Subversive: Christ, Culture, and the Shocking Dorothy L. Sayers

Subversive: Christ, Culture, and the Shocking Dorothy L. Sayers

by Crystal Downing


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Known for her bestselling detective novels, Dorothy L. Sayers lived a fascinating, groundbreaking life as a novelist, feminist, Oxford scholar, and important influence on the spiritual life of C.S. Lewis. This pioneering woman not only forged a literary career for herself but also spoke about faith and culture in revolutionary ways as she addressed the evergreen question of to what extent faith should hold on to tradition and to what extent it should evolve with a changing culture. Thanks to her unmatched wisdom, prophetic tone, and insistent strength, Dorothy Sayers is a voice that we cannot afford to ignore.

Providing a blueprint for bridge-building in contemporary, polarizing contexts, Subversive shows how Sayers used edgy, often hilarious metaphors to ignite new ways to think about Christianity, shocking people into seeing the truth of ancient doctrine in a new light. Urging readers to reassess interpretations of the Bible that impede the cause of Christ, Sayers helps twenty-first-century Christians navigate a society increasingly suspicious of evangelical vocabularies and find new ways to talk and think about faith and culture. Ultimately, she will inspire believers, on both the right and the left, to evaluate how and why their language perpetuates divisive certitude rather than the hopeful humility of faith, and will show us all a better way forward.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506462752
Publisher: Broadleaf Books
Publication date: 11/10/2020
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 207,776
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Crystal Downing, PhD, is the Co-Director of the Marion E. Wade Center in Wheaton, Illinois, the preeminent archive in the world for published and unpublished documents by and about C.S. Lewis and six of his British influencers, including J.R.R. Tolkien and Dorothy L. Sayers. Her first book, Writing Performances, won an international award for outstanding Sayers scholarship. Before moving to Wheaton, she taught Romantic and Victorian literature at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction The Murder of God 1

Chapter 1 The Shock of the New 17

Chapter 2 Religious Shopping and Exchange 51

Chapter 3 The Betrayal of Tradition, the Tradition of Betrayal 91

Chapter 4 The Subversive Mind of the Maker 131

Chapter 5 The Politics of Religion, the Religion of Politics 171

Chapter 6 A Brief Subversive Conclusion 211

Notes 215

Index 235

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