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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent edition with two minor flaws
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress. Hendrickson Christian Classics. ISBN 156563134X. (Due to Amazon's tendency to post reviews of one edition of a book on another edition's product page, make sure you're viewing the product page for ISBN 156563134X.)

This review focuses on the edition only, as the Pilgrim's Progress itself needs no review. The hardcover...
Published on February 19, 2007 by Arthad

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42 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful theology, incomplete allegory
The Pilgrim's Progress is perhaps one of the most enduring allegories ever written; it has set the form for several more recent works (Hannah Hurnard's "Hind's Feet on High Places," most notably). Bunyan's work was, for 18th century Christians, a companion to the Bible. The theology is a perfect example of Reformation thought, and were it not for a major flaw in the...
Published on August 16, 2002 by Ben Barczi


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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent edition with two minor flaws, February 19, 2007
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress. Hendrickson Christian Classics. ISBN 156563134X. (Due to Amazon's tendency to post reviews of one edition of a book on another edition's product page, make sure you're viewing the product page for ISBN 156563134X.)

This review focuses on the edition only, as the Pilgrim's Progress itself needs no review. The hardcover binding is handsome and tasteful, and looks well on the shelf. The typeface is very readable. It would in fact be a perfect inexpensive edition of a great allegory, if not for two relatively minor flaws.

The first is no "Note on the Text," or even the name of an editor (of this volume; I believe the series may have a general editor). From what edition was this text edited? What other editions were consulted? What is the history of the text of the Pilgrim's Progress? A Note on the Text wouldn't have been much trouble, and would have raised this edition up a notch or two.

The second is the glossing of words such as "I trow" which the unknown editor considers difficult for modern English readers. Glossing should properly be done either with footnotes or in the margins, but in this edition, the glosses are in brackets immediately following the word glossed. E.g. ". . . I trow [believe] . . ." I find the procedure annoying; other readers might find it helpful. And if glosses in brackets make a great work of English literature accessible to more readers, then I suppose the editor is justified.

