Friday, 21 December 2012

Anvil 28, 3 (2012) on Theology and Literature

The November 2012 issue of Anvil is available online, with essays on ‘Theology and Literature’, prompted by the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens earlier in the year.

Paul Edmondson
Spiritual Reflections on the Work of Shakespeare and Dickens
A text’s theological or spiritual significance is not limited to the intent of its author. Here Paul Edmondson argues that a doctrine of incarnation enables the works of great authors, like Shakespeare and Dickens, to become useful as contemporary sources for spiritual direction. This paper has in view, not only the spirituality of the authors themselves, but also the way in which the creative act of writing connects the written word to the divine. Imaginative engagement with literature, therefore, can become a resource for spiritual growth and communion with God.

Julia Golding
What did Dickens ever do for you?
A personal journey through the works of Charles Dickens. Novelist, Julia Golding, finds what he has to teach lies in the dust heaps.

Jane Gledhill
Dickens: The Law and Love
It is not clear the extent to which Charles Dickens deliberately used Christian themes and motifs within his writing, although that many are present is certain. Yet, as this overview of some of his key works and the themes they contain shows, Dickens’ fiction was not only influenced by real events in his world but through it he consistently displayed genuine compassion for those downtrodden by the society in which he lived. As such, the extent to which Dickens believed in the power of literature to challenge and to change can be seen.

Sarah Rowland Jones

Stephen R. Lawhead
Interview with author Stephen R. Lawhead

Adrian Chatfield
Conversations with Wilfred Owen: The Pity is in the Poetry
Owen’s powerful verse, describing the horrors of the First World War and its effects on those who experienced it, continues to move readers nearly 100 years after it was written. Here it is demonstrated, however, how Owen’s poetry can also have a theological significance when placed within a broad hermeneutical framework which allows the bringing into conversation of theology and secular literature. In so doing, Owen’s works continue to provide a prophetic voice to the evangelical church, despite him eventually rejecting the faith it professes.

Tony Watkins
Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature
The media (including the arts) play a dominant role in western society. This article argues that Christians should engage with them positively, since they are the product of God’s image-bearers, yet critically, since they are also the expression of human fallenness. Focusing particularly on film and literature, this article briefly considers media and the arts in relation to the transcendental values of beauty, truth, and goodness. It sets out five aspects of a holistic response, taking account of the aesthetic, emotional, worldview, moral and spiritual aspects.

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