History has never occurred in a vacuum, neither do historians live in a vacuum. They are shaped by what has happened in their lives, their upbringing and their topics of interests. This essentially is a book on that, and the historian in view is Mark Noll.
For those who do not know who he is, you can google/wiki him. But he should be most known for a number of his works, including, “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” and “Is the Reformation Over?”. And as much as one may enjoy the fruit of Noll’s labour, one might be interested to know what influenced him and what caused him to be who he is today.
And that is what this book is about, the thoughts, reflections and life of Mark Noll. I must say when I first saw his name on the cover of the book, I was rather interested to read about his thoughts on the missions, or so I thought.
After I’ve finished the introduction, I figured that I was going to be going down a very different path that I intended. As someone who has truly not read any works by Noll yet, I found this book rather intimidating at first, I feared my lack of knowledge would be my downfall. Yet, I was in for a surprise, I can very well say that this may perhaps be a good book for people who like Noll or would to know about Noll a little more than his literary works.
The books generally talks about the influences that Noll had as he was young, what were the things or people who shaped him into who he is today. Noll spends time talking about the major influences in his lives and how those have shaped his research and also his literary output. For most of the chapters, Nolll generally recounts and reflects on incidents that have happened in his life, which though can be interesting at times, it was not what I was looking out for. In his last chapter, Noll presents to the readers some of his own thoughts and reflection on the current modern context. This I felt was the best part of the book (fans of Noll may disagree with me about it!). Noll brings no specific answers but present to the readers many thoughtful pointers that should provoke readers to think further about the topics he raises.
Barring that, this book can also very helpful if you want to know why or how Noll has written some of his books. Noll gives elaborate descriptions on the reasons why and also the situations that brought him about to write what he has written.
So if you want to know about the thoughts, reflections and life of Mark Noll, you should read this book! Or if you’re one who doing research on Noll, this would be a valuable book. If however you wish to read about Noll’s insight into a specific topics, I would redirect you to his other works.
Rating: 4 / 5
Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.