the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter), canon lists (e.g., the Muratorian Fragment), church orders (e.g., the Apostolic Constitutions), liturgical texts (the Didascalia), and theological treatises (e.g., Origen). In addition, rather than giving only fragments of texts, this collection provides large portions--entire documents wherever possible--organized under social and historical rubrics.


Classical Unitarian Writings

William Ellery Channing: Selected Writings (Sources of American Spirituality) - David Robinson (editor)

A collection of nine essays, sermons and speeches by the founder of American Unitarianism. It includes "Unitarian Christianity," an 1819 watershed address, which established some of the distinctions between Unitarian and Calvinist perspectives on faith and life.


The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Wesley T. Mott (editor)

Most of the sermons appear here in print for the first time, but among them is a new transcription of the single most important and best-known of Emerson's sermons, "The Lord's Supper."


0940450151.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg (5111 bytes) Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays and Lectures (Library of America) - by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joel Porte (Editor)
An American Reformation : A Documentary History of Unitarian Christianity [Click for larger image] An American Reformation: A Documentary History of Unitarian Christianity - by Sydney E. Ahlstrom (Editor), Jonathan Sinclair Carey
The work discusses the rise, apogee and redirection of American Unitarian thought and its Trinitarian brethren. It includes Sermons by many leading Unitarian ministers.
The Early Works of Orestes A. Brownson: The Free Thought and Unitarian Years, 1830-35 - Patrick W. Carey (editor)


Transcendentalism: A Reader - Joel Myerson (editor)

This new collection draws together the essential writings of the Transcendentalist group during its most active period, 1836-1844. It includes the major publications of "the Dial", the writings on democratic and social reform, the early poetry, nature writings, and all of Emerson's major essays.

080707702X.01.MZZZZZZZ.gif (10496 bytes) The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth - Thomas Jefferson; Jaroslav Pelikan (Contributor), F. Forrester Church (Introduction)

In 1794, President Thomas Jefferson set out to uncover the essence of true religion from the Gospels by extracting Jesus' message of absolute love and service from the annunciation, virgin birth, and even the resurrection. Completed in 1819, this little book is the result of Jefferson's efforts.


Christian History


Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels - Geza Vermes

This is the groundbreaking work that paved the way for the many books about the historical Jesus. A must-read.


Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography - Bruce Chilton

In Rabbi Jesus, the noted biblical scholar Bruce Chilton places Jesus within the context of his times to present a fresh, historically accurate, and revolutionary examination of the man who founded Christianity.


For Christ's Sake - Tom Harpur

This radical book reveals the real, historical Jesus - and reminds us what he actually said. Who was Jesus Christ? Was he God in human form? Was he the divine Son of God, conceived by a virgin, who came down to earth to found the one true religion? This is what the Church has been preaching since the Middle Ages, but the Church's portrait is a far cry from the Jesus Christ described in the New Testament. "For Christ's Sake" is Tom Harpur's classic study of what the Bible actually tells us about Jesus. Controversial and radical, in that it goes to the roots of what is known, Harpur's book strips away the mythology about Jesus to reveal a man whose message is still fresh and relevant today. "If Harpur's research and reasoning was the stuff of which sermons were made and honestly presented from the pulpit, churches wouldn't be empty."


When Jesus Became God - The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome - Richard E. Rubenstein

The Gospel narratives may suggest that Jesus was divine, but they do not insist upon it. Hundreds of years after Jesus' death, the Church councils made Jesus' divinity a central tenet of belief among many of his followers. This book is a narrative history of Christians' early efforts to define Christianity so that it may be used by emperor Constantine to unify and strengthen the Roman empire. That effort was accompanied by political conflict within the church and sometimes physical conflict in the streets. Rubenstein is most interested in the battle between Arius, Presbyter of Alexandria, and Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. Arius said that Christ did not share God's nature but was the first creature God created. Athanasius said that Christ was fully God. At the Council of Nicea in 325, the Church Fathers came down on Athanasius's side and made Arius's belief a heresy, creating a conflict within Christendom that remains unsettled to this day.


A History of Heresy - David Christie-Murray

"Heresy, a cynic might say, is an opinion held by a minority of men which the majority declares unacceptable and is powerful enough to punish." Unitarians of all kinds might agree with Christie-Murray’s observation. His concise history of Christian heresy includes segments of special interest to Unitarians including covering topics such as Arianism, Pelagianism and Sabellianism and personalities such as Socinus, Servetus and Arminius.

