Where did religion come from? When did it start? If there is but one God, why are there so many religions? In contemplating these questions, I came to realize that the validity of religious belief could not be effectively debated without acquiring an in-depth knowledge of its history; without comparing the various religious texts; without deliberating the concept of creation in light of modern scientific research; without considering an alternative to Heaven and Hell, and to an elusive anthropomorphic God. We are left to speculate as to when our forebears first developed an awareness of their humanity, and the possible awareness of spirits, demons, and gods, and in what form these elusive entities were perceived. With the advent of writing, and the ability to chisel hieroglyphics into stone, this enduring legacy enables us to trace with a fair degree of certainty the evolution of religion over the past 7,000 years or so. While the majority of people believe in one version of religion to the exclusion of all others, the history of religion exposes a progression that links Paganism and polytheism, and finally with monotheism with a belief in the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It also reveals the degree to which the various denominations have created, altered, and manipulated the mythology of early religious belief to suit their own agendas. Faith or Fiction? is an historical account of the emergence of religion from its recorded roots seven thousand years ago. It reveals how religion evolved from what was likely a single source of belief, to dominate and secularize the great portion of the global population.
Rowan Williams explores the intricacies of speech, fiction, metaphor, and iconography in the works of one of literature's most complex and most misunderstood, authors. Williams' investigation focuses on the four major novels of Dostoevsky's maturity (Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Devils, and The Brothers Karamazov). He argues that understanding Dostoevsky's style and goals as a writer of fiction is inseparable from understanding his religious commitments. Any reader who enters the rich and insightful world of Williams' Dostoevsky will emerge a more thoughtful and appreciative reader for it.
A Theological Critique of the Narrative Strategies of Hugh MacLennan and Morley Callaghan
Author: Barbara Pell
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press
Category: Literary Criticism
Is it possible to write an artistically respectable and theoretically convincing religious novel in a non-religious age? Up to now, there has been no substantial application of theological criticism to the works of Hugh MacLennan and Morley Callaghan, the two most important Canadian novelists before 1960. Yet both were religious writers during the period when Canada entered the modern, non-religious era, and both greatly influenced the development of our literature. MacLennan’s journey from Calvinism to Christian existentialism is documented in his essays and seven novels, most fully in The Watch that Ends the Night. Callaghan’s fourteen novels are marked by tensions in his theology of Catholic humanism, with his later novels defining his theological themes in increasingly secular terms. This tension between narrative and metanarrative has produced both the artistic strengths and the moral ambiguities that characterize his work. Faith and Fiction: A Theological Critique of the Narrative Strategies of Hugh MacLennan and Morley Callaghan is a significant contribution to the relatively new field studying the relation between religion and literature in Canada.
In the tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Andre Dubus, A Stay Against Confusion explores the role that religious belief and literature play in one writer's life. All creative writing is, in the words of Robert Frost, "a stay against confusion." It tries to find a harmony and order that we only fleetingly detect beneath the chaos of everyday life, and to point out motivations and causalities in what seem to be random and often meaningless acts. Religion has also functioned in this way for Ron Hansen, and it shares with literature both a reverence for mystery and the use of metaphor to communicate another order that we will never fully perceive or comprehend. In this rich and deeply felt collection of essays, Hansen talks about his novels, his childhood and family, and about such mentors as John Gardner. He explores prayer, stigmata, twentieth-century martyrs, and the Eucharist. A profile of his grandfather, a "tough-as-nails, brook-no-guff Colorado rancher," finds a place alongside a wonderfully informative portrait of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. A brilliant reading of a story by Leo Tolstoy follows an appreciation of the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. A surprisingly intimate book, A Stay Against Confusion brings together the literary and religious impulses that inform the life of one of our most gifted fiction writers.
Erich Auerbach’s seminal Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature was published more than sixty years ago and is deservedly considered a classic. The book brought into focus the fundamental difference that exists between the two basic approaches to the textual representation of reality in Western culture. These two “styles,” as Auerbach called them, were archetypically displayed in Homer’s poems and in the Old Testament, respectively. Auerbach’s differentiation is the starting point for Bandera’s insightful work, which expands and develops on this theory in several key ways. One of the more significant differences between the two styles transcends and grounds all the others. It concerns the truth of each of the two archetypal texts, or rather, the attitude exhibited in those texts with regard to the truth of what they narrate. Auerbach, Bandera notes, is amazed at the Bible’s “passionate” concern for the truth of what it says—a concern he found absent in Homer. Bandera finds that what the prophet Isaiah called “a refuge of lies” defines Homer’s work. He draws on his own research and René Girard’s theory of the sacred to develop an enhanced perspective of the relationship between these texts.
In September 2002 she married the man of her dreams. In June 2005 they purchased their home in paradise. It was the perfect love nest, the kind of home most people can only dream about. Their private get-a-way was nestled in 5.75 acres of plush exotic land, with a towering forest of landscape and natural habitat, overlooking several creeks and streams with breath taking sunset views from every angle. It was secretly hidden from the world, a place where deer's and rabbits seek refuge; where the falcons soared and roamed freely without fear of discovery. It was the summer of their lives, with a newly built wrap-around deck that lit up the night. They were the envy of all their friends and neighbors. Until one day the perfect dream they once shared came crashing down around them! Their once perfect marriage would be put to the test. Voluntary humility is an honor and privilege best served with a willing, sincere and open heart. To be humbled by God, is an indescribable devastation of heartache and pain for which they would soon discover. September 2009 the flood they once mocked and avoided two years prior, returns with a wicked vengeance, only this time it would take most of the city and their home in paradise with it! Being homeless with only the clothes on their backs, they did not sin nor did they charge God with wrong. They were hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. In this faith based book, Bernita Weston shares with the world how they were able to turn their tragedy into triumph. Find out, "How to Count it ALL Joy, When Faced with Insurmountable Circumstances!"
Twelve American Writers Talk about Their Vision and Work
Author: W. Dale Brown
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Category: Biography & Autobiography
"Conducted over a five-year period by W. Dale Brown, these interviews provide a window into the personal and literary lives of a company of writers whose work continues to defy categorization. These writers talk candidly about their careers, their audiences, their approaches to writing, and their attitudes toward issues of faith. Taken together, the interviews provide a perceptive analysis of contemporary literature and a challenge to the practice of labeling books as "Christian" or "secular."" "The volume also includes photographs, a brief introduction to each of the writers, and a chronological listing of their work."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved