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Orthodoxy Paperback – March 8, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: BiblioBazaar (March 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426458975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426458972
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (281 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,177,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith is, as he called it, a "slovenly autobiography," then we need more slobs in the world. This quirky, slender book describes how Chesterton came to view orthodox Catholic Christianity as the way to satisfy his personal emotional needs, in a way that would also allow him to live happily in society. Chesterton argues that people in western society need a life of "practical romance, the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome." Drawing on such figures as Fra Angelico, George Bernard Shaw, and St. Paul to make his points, Chesterton argues that submission to ecclesiastical authority is the way to achieve a good and balanced life. The whole book is written in a style that is as majestic and down-to-earth as C.S. Lewis at his best. The final chapter, called "Authority and the Adventurer," is especially persuasive. It's hard to imagine a reader who will not close the book believing, at least for the moment, that the Church will make you free. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Whenever I feel my faith going dry again, I wander to a shelf and pick up a book by G.K. Chesterton."
--from the foreword by Philip Yancey, author of What's So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew

"My favorite on the list [of top 100 spiritual classics of the twentieth century] is Chesterton's Orthodoxy. It offers wonderful arguments for embracing religious traditions, but it also has humor you don't typically find in religious writing."
--Philip Zaleski, author and journalist

Named by Publisher's Weekly as one of 10 "indispensable spiritual classics" of the past 1500 years.
--Publisher?s Weekly

"Chesterton's most enduring book.... Charming."
--World



From the Hardcover edition. --Review

"Whenever I feel my faith going dry again, I wander to a shelf and pick up a book by G.K. Chesterton."
--from the foreword by Philip Yancey, author of What's So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew

"My favorite on the list [of top 100 spiritual classics of the twentieth century] is Chesterton's Orthodoxy. It offers wonderful arguments for embracing religious traditions, but it also has humor you don't typically find in religious writing."
--Philip Zaleski, author and journalist

Named by Publisher's Weekly as one of 10 "indispensable spiritual classics" of the past 1500 years.
--Publisher?s Weekly

"Chesterton's most enduring book.... Charming."
--World



From the Hardcover edition.

Orthodoxy is the trunk of the tree from which all the other branches of Chesterton grow. It is a masterpiece of rhetoric, it has never been out of print since it was first published in 1908, and it is simply one of the best books written in the 20th century. If you only read one book by Chesterton well then shame on you but if you only read one book by Chesterton, it has to be Orthodoxy. But don t compound your shame by thinking you can get away with reading it only once. Or only twice. The first problem is that every sentence in the book makes you stop and think, which makes you lose the thread of the main argument. Every act is an act of self sacrifice. Think about that. Or, Death is more tragic than death by starvation. Or, The mere pursuit of health always leads to something unhealthy. Or, Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to suit the vision. Progress does mean (just now) that we are always changing the vision. Or this one: Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly. Besides the fact that almost every sentence in the book is a show-stopper, the next problem is that the next sentence, or even the next word is never what you expect which makes you lose the thread of the main argument. A madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason. When you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more. We do not need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship by the press. And there s a third problem: when you read the book a second time, completely different sentences will jump off the page at you, leading you to conclude that Chesterton has somehow managed to re-write the book since the first time you read it. Which makes you lose the thread of the main argument. So, what is the main argument that seems so hard to keep a hold of in this book? It is this: that the central Christian theology (sufficiently summarized in the Apostles Creed) is the best root of energy and sound ethics. Simple. Chesterton begins the book by describing a book he didn t write, a romance about a man who sets sail from England in order to discover a new land. He accidentally gets turned around and returns to England, thinking it is the new place he had sought to discover, and finds himself looking at familiar things as if seeing them for the first time. Chesterton had intended to write that story as a way of illustrating what he perceived to be one of life s greatest riddles and challenges: How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it? But more importantly, Chesterton s unwritten story of romantic discovery is a metaphor for his own spiritual odyssey. He had set out to discover a new heresy that he could call his own. But when he had put the finishing touches on it he discovered that it was traditional Christianity, or orthodoxy: I have kept my truths but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine. When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom. --Dale Ahlquist, American Chesterton Society --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

If you're searching for answers, READ THIS BOOK.
bobbalouie
G.K. Chesterton has a great sense of humour, a wonderful style of prose, and is clearly a most amazing thinker and a uniquely brilliant Christian.
Truth Seeker
The way he talks about fairy tales especially caught my attention and really made me think.
Odhren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