Other than that, it's an excellent edition. I commend Hendrickson for bringing out their line of "Christian Classics" in handsome bindings for very low prices.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to read!, February 14, 2001
By 
Max Kennedy (Covington, Ky United States) - See all my reviews
This is a Christian classic that is my favorite of all Christian works, bar none (except the bible of course). Possibly the second most published work outside the bible, it has been highly regarded by many, and was once widely taught in the schools.
I wish my school had taught it. I first read this book a year ago, and I feel as if I've been deprived all my life.
Pilgrim's Progress is written by a mature Christian, with insights that you will not get from anyone other than a mature Christian. Few people are capable of writing such a book.
And the book shines with great quotes. Two of my favorites are:
What means this? The Interpreter answered, 'This is Christ, who continually with the oil of grace maintains the work already begun in the heart, by the means of which, notwithstanding what the Devil can do, the souls of his people prove gracious still. AND IN THAT THOU sawest that the man stood behind the wall to maintain the fire, this is to teach thee that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of grace is maintained in the soul.
And this: Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech. 'What a fool', quoth he, 'am I , thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty. I have a key in my bosom, called promise, that will (I am persuaded) open any lock in Doubting-Castle.'
A key called promise.. great thoughts.
There are many editions to Pilgrim's Progress, and I haven't found one I am happy with yet. Try to get one with the original wording, and the references to passages in the bible. Many versions delete the references to passages in the bible, which are, of course, the most useful to Christians and of least use to the world.
ISBN 0140430040 appears to be true to the original wording of the classic. On the other hand, it lacks the biblical passage references, chapter divisions, and is a paperback with (quite frankly) an ugly cover.
ISBN 0785242228 is a modern spelling version. However comparing it to the original shows that a lot more than just the spelling has been changed, and it doesn't read nearly as well. This is a nicely bound hardback with quality paper and chapter divisions, and some (but not all) the references to the bible. Character names are annoyingly abbrievated throughout book.
ISBN 1557480990 is a children's version of Pilgrim's Progress. While a children's book, it remains true to the original and is worth getting. The illustrations are great.
There are also many etext versions of Pilgrim's Progress that include the original text and all the references the text makes to passages in the bible.
I recommend you take your time reading the book, and reflect on what is being said. Also, if you have a full version of this book, with the references to passages in the bible, you could use it as part of a bible study.
BTW: the phrase 'vanity fair' comes from this book.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not Dante's Inferno, July 21, 2001
In contrast to Dante, Bunyan fills his allegory with real people, not just stereotypes - or even archetypes. Though his characters have names like "Honest," "Feeble-mind," and "Ignorance," they come across as real people given a nickname. The names apply to some extent, of course, but not to the point of making caricatures out of the characters.
This volume contains parts I and II of Pilgrim's progress. The first part concerns the journey of a pilgrim named "Christian," while the second describes the journey of his wife, Christiana. Both start from the City of Destruction and both encounter many of the same obstacles - the Slough of Despond, the Vanity Fair, the Castle Doubt - before reaching the gates of the Celestial City. Other than that, their journeys are rather different, for Christian travels on his own, with a bit of help here and there, and with one or another traveling companion, but his progress is almost entirely his own. Christiana, by contrast, travels as part of an ever growing company, who support one another and who are defended by one or two powerful champions.
You never lose sight of the allegory, but this work is not a mere tract. The story itself and the characters entertain - even today.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For All the Sojourners, January 24, 2001
By 
This review is from: The Pilgrim's Progress (Paperback)
This book is essential reading for any Christian who wants to "fight the good fight" and to finish the race well. The excellent thing about this book is that it helps to give the big picture of life and what small events that happen in life can mean in the scheme of things. The first book is about about a man named Christian (you can see that the allegory isn't too hard to understand) and the things that happen to him after he starts on the journey on the road that leads to Heaven. We see how with each step and misstep along the way Christian has the option of continuing on the road to Heaven or giving up, and that helps us readers to realize that the same thing is true in our own lives. Another thing I really like about this book is how even when Christian totally goes off the path and in the wrong direction, God extends grace to him and he is able to return once again to the road to Heaven. The second book is about Christian's wife and family, and is also worth a read. One thing to note though, unless you are extremely comfortable reading old English (which I am not), it would be a good idea to get the modern language version instead of the original; because I read the original and there were several times when I thought about how I probably would prefer a more readable, modern translation. But whichever version you choose, make sure you read this book. It will help you to thoughtfully consider the here and now and also your final destination.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You've heard of it... now is a great time to read it!, September 7, 2006
By 
Bradford Smith (Laguna Beach, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Everyone should read Pilgrim's Progress. I read it for the first time last week. It is a book about a journey by the main character, Christian. It will also set you on your own journey through the Bible. John Bunyan writes that his allegory contains "nothing but sound and honest Gospel strains" and he includes references to Bible verses on nearly every page. I found it easy to understand Christian's journey by looking up these verses in my Bible as I came to them. By doing this, Bunyan was giving me fresh guidance because I had not read many of these verses recently. The references also allow me to keep Bunyan accountable for his words by comparing them to Scripture.

Reading a book is a journey in itself, especially when it is read along with the Bible. It was also a literal journey for me because I was reading Pilgrim's Progress while on an airplane. In one sense I was meeting John Bunyan for the first time through his book while at the same time my flight from Los Angeles to London was taking me closer to Bunyan literally. On City Street in London is a cemetery called Bunhill Fields which is full of non-conformist preachers (Puritans and others who severed their ties from the Anglican church establish by Charles II). This is where John Bunyan is buried. Last night when I finished the book I came across a related quote by Charles Spurgeon:

Go into Bunhill-fields, and stand by the memorial of John Bunyan, and you will say, "Ah! there lies the head that contained the brain which thought out that wondrous dream of the Pilgrim's Progress from the City of Destruction to the Better land. There lies the finger that wrote those wondrous lines which depict the story of him who came at last to the land Beulah, and waded through the flood, and entered into the celestial city."

So the day after finishing Pilgrim's Progress I took Spurgeon's advice and went into Bunhill Fields to see Bunyan's tomb (as well as John Owens). It is ironic that a man whose life and thoughts so greatly followed and conformed to the Word of God would receive the reputation of non-conformist. It's clear from the story where Bunyan's loyalties lie:

Ignorance: What be good thoughts respecting ourselves?

Christian: Such as agree with the Word of God.

Ignorance: When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the Word of God?

Christian: When we pass the same judgment upon ourselves which the Word passes...

Ignorance: What are good thoughts concerning God?

Christian: Even, as I have said concerning ourselves, when our thoughts of God do agree with what the Word saith of him.

I appreciate Bunyan's regard for the truth. He clearly shows that we all are born into the City of Destruction wearing nothing but rags. He insists that the only road to the Celestrial City is through the Narrow Gate. He portrays the progression of our sanctification as a grueling journey, but one that is nevertheless fueled by God's grace. The true nature of worldliness is portrayed in Vanity Fayre, Satan's schemes are encountered and explained, and numerous actions, attitudes, and feelings are examined.

Pilgrim's Progress is about the ultimate journey of life of pursuing a pure heart through faith in Jesus. By modeling faithfulness and perseverance, its characters illustrate the trials and tribulations by which God works His good in us. This book is a classic and I hope it remains in print for a long time so many more generations can learn and be encouraged by it.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the effort, July 25, 2002
By 
kwill10 "kwill10" (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
"The Pilgrim's Progress" is a classic Christian text written by John Bunyan. Written in an allegorical format, the two-part story focuses first on "Christian", then on his wife "Christiana" and sons. Convicted of their own sinfulness, the characters set out on the journey to salvation at the Heavenly Gate. Characters such as "Honesty", "Great-Heart", and "Faithful" aid the pilgrims on their journey, whereas they face trials from the Slough of Despond, Vanity Fair, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Getting through the book takes some work, less because of the story and more because of the depth of the allegory. Also, the dialogues between characters regarding salvation and righteousness often require a careful read. However, the story is exceptionally creative and thought-provoking, and the lessons that can be gleaned from it are timeless and worth the effort that needs to be expended. I recommend reading this one at least twice.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bunyan vs. The World, October 24, 2000
John Bunyan confronts the world head on in his allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. Using the journey, conversations, actions, and interactions of his main character, Christian, Bunyan draws contrasts between true Christianity and the vast array of opposing philosophies and opinions offered by the rest of the world. Each contrast demonstrates the superiority of Christianity to the perspectives and beliefs of the fallen world.
The story is told through the use of a narrative device. That devise is that of the narrator himself recounting his dream in which Christian makes his way to the Celestial City. The device serves to put the action of the story in context as well as a way break up the story into manageable segments. A key phrase often used in service of this device is: "then I saw in my dream". The narrator's dream begins in the City of Destruction; which is Christian's homeland. As Christian Journeys to the celestial city, he encounters many people and trials. Each one is representative of various worldly, or otherworldly philosophies or beliefs.
Bunyan has in all these encounters faced the problem of the truth of Christianity. If Christianity is true, how come there are all these alternative ideas in the world. Bunyan successfully exposes the weaknesses of the alternative ideas by refuting them one by one in the context of his pilgrimage allegory. Through his characters, Bunyan agrees with the apostle Paul. His argument is that our best weapon as Christians (once we have accepted Christ as our Savior and realized that only his grace is sufficient to save us) is to keep our eyes on God and the things of heaven (Colossians 3:2). All the arguments presented by the characters contrary to Christianity in this book add up to meaningless noise compared to the word of God and the truth expressed therein.
Bunyan takes great care to steer clear of the idea that Christians are somehow intrinsically better than other people. He is careful to express that only God's grace working within them makes them capable of withstanding the trials of life. He demonstrates time and again that Christian suffers from the same weaknesses as normal people and is therefore prone to failure. It is only the love and assistance of God that allow Christian to reach his destination.
God's grace and God's grace alone are sufficient to save Christian from the perils he encounters in his journey. Any time Christian attempts to do something of his own accord, his plans go horribly wrong and God must rescue him.
The second part is about the travels and trials of Christian's wife: Christiana. It too is very instructive and entertaining.
Pilgrim's Progress is insightful as an allegory. It is instructive and would be useful reading for anyone currently alive and making there way through our current sojourn or "pilgrimage" here on earth. Anyone going to the real Celestial City would profit from taking a glance at this book as they walk along the narrow path. I recommend it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful and beautiful reprint, February 1, 2006
By 
Peter Hyatt (Orrington, Maine) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
worth the value of the print and binding alone, this edition not only has the Pilgrim's Progress (with illustrations) in large print (yeah, no glasses!) but the OTHER works of this brilliant man, including his last sermon preached!

Masterbooks has done us all a wonderful favor. Read the book that Spurgeon read over 100 times in his life. Read it to your children and let them grasp the beauty of the language, and the timelessness of the message.

I think there is no other book in the world where the reader takes the place of the primary character and interprets all other characters as people in his own life...aunts, uncles, friends, former friends, ministers, phoneys, givers, takers, and so on. Read your life story through the brilliant pen of the old tinker from England. No wonder that this was the 2nd most selling book in the English language for generations!

Introduce this to your children via DVD, "Dangerous Journey". My kids love to be read to, and to watch the DVD, chapter by chapter. Enjoy! Thank you to the publishers!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and human parable. A story for all times., October 17, 2004
By 
frumiousb "frumiousb" (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The first time that I encountered Christian and his pilgrimage was as a preface and a family favorite in the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Unfortunately, it was not until twenty-something years later that I actually got around to reading the book itself. If I were you, I would not wait that long.

The first part of the current combined book appeared in 1678. Bunyan, a nonconformist Protestant minister who was imprisoned for preaching without a license, wrote at least the first part of the book in jail. The second part was first published in 1684. It is likely the most popular allegory ever written, and is still one of the best selling books of all time.

What makes it so popular? The obvious key to its popularity is its simple, crisp style. Even accounting for the language changes between the seventeenth century and now, it is not a struggle to read Progress and it flows well for the modern reader. Although the book is allegory, the characters are full of little realistic details that make them feel quite human. Incidentally, I was reading this book as I was walking some of the old pilgrimage trails of Europe and it was interesting to me how vivid and applicable his version of the pilgrimage experience is. The Slow of Despair rang remarkably true, as did characters such as Talkative and Mr. Worldly Wisdom.

The Oxford University Press edition is bound with a scholarly introduction which is, for a change, worth reading. It also came with explanatory notes and a glossary which were helpful for the modern reader who is not familiar with the everyday language of the period.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical heart searching Christianity., October 12, 1999
By A Customer
Pilgrim's Progress has been accepted by the world as a classic piece of literature. However, just as Handel's Messiah is recognised as a magnificent work without people really appreciating the message it brings so Pilgrim's Progress can suffer from its own fame. Here we have the stories of believers moving towards heaven. They have ups and downs. They suffer pain and experience pleasure. All the time the christian reader is being led forward into experimental practical christian avenues. Despair, doubt, backsliding, the temptations of the world, helps from above and support from others on the Way all make this work so vital and relevant. Both parts, Christian's journey and Christiana's are wonderful in their own ways. For the past four years I have preferred the second part. Read it every year at least once. If you must read only one other book next to your Bible let it be this one, (Or Thomas Watson on All things for Good) but do read it all. A classic that is beyond review.
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Pilgrim's Progress (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature)
Pilgrim's Progress (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) by John Bunyan (Paperback - December 5, 1999)
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