In this unique study Christianity and Literature authors David Lyle Jeffrey and Gregory Maillet ask "What has Jesus Christ to do with English literature?"
The answer is a long and complex one. But what can be said, so argue Jeffrey and Maillet, is that literary greats writing in English produced a corpus of work that is everywhere inundated with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even where the literary tradition of the English language reacts against Christianity, it still maintains Christianity as a central component.
The adaptation of Christian themes is therefore everywhere present. This includes the presentation of aesthetic literary forms derived from biblical exemplars, and the ethical complexities into which they are thrust. In English literature, as in the Bible, it is demanded of readers to make evaluative judgments of the good, the true, and the beautiful within the framework of Christian morality, and one might argue the "virtue" ethics of the classical world.
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.
Christianity and Literature is both a fascinating read, and an excellent pedagogical tool for introducing students to the presence of Christianity in literature, as well as preparing their minds for dynamic and integrative thinking about both academic studies and the Christian faith.
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