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From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics Paperback – August 26, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

. . .through a well-written and scholarly book, Markos has enriched our engagement with the ancient texts and challenged our thinking as Christian readers. (Larry Long, Journal of Faith and the Academy, Spring 2008)

. . .a great "crash course" on the ancient Greek and Roman myths that every preacher should know. (Lee Sparks in Rev! Magazine, March/April 2008)

. . .an accessible and interesting treatment of the great classical works. (Ethan Cordray in Touchstone, March 2008)

. . . a great "crash course" on the anceint Greek and Roman myths. . . (Lee Sparks for Rev!, March/April 2008)

"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." (Roger Lundin, Blanchard Professor of English, Wheaton College)

"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.'" (Peter J. Leithart, Senior Fellow, New St. Andrews College, Moscow, Idaho, author of 'Deep Comedy: Trinity, Tragedy, and Hope in Western Literature')

"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." (Joseph Pearce, Writer-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Literature, Ave Maria University)

"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." (Louise Cowan, University Professor, University of Dallas)

"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." (Patrick Henry Reardon, senior editor, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and author of The Trial of Job)

About 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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (August 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830825932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830825936
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #581,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louis Markos (www.Loumarkos.com) 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 lectures on Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance for HBU's Honors College.

He is the author of eleven published books and two lecture series with the Teaching Company/Great Courses (The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis; Plato to Postmodernism: Understanding the Essence of Literature and the Role of the Author).

He has published over 120 articles and reviews in such journals as Christianity Today, Touchstone, Theology Today, Christian Research Journal, Mythlore, Christian Scholar's Review, Saint Austin Review, American Arts Quarterly, and The City, and had his modern adaptation of Euripides' Iphigenia in Tauris, Euripides' Helen, and Sophocles' Electra performed off-Broadway.

He is a popular speaker in Houston, and has spoken on such topics as C. S. Lewis, apologetics, education, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and Dante in two dozen states and in British Columbia, Canada, Oxford, England, and Rome.

He is committed to the concept of the Professor as Public Educator and believes that knowledge must not be walled up in the Academy but must be disseminated to all who have ears to hear. He lives in Houston with his wife, Donna, his son, Alex, and his daughter, Stacey.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Achilles on December 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
If there was ever a time for us Christians to rigorously examine our traditional roots, it is now in this epoch of radical skepticism and the relentless attack on Western Civilization that is not only eroding our historical, political, ethical and artistic legacy, but turning our religious foundations into sand.
In this excellent book Professor Markos is our tour guide through classics by Homer, Virgil, the Greek Tradedians and in the end Christ, the myth made fact. He shows us that while intellectually we may reside at the bottom of Plato's cave, the Ancient Greco-Roman writers contain a truth that Christian's should not shy away from. He compares their works to candles that might help to light the way out of the cave into the brilliant sunlight of Christ.
Professor Markos' superb scholarship alone is enough of a reason to delight in reading this outstanding book, but his writing style is very accessible,informative, inviting and engaging, these stories, outside of the Bible, are the greatest stories known to man, and you are in capable hands with Professor Markos as your guide. Don't pass this book up!
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful By AK on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
C.S. Lewis has called Christianity the one myth that is true, and modern books such as the Gospel According to everyone from Harry Potter to Superman have noted the echoes of Christianity that are replete in today's myths. Typological shadows of the gospel message began to infuse literature as far back as the ancient Greeks. The author examines several classic works, including that of Homer, Vergil, and Sophocles, in light of Christianity. Such detailed analysis, while highly instructive, can at times be dry. However, in the final chapter, he makes the point of the entire exercise abundantly clear in a concise fashion. This is an excellent introduction to Greek classics for the Christian student.
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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sea Jay on March 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was a great starting point for doing independent study on Greek & Roman Literature for my Masters degree (as recommended to me by my university). Because I was working on my own, "From Achilles to Christ" wonderfully guided me to the texts I needed to read for the module. However, because I was reading the original texts prior to each of Marko's chapters, I did lose the flow of Marko's argument along the way. Hence, I found the book somewhat dry. Yet when I was reading "From Achilles to Christ", I at times found myself agreeing with Markos, and at other times feeling a bit uneasy and even skeptical that maybe Markos is a bit too radical for my liking and pushing a point too far - I never quite got to decide that for myself (maybe a re-reading, now that I've read the texts concerned, would help me appreciate whether to agree or disagree). Nevertheless, my biggest problem with the book is that I found myself asking "What about the comedies?" (Obviously he found a distaste for them, just as Aristotle did.) Because the comedies are completely ignored, I found Marko's argument flawed. If he's going to encourage Christians to read the pagan classics, then he can't ignore an entire major genre. I believe the reason Markos deliberately ignores the comedies is because of their sexual 'vulgarity' and general absurdity - particularly the Old Comedy, which is quite 'peculiar' from a 21st century worldview and distasteful from a conservative Christian perspective. (One might be hard-pressed to justify encouraging Christians to read Old Comedy from a purely theological point of view.Read more ›
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