I work at the James P. Boyce Centennial Library, and the staff there are putting together a suggested summer reading list for students. Here are the books related to biblical studies I suggested, in no particular order:
- The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography, by John J. Collins — This is a fantastically written, carefully reasoned, concise introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the impact they have made upon the world of biblical studies and beyond.
- The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, ed. Michael D. Coogan — A handy, affordable edition of the apocrypha with notes at the bottom of the pages. This is a perfect summer read to help fill out one’s understanding of the NT world.
- I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible, by Michael S. Heiser (digital book via Logos) — The book consists of a series of blog-post-sized articles that explain the meaning and significance of many of the “weird” passages in the Bible — fun little book.
- Several Short Sentences about Writing, by Verlyn Klinkenborg — This book will change the way you think about academic writing. Highly recommended!
- The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (7th ed., Penguin Classics), by Geza Vermes — A classic translation of all the non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls. Reading it from cover to cover would provide much insight into the conceptual world in which the NT authors wrote.
- The Jewish Teachers of Jesus, James, and Jude: What Earliest Christianity Learned from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, by David deSilva — DeSilva writes as an evangelical with expertise in Second Temple literature, especially the way in which these writings relate to the New Testament.
- Invitation to the Septuagint, by Karen Jobes and Moisés Silva — This is a great first step into the world of the Greek Old Testament. Jobes and Silva’s introduction to the Septuagint and septuagint studies is genuinely inviting.
- The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek: Grammar, Syntax, and Diagramming, by Douglas S. Huffman — A helpful resource for quickly looking up paradigms, and it could also serve as a quick review of grammar and syntax for those just finishing up their first year of Greek. I used it with my 9th grade NT Greek class this year, and the students loved it. The book is organized exceptionally well (better than Zondervan’s similar guide).