217 of 225 people found the following review helpful By David Graham on July 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
Portly, fun loving, witty G.K. Chesterton decided to write this book as a companion volume to his book HERETICS. Since HERETICS had criticised contemporary philosophies, ORTHODOXY was written to present an alternative viewpoint, and is therefore both affirmative in tone and autobiographical in many places. A sampling of his chapter titles gives some idea of Chesterton's sense of fun as well as his unusual approach to the matter of Christianity. Chapter one is "In Defense of Everything Else" (one pictures Chesterton with a whimsical, impish smile on his face as he wrote this). There are also chapters on "The Suicide of Thought", "The Ethics of Elfland" (a really superb chapter), "The Maniac", and "The Paradoxes of Christianity". In this easily readable book (only 160 pages in the small paperback edition), Chesterton shows that theological reflections and philosophical ruminations need be neither boring nor incomprehensible. This was jolly good fun to read, being both funny and intellectually stimulating. Highly recommended.
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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is Chesterton's defence of orthodox Christianity. It is partly autobiographical, in the sense that Chesterton describes various insights into the nature of reality, and various puzzles about reality, and then shows how (to his astonishment) the Christian faith accounts for the insights and answers the puzzles.
The following quote expresses this idea:
"This, therefore, is, in conclusion, my reason for accepting the religion and not merely the scattered and secular truths out of the religion. I do it because the thing has not merely told this truth or that truth, but has revealed itself as a truth-telling thing. All other philosophies say the things that plainly seem to be true; only this philosophy has again and again said the thing that does not seem to be true, but is true. Alone of all creeds it is convincing where it is not attractive; it turns out to be right, like my father in the garden."
But don't just take my word for it! You can read it online from the G.K.Chesterton web page and then buy the book!
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107 of 119 people found the following review helpful By David Marshall on October 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Orthodoxy is written for the poet and the child in each of us (The latter being that part of us Jesus said can inherit the Kingdom). Orthodoxy is, at the same time, one of the wisest, and funniest, books I have ever read; almost up to the level of Everlasting Man. It seems to me he does give a logically challenging, if rather whimsical, argument for the Christian faith here. And having read many of the most famous skeptics of our time, his argument remains no less timely, powerful, and suggestive.
How do I explain the reaction of the reader below, then, who appears intelligent, but finds "Little that is intellectually bearable" in this book, and could not even read it through once without throwing it down in disgust? For one thing, Chesterton's approach is not scientific, but psychological. For those to whom science is the only god, a little prior reading might be worthwhile -- John Polkinghome or Hugh Ross on evidences for the Creator in modern cosmology, for example. Let Scott Peck's People of The Lie search your heart. Or even try my book, Jesus and the Religions of Man, which offers empirical evidence of a more historical nature for the truth of the Christian claims. Let the facts presented in these books take the edge of your arrogance.
Then, maybe, go for a walk through Mt. Rainier National Park when the huckleberries are reddening in the fall, or skin dive in Hawaii. Or walk through a dark forest on a clear night when the stars are out. Observe and wonder. Become a child again. Laugh at your certainties and prejudices a little. Then try reading this book again.
"(Skepticism) discredits supernatural stories that have some foundation, simply by telling natural stories that have no foundation.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Love this book. Chesterton is sort of the Mark Twain of apologetics. Reading it I found that I was laughing one minute and seriously blown away the next. I am not a Christian, but this book gave me hope that maybe there is a place for a logic and faith based Christianity which is both orthodox and stronger than a fearful fundamentalism. I like the fact that Chesterton opposes his critics while for the most part honestly respecting them as intelligent people. It's the sign of a man secure in his ideas.
I would recommend this book to any other failed pagans out there. Would also be a good read for any agnostic interested in the role of imagination in simple, thoughtful living.
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79 of 89 people found the following review helpful By William C. Sain on September 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" and Lewis' "Mere Christianity" are classics of contemporary Christian apologetics. Both write to a similar audience, namely, secular academics. Lewis' appeal was broader, however, for he was reaching out to those people influenced or educated by these academics. Consequently, these books are full of reason and logic but are devoid of Bible quotes. This might dismay some fundamentalists, but this type of apologetic is absolutely necessary. Just as a Muslim will not convince a Christian regarding Islam by quoting the Qu'ran, so, in most cases, a Christian will not convert a secular academic by quoting the Bible. The appeal must be made on common ground, in this case, reason and logic. In this regard, Chesterton succeeds.

That being said, I give the book only 3 stars because of his rambling, time-sensitive style. It is easy for an American reading in the 21st century to become completely lost in Chesterton's quips and references to late-modernity intellectuals.

Lewis' broader appeal makes him more accessible to Chesterton, so I recommend "Mere Christianity" over "Orthodoxy" to the average 21st century American, whereas I recommend "Orthodoxy" to those who are educated in late 19th and early 20th-century intellectualism.

Both books are useful for Christians in developing apologetic skills and for non-Christians, especially seculars, in understanding a traditional, intellectual, and non-fundamentalist brand of Christianity.
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