Christianity And Literature

Philosophical Foundations and Critical Practice

David Lyle Jeffrey, Gregory Maillet

Price: S$40.15

“What has Jesus Christ to do with English literature?” ask David Lyle Jeffrey and Gregory Maillet in this insightful survey. First and foremost, they reply, many of the world’s best authors of literature in English were formed–for better or worse–by the Christian tradition. Then too, many of the most recognized aesthetic literary forms derive from biblical exemplars. And finally, many great works of literature demand of readers evaluative judgments of the good, the true and the beautiful that can only rightly be understood within a Christian worldview.

In this book Jeffrey and Maillet offer a feast of theoretical and practical discernment. After an examination of literature and truth, theological aesthetics, and the literary character of the Bible, they turn to a brief survey of literature from medieval times to the present, highlighting distinctively Christian themes and judgments. In a concluding chapter they suggest a path for budding literary critics through the current state of literary studies. Here is a must-read for all who are interested in a Christian perspective on literary studies.

Really enjoyed the thoughtful care and intelligence of the authors in analyzing non-Christian literature, offering guidelines and ideological principles for the Christian scholar, and celebrating the unsquashable hope God has given authors through the years. Props also for the recommended reading lists at the end of each chapter–I’ve added around 40 books to my reading list thanks to their recommendations.

Reviews:

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥   Great Care in Offering Guidelines & Ideological Principles

Really enjoyed the thoughtful care and intelligence of the authors in analyzing non-Christian literature, offering guidelines and ideological principles for the Christian scholar, and celebrating the unsquashable hope God has given authors through the years. Props also for the recommended reading lists at the end of each chapter–I’ve added around 40 books to my reading list thanks to their recommendations.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥   Provides a solid Christian perspective of literary studies

A book like this, focusing on a specific academic discipline, is somewhat limited in its intended audience. In the authors words, “Our volume was written primarily for Christian students of literature in both secular and Christian universities and colleges” (Ibid.). At first glance, unless you’re an English major, you may not feel you fall within this scope. However, I would say if you rely on written or oral communication (this includes pretty much everyone in active ministry) to do your job in whole or part, you owe it to yourself to become a student of literature. This book provides a great resources to start that journey, particularly in reference to English literature. Each chapter has suggestions for further reading, so even if the text itself doesn’t capture your attention, the authors point you to plenty of others to start you on your way.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥   Good foundational work for understanding of the Bible

I am grateful for the good foundational work Jeffrey and Maillet have given us in this book. They argue for the recovery of an approach to literature that affirms the true, the good, and the beautiful in literature and contend that while other theoretical approaches may have something to contribute, that only a Christian aesthetic can fully help us appreciate literature and appropriate, not as salvific texts, but as texts that point us toward that which is noble in human existence.
They argue for the place of careful reading of the Bible as foundational for understanding not only western, but many of the world’s great works. This study can illuminate many of the allusions and themes authors address, either in sympathy or reaction to Christian ideas and practice. They then illustrate this with a survey of literature from medieval times to the present.