From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics

( 5 )

Overview

"The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact."
--C. S. Lewis

In From Achilles to Christ, Louis Markos introduces readers to the great narratives of classical mythology from a Christian perspective. From the battles of Achilles and the adventures of Odysseus to the feats of Hercules and the trials of Aeneas, Markos shows how the characters, themes and symbols within these myths both foreshadow and find their fulfillment in the story of Jesus Christ--the "myth made fact." Along the way, he dispels ...

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Overview

"The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact."
--C. S. Lewis

In From Achilles to Christ, Louis Markos introduces readers to the great narratives of classical mythology from a Christian perspective. From the battles of Achilles and the adventures of Odysseus to the feats of Hercules and the trials of Aeneas, Markos shows how the characters, themes and symbols within these myths both foreshadow and find their fulfillment in the story of Jesus Christ--the "myth made fact." Along the way, he dispels misplaced fears about the dangers of reading classical literature, and offers a Christian approach to the interpretation and appropriation of these great literary works.

This engaging and eminently readable book is an excellent resource for Christian students, teachers and readers of classical literature.

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Editorial Reviews

Roger Lundin
"At a time when our cultural memory seems to have faded away into obscurity--when to say that something 'is history' is anything but a compliment--Louis Markos wisely reminds us of our continuing debt to the great poets and dramatists of the ancient world. Through cogent readings of Homer, Sophocles, Virgil and others, he searches the classics of antiquity for 'traces, remnants and intimations of that wisdom which made us.' Written in a clear and compelling manner, this timely study deserves a wide audience."
Peter J. Leithart
"From the earliest centuries of the church and throughout the Middle Ages, Christian thinkers pored over not only the Old Testament but Greek and Roman literature in search of foreshadowings of Christ. Christian readings of the classics fell out of favor in the modern world, but with From Achilles to Christ Louis Markos revives this venerable tradition. Professor Markos knows the difference between the Greeks and the gospel, but his illuminating interpretations of selected classics show that God did not leave the Athenians without a witness and capture the thrilling breadth of the evangelical proclamation that Jesus came 'in the fullness of the times.'"
Joseph Pearce
"In The Pilgrim's Regress by C. S. Lewis, Father History explains how God sent the pagans pictures to reveal himself to them because, unlike the Jews, they had forgotten how to read. This is Lewis's way of echoing his friend Tolkien who insisted that the pagan myths contained 'splintered fragments' of the one true light that comes from God. Since we also live in an age that has forgotten how to read, we are in need of the pictures, presented by pagan mythology, as a means of seeing the prefiguration of Christ. Through this mythological prefiguration we can better understand the transfiguration of Christ in the Gospels. Christ reveals himself to us in these pagan pictures, and Louis Markos is an excellent guide to the allegorical icons to be found in them. I would go further: Louis Markos is one of the most exciting writers around today and there are few more able to lead us on a tour through God's gallery of myth than he is."
Louise Cowan
"Louis Markos's From Achilles to Christ is a remarkable work of scholarship and insight, making clear the congruence of ancient Greek myth with Christian revelation. It is a particularly valuable study in a time of widespread amnesia concerning the classical past and its role in shaping Western culture. Markos knows his texts and approaches them with equal poetic and theological skills. From Achilles to Christ is a telling argument for the value of the classics in extending and deepening the Christian imagination."
Patrick Henry Reardon
"This is a much-needed Christian introduction to the classical pagan sources that largely framed the Mediterranean culture in which Paul and other apostles proclaimed the gospel of redemption. The argument of this book would have been obvious to the church fathers, nearly all of whom were thoroughly familiar with the ancient literature that the author recommends to our study."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830825936
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 7/26/2007
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis Markos holds a BA in English and History from Colgate University and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Michigan. He is a Professor of English and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University, where he teaches courses on British Romantic and Victorian Poetry and Prose, the Classics, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and Film.

Dr. Markos holds the Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities and teaches classes on Ancient Greece and Rome for HBU's Honors College. He is the author of 9 books:From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics, Pressing Forward: Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the Victorian Age, The Eye of the Beholder: How to See the World like a Romantic Poet, Lewis Agonistes: How C. S. Lewis can Train us to Wrestle with the Modern and Postmodern World, Apologetics for the 21st Century, Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis, Literature: A Student's Guide, On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue in Tolkien and Lewis, and Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Only Complete TruthPart I: Homer
1. Hesiod's Theogony: In the Beginning
2. Homer's Iliad I: A History in Conflict
3. Homer's Iliad II: Civilization vs. Barbarism
4. Homer's Iliad III: A New Ethic
5. Homer's Iliad IV: From Wrath to Reconciliation
6. Homer's Odyssey I: Coming of Age
7. Homer's Odyssey II: Coming Home
8. Homer's Odyssey III: The Journeys of OdysseusPart II: The Greek Tragedians
9. Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound: The Birth of Tragedy
10. Aeschylus' Oresteia: Pagan Poets and Hebrew Prophets
11. Sophocles' Oedipus: The Human Scapegoat
12. Sophocles' Antigone and Electra: Questions of Duty
13. Sophocles' Women of Trachis and Philoctetes: The Tragedy of Character
14. Euripedes' Electra and Medea: The Naive and the Sentimental
15. Euripides' Bacchae and Hippolytus: Apollonian vs. DionysiacPart III. Virgil
16. The Sacred History of Rome
17. The Making of a Roman Epic
18. Virgil's Aeneid I: The Fall of Troy
19. Virgil's Aeneid II: Aeneas and Dido
20. Virgil's Aeneid III: To Hell and Back
21. Virgil's Aeneid IV: Just War?
Conclusion: The Myth Made Fact
Bibliographical Essay
Index
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 7, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    The perfect link

    I teach at a Christian private school that touts a classical education, and though I really needed no justification to teach the classics in a Christian context, this book provides an excellent argument for doing so. Markos believes, as I do, that even pagan authors were children of God, and were inspired (perhaps to a lesser degree) by Him who is the author of all. This should be fascinating even for non-believers, since Markos is such an engaging writer.

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    Posted April 27, 2011

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