Tag Archives: Shaun Tan

Some Wise Books: A List where the order matters

Some of the most intriguing and unsettling conversations I have reside in some of the books I read. These texts keep coming back to me time and time again, their images cemented into present contexts, drawing me into new and different ways of engaging in current conversations. I think this speaks to a kind of wisdom spun through these books.

I am in a second-year undergraduate level course on the wisdom literature in Christian traditions and we are focusing, mostly, on the books of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes. Using some of the lectures and course material, and dependent on the past 5+ years of theological and philosophical undergraduate learnings at a Mennonite university, I’ve written a brief something as to how wisdom can be made sense of: wisdom can be made sense of as the way creatures adhere to and live into their limitations. Learning what these limitations are and how they press themselves o/into our being depends on, at least, two not-mutually-exclusive spaces outside the creature’s self: 1) an imposed terror of something or someone far greater in Being than the creature herself; and 2) a curiosity that pulls the creature into a constant state of inquiry. One way that a creature can lean into this curiosity is by trying to ask “where am I coming from?” and seeking out the limitations that this questions runs up against.

Here is a list of the ten books I have read in the last five years that most appropriately seek out this question “where am I coming from?” After each book’s title I briefly describe how that text asks this question. The list ascends in the order of which books are closer to the asking of this question. So, the last book listed is the one which I think most appropriately seeks to ask this question “where am I coming from?”

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