Andrew Klavan has written a terrific book (Amazon link and two videos are below). His keen insights and marvelous writing are on full display.
Instead of a typical book review, I am going to list six things that I appreciated about TheTruth and Beauty:
*Klavan is an honest, but not cynical writer. It’s not easy to write truthfully while still holding to a compelling hope, but Klavan does.
*There is a winsome and penetrating critique of materialism.
*Good sketches of key individuals and historic movements like the French Revolution provide helpful context.
*Klavan’s book contains a convincing account of how the Romantic poets (even the godless ones) have much to offer Christians.
*The author clearly did his homework by familiarizing himself with solid scholarship, but he does not write about pedantic details that most people do not care about.
* Last, and hardly least: there is a joyful confidence in the Bible. Klavan is an adult convert toChristianity, so he takes nothing for granted. His thoughtfulness and child-like faith in God are edifying.
Matthew Mullins has written a terrific book. Mullins teaches English and the history of ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The subtitle offers a better feel for what Mullins is seeking to do: Literary Approaches to Loving the Scriptures. Mullins deftly shows how the ability to read and appreciate poetry makes one a better reader of Scripture. After all, the Bible is not all prose. There is much poetry.
Enjoying the Bible is an extremely well-written and motivating account of how to better read the Bible.
Those who have little understanding of how genre functions may be stretched a bit but carefully working through Enjoying the Bible will be well worth the effort.
This is the third book I’ve read by Tim Larsen. I interviewed him on the other two books.
There is so very much to like about this book. I will simply list out four of my favorite things about the book:
Some shorter books like Larsen’s pack in plenty of content. If a lecture series becomes a book (as is the case with this book), there is a better than average chance that the smaller size book will have great content. You can see this with books (from another lecture series) like Andrew Delbanco’s fascinating, The Real American Dream. Larsen’s book does not disappoint as it offers the reader plenty of material.
Even though there is much content, the writing is lucid and engaging.
Larsen is an eminent historian of nineteenth-century Britain. You can always count on him to do careful archival work and know the primary sources. This book showcases those strengths.
Larsen is sensitive, as was George MacDonald, to Christians who struggle with doubt. As one who knows firsthand these struggles, I greatly appreciate Larsen’s treatment in this book.
Perhaps it is too late for a Christmas present, but how about a present for yourself for the new year?!
In the previous post I interviewed Dave Mahan on poetry. Dave mentioned a formative teacher in Peter Hawkins. Here is a short video where Hawkins talks about a number of things, but I want to draw your attention to “careful reading” and really falling in love with great texts.
“I find that poetry helps. You can’t zoom through poetry; it forces you to slow down, think, concentrate, relish words and phrases. I now try to begin each day with a selection from George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, or R. S. Thomas.”
The rest is below (HT: Thomas Kidd’s email letter)