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A Theology Of Reading

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Overview


If the whole of the Christian life is to be governed by the “law of love”—the twofold love of God and one’s neighbor—what might it mean to read lovingly? That is the question that drives this unique book. Jacobs pursues this challenging task by alternating largely theoretical, theological chapters—drawing above all on Augustine and Mikhail Bakhtin—with interludes that investigate particular readers (some real, some fictional) in the act of reading. Among the authors considered are Shakespeare, Cervantes, Nabakov, Nicholson Baker, George Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Dickens. The theoretical framework is elaborated in the main chapters, while various counterfeits of or substitutes for genuinely charitable interpretation are considered in the interludes, which progressively close in on that rare creature, the loving reader. Through this doubled method of investigation, Jacobs tries to show how difficult it is to read charitably—even should one wish to, which, of course, few of us do. And precisely because the prospect of reading in such a manner is so offputting, one of the covert goals of the book is to make it seem both more plausible and more attractive.
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Editorial Reviews

Paul Griffiths
This is a beautifully written book. It contains significant creative thought on its topic, together with exegetical and interpretive scholarship of a high order.
Donald Marshall
This is a book that is a joy to read. It is rich with examples, quotations, and references.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813365664
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Alan Jacobs is professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. He is the author of What Became of Wystan: Change and Continuity in Auden’s Poetry, A Visit to Vanity Fair and Other Moral Essays, and many essays of literary and cultural criticism. He is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Theological Horizons. With his wife and son, he lives in Wheaton, Illinois.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prelude 1
1 Contexts and Obstacles 9
Interlude A: The Illuminati 37
2 Love and Knowledge 43
Interlude B: Transfer of Charisma 69
3 Love and the Suspicious Spirit 77
Interlude C: Quixotic Reading 91
4 Kenosis 101
Interlude D: Two Charitable Readers 113
5 Justice 125
Postlude 145
Notes 153
Works Cited 173
Index 183
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