Literature Through the Eyes of Faith

Topics: ArtSymbolism

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Last updated: April 27, 2019

Until about 40 years ago, what four kinds of writers were missing from the canon?
Women, ethnic minorities, Third-world authors, and Christians.

In what ten ways can the canon assist in accomplishing Christian vocations?
Works of the canon speak great wisdom about what it means to be a human, it contains profound ways of thinking about the significance of life and its problems, we can learn important truths from the canon, it contains works of stunning beauty and skill from which we can delight, familiarity with the canon helps us comprehend western culture, it helps us understand ourselves as individuals in our culture, learning about our culture helps us love our neighbors better, it allows us to both reject our cultures’ incorrect ideas and learn from its wisdom, it helps us to understand allusions of other texts, and its uses textual power to improve God’s word.

What five changes in the canon caused the inclusion of certain minds of authors in the canon?
A change in tastes of author, including more non-white and female authors, shifting ideas about what constitutes good literature, it was evaluated by elegance, wit, formal verse and skillful conventions in the 1920s and by experimental, doubtful, pessimistic, or paradoxical writings in the 1940s.

Why should we read works excluded from the canon?
To expand our vision of reality, to hear the voices of our neighbors and the truths they speak, and to appreciate aesthetic excellence.

What are three reasons to “recover the literature of minorities”?
To promote justice, satisfy the needs of the oppressed, and identify with the sorrowful.

How can one achieve “artistic justice”?
Be open to different styles of writing and reading outside of the canon.

What is “popular literature”?
Works that are read and enjoyed by mass numbers of people.

What does reading the literature of the oppressed do?
Helps readers broaden their knowledge of and response to the world into which God has placed them.

What is the most popular form of literature today?
Television.

Who/what is the major storyteller of our age?
Television shows are the major storytellers of our age because, just as books should, they provide entertainment to the audience.

Of what three values is popular literature to the reader?
To relax.

What are the three reading values of different kinds of literature?
To become acquainted with the classic works of the canon, to explore the neglected writings of the oppressed, and to relax with popular works of literature.

Define Christian literature:
It can be defined in two different ways: in therms of the religious belief of its author or in terms of the religious context of its text. Writers such as Flannery O’Connor did not believe in the religion, but still contained some religious symbolism in their stories. Other authors write christian literature because they actually believe in the religion.

What are six forms of Christian references in literature?
Biblical passages, quotes/echoes of biblical language, bible character names, narratives (the exodus), image patterns (referring to a distinctively christian doctring such as the Creation or Atonement), and referring to particular traditions developed by the historical church such as the sacraments, Mariology, and major theologies (such as Calvinism or Lutheranism).

What are the four texts that all students should read and study?
Shakespeare’s plays, the kay American historical documents (the constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the Bible.

Why should a culturally literate person know about the bible?
They will be better readers of many texts, more emotionally attuned to the resonances created by biblical allusions, and they will be more familiar with the biblical context when we interpret the new literary context.

What is an allusion?
A figure of speech that refers to a literary or historical person, place, thing, idea, or event.

What is a series of allusions?
Must be internally consistent to be considered typology (Ex. Describing your mother as Sarah, your father as Abraham, and yourself as Isaac).

What is the difference between literate, illiterate, alliterate?
Literate – Able to read and interpret the numerous texts produces daily in our society.

Illiterate – Unable to grasp the importance of literature in its design, tone, intention, meaning, or even truth; uncultured and uneducated.Alliterate – A person who is able to read, but disciplined to do so.

According to T.S. Eliot, reading consists of what two steps?
An objective analysis of artistic qualities and then a subjective evaluation.

In what three ways is the Bible literature?
It has a beginning and ending, uses figurative language, and contains a plot full of symbols and lessons and characters.

In what nine ways does the reading of works by non-Christian writers benefit the Christian?
We become more skilled interpreters, we are exposed to metaphors that enhance our understanding of life, narratives inform us about life, we serve God by developing new experiences and idea in each book we read, we identify and celebrate beauty and truth, we grow as Christians while learning about love, revenge and forgiveness, we recognize error but also congruence to Christian teachings, we understand our non-Christian neighbors better, and we explore new ways to interpret life and employ new metaphor and narrative.

What is a work of “the highest class: being a model of its kind, excellent, etc.”?
Classic.

What two characters contribute to the formation of a classic?
Has been continually celebrates, analyzed and discussed by successive generations of trained readers, and is part of the literary canon.

What makes the canon?
Those works that numerous scholars believe to be classics, representing some of the best literature ever written.

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