Saturday, September 03, 2005

Leithart on story and life

Well, the Library at A&M has a Leithart book. They have this one:

As I have not yet read all the plays he discussed, I'm only reading the introduction for now. But it's worth checking out just for that. The Introduction is subtitled "A Christian Approach to Literary Study."

Here's a quote:

"There are theological reasons why we think of life as having a narrative structure. Though everyone naturally arranges the events of his life into a narrative pattern, Christians have particular reasons for doing so. God has a plan—that is, a story—for each one of His children. Strictly speaking, we do not shape the facts of our lives into stories; we try to discern the pattern of the story that God is telling with our lives. The story is built into the web of life; it is not a figment of our imagination. More generally, we believe and confess that history is the story of God’s plan for mankind. The whole history of mankind and the creation has a beginning, a middle, and is moving toward an end. The history of the world began with creation and the fall of man; the center of history was the coming of the Son in human flesh to redeem us; and the end will come when Jesus returns. It is not just that we arbitrarily impose narrative patterns on life. Real life is sovereignly shaped and arranged by God into a story. History is not just His-story; it is His-story.

Thus, it is a mistake to suggest that literature and life are completely different from one another. They are not the same, but they fall into similar patterns. This means that learning narrative literature can enhance our understanding of real life... Literature abstracts from the complex events of life (just as we do all the time every day) and can reveal patterns that are like the patterns of events in the real world. Studying literature can give us sensitivity to those patterns. This sensitivity to the rhythm of life is closely connected with what the Bible calls wisdom."


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