Note: This book is out of print, but may find a used copy for you.


The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381 - R. P. C. Hanson

One of the best discussions of the early controversies over Christology ever written. Written by an "orthodox" scholar, but very balanced. (The book is expensive--hopefully, it will come out in paperback soon.)


Liberal Christianity

While not all of these books are specifically Unitarian, they are of interest to Unitarian Christians for their open and progressive views on God, Jesus, and the Bible.


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Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith- Marcus J. Borg

"In this small, but eloquent and learned book, Borg directs his readers, especially those who have found no meaningful image of Jesus, away from confessed doctrines about Jesus (what the gospels and the churches say about Him) and toward a relationship with the Spirit of God." - Publisher's Weekly


Reading the Bible Again for the First Time - Marcus J. Borg

Borg describes an alternative to fundamentalists' so-called "literal" readings of scripture. 

0060610352.01.MZZZZZZZ.gif (8917 bytes) The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith - by Marcus J. Borg

The Heart of Christianity - Marcus J. Borg

Borg shows how we can live passionately as Christians in today's world by practicing the vital elements of Christian faith. Borg reclaims terms and ideas once thought to be the sole province of evangelicals and fundamentalists: he shows that terms such as "born again" have real meaning for all Christians; that the "Kingdom of God" is not a bulwark against secularism but is a means of transforming society into a world that values justice and love; and that the Christian life is essentially about opening one's heart to God and to others.


0060675187.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg (7758 bytes) Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture - John Shelby Spong

A controversial author and Bishop brilliantly reclaims the Bible from the literal interpretation of fundamentalists.


0060675365.01.MZZZZZZZ.gif (13370 bytes) Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile - John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong is the Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, and has enjoyed a career filled with controversy, much of it thanks to his many best-selling books, such as Born of a Woman, Living in Sin?, and Liberating the Gospels. He has tapped into an audience of people who are at once spiritually starved and curious, yet unwilling or unable to embrace Christianity.

Spong refers to himself as a believer in exile. He believes the world into which Christianity was born was limited and provincial, particularly when viewed from the perspective of the progress in knowledge and technology made over the past two millennia. This makes any ideas or beliefs formulated in 1st-century Judea totally inadequate to our progressive minds and lives today. So Spong is in exile until Christianity is re-formed to discard all of the outdated and, according to Spong, false tenets of Christianity.

He begins his book by exposing the Apostles Creed line by line, then methodically moves on through the heart of Christian belief, carefully exploring each aspect, demonstrating in each case the inadequacies of Christianity as detailed in the Bible and in the traditions of the Church. The epilogue includes Spong's own creed, recast to reflect the beliefs he considers relevant to Christianity at the end of the 20th century.


Christianity and Liberal Society - Robert Song 

Liberalism forms the dominant political ideology of the modern world. Despite its pervasive influence, this is the first book-length treatment of liberal political thought from a Christian theological perspective. Song discusses the different approaches to the subject of three twentieth-century theologians--Reinhold Niebuhr, George Grant, and Jacques Maritain--and draws out the implications for current political thought.

A Liberal Theology for the Twenty-First Century: A Passion for Reason - Michael J. Langford


The Weight of Glory: A Vision and Practice for Christian Faith - D.W. Hardy and P.H. Sedgwick (editors)


Universal Salvation? The Current Debate - R.A. Parry and C.H. Partridge, eds. 

A collection of essays that addresses the hot topic of Christian universalism. Does the Bible teach that all people will eventually be saved or doesn't it? Cases for both sides are made in this interesting volume. 

As I See Religion - Harry Emerson Fosdick

This book is a collection of Essays by Fosdick, a liberal Presbyterian minister in New York City that fought against the fundamentalist movement of the time. Fosdick's writing style is straightforward and inspiring.  This book is out of print, but is frequently available through's search service if you don't mind a wait.


0960681817.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg (4847 bytes) A Preaching Ministry: Twenty-One Sermons Preached by Harry Emerson Fosdick at the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, 1918-1925 - David Pultz (Editor)


If the book you want is not listed in the sections above, use the search link below to find any title, author or subject you wish.   Any item that you purchase from using these links helps fund the AUC through the Associates Program, including music, tools, etc., - everything that offers.

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