Christian literature

What is your favourite piece of Christian literature, either historical or modern? I used to love the Narnia books as a kid, then graduated to Tolkien as a teen. Now my favourite work of Christian literature is Beowulf, due to how it incorporates the Bible into Germanic mythology, and does so with surprisingly accurate hermeneutics.

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I also liked “Dream of the Rood” for its picture into the culture clash of our pagan Anglo/Saxon and Christian heritage. It was interesting how Christ was portrayed as culturally strong for grasping the cross of his own volition, because for the time it was considered weak to have died. Caedmon’s dream was interesting.

Calvin Miller’s poetic/free verse trilogy, “The Singer,” “The Song,” and “The Finale” riveted me as a 15 year old, but George Macdonald’s fantasy and novels remain among my favorites. I think it was George Bernard Shaw who wrote that all good literature is really didactic; in combination with GK Chesterton’s observations about fairy tales, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed," I think that the combination of moral teaching and fantasy is a good one.

I think Tolkien’s essay on Beowulf is some of his finest writing.

I loved that trilogy! And yet, for the impression it left on me (also in my youth), I could never remember the author - and no longer have those books. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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I still love the Narnia books. Though it probably depends on your definition of “Christian literature.” The Narnia books don’t mention anything about Christianity overtly, and maybe that’s a part of why they’re so successful – even though the allegory in LWW is clear, I never felt like I was getting hit over the head by a moralizing “Christian story,” but perhaps my view of what qualifies as Christian is too narrow. If I recall, Tolkien was pretty adamant that Lord of the Rings was not a Christian allegory, though many of its themes are compatible with Christianity.

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