Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Pendle Hill

Christians throughout the ages, in order to argue for the need of literature, have argued from Augustine who wrote “Like the treasures of the ancient Egyptians…which on leaving Egypt the people of Israel… claimed for themselves,” the truths of pagan knowledge “…must be removed by Christians…and applied to…preaching the gospel” (quoted by Williams, 6).

 

Augustine argued later in life for the value of literature lying merely in the truth that could be gleaned from it. He believed we are to only use the practical side of the written word. But this cannot be the only use for a Christian. How is one to approach art and, as Frye noted, be “extended” by it (Reflections 57)?

 

Literature holds more than just moral compasses and true norths. Literature, as with all art, draws one in with an aesthetic aura. God revealed his Son, neither in propositional terms nor a point by point bulleted power point presentation.

 

God revealed Christ incarnate in the Word incarnate. Christ was revealed in narrative sweat and blood that takes the sweat of the brow to dig into and yield fruit. David bled out his wasting flesh and sleepless nights in stanzas and acronyms. We are presented creation in chiastic form. Law is granted through the lips of a prince.

 

Were instruction and life not bound by beauty, we would not seek it out. But beauty is not the end.

 

Ryken sees the balanced view of art when he writes “Writers do not, of course, claim that literature is only entertaining” (Ryken, 140, emphasis author’s). The balance, not the tipped scale, is that beauty and message reside within art.

 

It is the beauty that draws and the message that enriches. Regarding nonfiction, Veith writes “It has been said that any subject can be made interesting by a good writer” and vice versa (Veith, 53). There is nothing wrong in enjoying art. Veith argues “There is no need for Christians to defend any [literary] forms or to worry about whether poetry or fiction are legitimate for Christians to read or write” (Ibid., 47). It seems that in fact, from what Veith is saying, good art and good literature should start at being aesthetically pleasing in order to be received well.

 

Beauty should be the starting point to tame the beast’s mind.

 


 

[This has been on my heart for a while now.  As I am taking a class on the subject of Christian literature, I figured now would be a good time to lay some ground work on my ideas of literature.  Forgive the shoddy citing.  I am still practicing with MLA (after having used Chicago Styled for the past couple years.)  I hope this whets your appetite!]

Works Cited

“Reflections on an understanding of Literature.” The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing. Ed. Leland Ryken. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2002. 55-59.

Ryken, L. “‘Words of Delight’: A Hedonistic Defense of Literature.” The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing. Ed. Leland Ryken. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2002. 135-153.

Veith, Gene Edward Jr. Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature. Wheaton: Crossway, 1990.

Williams, Donald T. “Christian Poetics, Past and Present.” The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing. Ed. Leland Ryken. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2002. 4-21.

Read Full Post »