As Faith Christian School began its first year of high school with 9th graders, one course I was asked to teach was English. One of the first things I did was reach out to some of my high school English teaching colleagues and ask them for input, suggestions, and materials that would be helpful as I began putting together my classes. One area I was specific about was that of Shakespearean plays. I’m thankful for the feedback and wealth of resources that I was directed to. One book suggested to help with Shakespeare was Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature. I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it not only to our English teachers, but all teachers as it helps one round out their Christian worldview on literature.
The author, Gene Edward Veith, Jr., was at the time of the publication of this book the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of English at Concordia Univeristy-Wisconsin. This book was published as a part of the TURNING POINT Christian Worldview Series by Crossway Books. Mr. Veith and I would differ on various aspects and points that he brings up but in general the book is beneficial and helps the teacher or any individual develop their worldview in regards to literature.
Although I read through this book the first time quite quickly as I prepared my classes, I intend to go through it more slowly this time around and will review each chapter over the upcoming months. Here are some quotes from the preface that hopefully encourage the reader to pick up a copy of the book:
“My purpose is to promote critical reading, the habit of reading with discernment and an awareness of larger contexts and deeper implications.”
“The capacity to read is a precious gift of God, and this book is designed toe encourage people to use this gift to its fullest.”
“The habit of reading is absolutely critical today, particularly for Christians. As television turns our society into and increasingly image-dominated culture, Christians must continue to be people of the Word.”
“From the beginnings of the church to the present day, Christian writers have explored their faith in books, and in doing so have nourished their fellow believers.”
“Although the subject of the book is literature, a host of other subjects will also be addressed. This is because literature, by its very nature, involves its readers in a wide range of issues, provoking thought in many directions. Our discussions of style and literary history will lead to the abortion controversy. Our discussions of comedy and tragedy will lead into the theology of Heaven and Hell. Our discussions of fairy tales will lead to child psychology.”
“My central purpose will be served if through this book a reader discovered the poetry of George Herbert or the children’s stories of Walter Wangerin, gains insight into Scripture by noticing its parallelism or non visual imagery, or turns off the TV one night to settle down with a good book.”
Amen to that!
Quoted from Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and published by Crossway Books in 1990. These quotes are found in the Preface (pgs. xiii-xvi).