What do the book of Genesis, the Second Inaugural Address, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X all have in common? According to author Raymond Schroth, they are all works worthy of being called classics of Christian literature. In Dante to Dead Man Walking, Schroth discusses fifty works—from books of the Old Testament to contemporary works of fiction and nonfiction—that challenge the social conscience and raise moral or religious issues in a provocative way.
The fifty spiritual classics presented in this book are all united by religious themes, be they explicitly Christian or expressive of a broader system of ethics. Schroth puts the books in the context of the author's life, work, and times; summarizes the main ideas; relates them to the religious issues of the twenty-first century; and occasionally relates them to stories of his own personal experience.
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Raymond Schroth's discussions reflect an authority based on years of experience with Christian classics in his roles as author, editor, and college professor. He enhances his authority by choosing works not only for their historical or literary influence, but also for their particular effect on him: did this book challenge his own thinking about moral or religious issues? Was this novel enjoyable enough to recommend to a friend? His personal testimony of the pleasure and influence of these works in his own life gives readers an intimate perspective not often available in surveys of great literature. Through his revealing, forthright approach, Schroth provides an inviting gateway to the Christian classics for beginners who want a gentle introduction or for more experienced readers who are looking for fresh insight.From the Author:
My definition of spiritual is broad. These books are spiritual classics in that, with the exception of a few published within the last decade, they have worked their magic on centuries and generations of readers. They speak to the human spirit, to that divine gift by which we transcend with limitations imposed by our self-absorption, our narrow-mindedness and our moral cowardice. If we approach a book the way Karl Rahner says we should approach life—fully open to human experience and God's grace—it can transform us in much the same way that a friend, a teacher, or a coach can help us become something we have not been before.
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