Before becoming full-pledged priests, seminarians will need to study a lot and they will need to study hard. This is because their vocation and ministry will bring them to people from different walks of life. Since their main line of work is to spread the word of God, they must relate these teachings to the circumstances of the people they are talking to. A broad sense of knowledge will be a good thing to have as a priest.
In order to fulfill this “quota” of knowledge, a seminarian will have an extensive reading list. From books exploring about the text in the scriptures ala the Catholic Priesthood Book by Bevil Bramwell to books that discuss the depths of theology, a seminarian must become a voracious reader. These books will be focused more on allowing the seminarian to increase his essential knowledge of Christian faith and history. Since studying in a seminary is basically like studying college for priests, some of these books will be academic in nature.
For an easier time to peruse what books a seminarian may read, it would be better to break them down into categories. After all there are a lot of books that deal on theology, philosophy, priesthood, and spirituality. Add that to novels and other books that are read for pleasure, then the seminarian will have a daunting reading list.
Biblical studies are described as an academic application of multiple disciplines in order to study the Bible. Biblical studies therefore need to come from different approach. Some of them may approach the Bible through its history, philology, mythology, or maybe even comparative religion. Books on biblical studies might take a look at how scripture is written and analyzed. It might also include books that relate to how scripture can be used to relate and translate in the modern or contemporary time. Bevil Bramwell’s “Catholics Read the Scriptures” is an good example of this book for more advanced seminarians. You can find more information about it through visiting the author’s website.
If Biblical studies focus on the scripture, then theology is the study of God, God’s character, and all concepts and aspects that relate to God. This means that these reading list will include books that relate to God as well as a study of the gods of other religion. These books can even be philosophical in nature as well as books that examine how God relates to the different aspects of human life and philosophy. Some good books in this vein include Timothy Keller’s “The Reason for God” as well as “The Universe Next Door” by James W. Sire.
Religion is a concept that has existed for as long as anyone can remember. Therefore, it is only natural for seminarians to also learn about history. Now this history may include general history and how it relates to religions. But it can also mean books that details about the history of religion itself. It is important to note that Christianity and even Roman Catholicism are some of the major forces that changed and affected the known world. From the times of the Crusades, the Age of Discovery, The Protestant reformation, and even until now, the Catholic Church is a major power that shaped the world. With such a robust and interesting history, the seminarian will only benefit by reading about history.
Some of the more interesting books that a seminarian may read for this topic include Mark A. Noll’s “Turning Points” and Ruth A. Tucker’s “From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya”
Classics are classics for a reason. Seminarians would be remised if they avoid reading the classic stuff. Not only will this help them relate to the public, they can also be sources of interesting insights. C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia Series is a fantastic allegory of the Christian faith, and Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and John F. Thornton have inspired and provoked thoughts of many people for a long time.