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Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series) Paperback – September 15, 1990

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Practical help for prayer
Praying the Bible
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Editorial Reviews

Review

''Thoroughly enjoyable and thoroughly literate -- a magnificent blending of history, literature, and theology that will be welcomed by professionals and laity alike.'' --Wayne Martindale, professor of English, Wheaton College

''This book should raise significantly the cultural level of evangelicalism.'' --Edward E. Ericson Jr., professor emeritus of English, Calvin College

''Dr. Veith proves himself once again to be a knowledgeable guide through the landscape of the written word.'' --Luci Shaw, author of God in the Dark

''The scope of this project is impressive.'' --Leland Ryken, author of The Christian Imagination --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

Review

“Veith has written on important topics with his usual clarity, good sense, organizing ability, and comprehensiveness. The scope of this project is impressive.”
Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English, Wheaton College

“What a superb resource this is! It resonates with profound perceptions of how good literature works to enrich and illuminate us. Dr. Veith proves himself once again to be a knowledgeable guide through the landscape of the written word.”
Luci Shaw, author, God in the Dark and Polishing the Petoskey Stone

Reading Between the Lines is thoroughly enjoyable and thoroughly literate—a magnificent blending of history, literature, and theology that will be welcomed by professionals and laity alike.”
Wayne Martindale, Professor of English, Wheaton College; author, Beyond the Shadowlands: C. S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell

“Veith makes it clear that the joys of reading can be deep joys of the type which can enliven our souls. This book should raise significantly the cultural level of evangelicalism.”
Edward E. Ericson Jr., professor emeritus of English, Calvin College

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Product Details

  • Series: Turning Point Christian Worldview Series (Book 11)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; Second Printing edition (September 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891075828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891075820
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is about the third book I've read by Gene Veith and I enjoy his clear writing style very much. This book has a helpful overview of the main genres of literature and their place in the Christian worldview. The real gems in this book are Veith's discussions of Fiction and Fantasy. There would certainly be crossover into the realm of filmmaking for the thoughtful Christian screenwriter. I also found the end chapters on the development of literature throughout history, and how Christians interacted and critiqued the errors of their day a helpful corrective to much of the existential Christian nonsense which tries to pass itself off as "Christian literature" these days. My only disappointment is Veith's repeated use of Madeline L'Engle as a positive example of a Christian author. Certainly, she has some spiritual overtones to her books, but I don't think the worldview she presents could be called distinctly "Christian". The other slight criticism I have is that I would have liked to see Veith give more discussion to developing a model for how Christians can interact with their culture through literature. He kind of assumes too much here.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only problem with this book is that it has the wrong title. It shouldn't be called a "Christian" guide to literature, but simply a guide to literature. I heartily recommend this book to both my Christian and non-Christian friends.
Mr. Veith clearly explains the importance of literature in our modern society. His description of the different literary forms gave me a new appreciation for some genres that in the past I had avoided. This book is important to both the avid reader as well as some one who would like to develop an appreciation for literature. It is most appropriate for anyone who has an interest in literature, not just Christians.
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Format: Paperback
We live in a time which allows book lovers access to a tremendous amount of literature, but we often need help in sorting through the junk to get to the nuggets of gold. Veith has done an outstanding job of teaching the lover of reading what to look for (and look out for) in books. The author explores how to seek out quality works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in helping the reader develop a sense of good literary taste. The book also explains how literature has changed from the Middle Ages to the present, but in an entertaining way. Veith's writing style makes sometimes confusing literary concepts easily understood. A very enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
This thoroughly interesting overview of the history of literature and how it is a reflection of the prevailing worldviews of the times of the authors. It also addresses how Christians in each age have used literary forms to address the false worldviews of their time with the truth of the gospel message.
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Format: Paperback
Gene Veith wrote Reading Between the Lines to help people be better readers. Good literature is not merely a matter of taste; there are objective criteria for judging a book's merits (i.e. clarity, elements of style, etc.). Veith argues that reading a good book that you vehemently disagree with may be more beneficial than reading a bad book with which you agree.

Veith's book is organized into four sections. The preface (chapters one and two) describe his purpose in writing, and the value of reading books critically. The next section explores the forms of literature (non-fiction, fiction and poetry) and describes the elements of each. This section gives a fairly basic introduction to each form and describes the characteristics of good literature in each category. Next Veith describes modes of literature (tragedy and comedy, realism and fantasy). In the final section he describes the traditions of literature (the Middle Ages and the Reformation, the Enlightenment and Romanticism and Modernism and Post-modernism). This brief historical overview of literature provides critical insight into the objectives of literature in each era (including our own). The final chapter talks about the role of writers and publishers in producing good literature and the role of readers in purposefully reading good literature. Veith urges us to stop wasting our reading on literary distractions but to read the good books (which in turn encourages publishers and writers to produce good books by creating a market for them).

Reading Between the Lines was first published in 1990. This is not a revision or second edition, it is a new printing. At times the text feels dated. Neil Postman is spoken of as a living author (he past away ten years ago).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be not only dull but repetitious. I will admit Veith has a clear writing style, but his clearness edges on dumbing the content down. I am a Creative Writing and History double major in college, and grew up with a classical education, so I know a well written book when I read one. I have to put this particular one down every few paragraphs to blink my eyes before I continue or re-read certain lines to ascertain whether he really did just say something in such a way that it is rendered incorrect (e.g. his description of the writing process, from the point of view of a fiction writer). Certain of his claims are plainly ludicrous. Veith writes for the new Christian, I think, for the Christian that does not believe in reading fiction or any book but the Bible. He continues to reaffirm his point with the same proofs that it is okay to venture in to the realm of literature without one's soul being in immortal danger, but by the ninetieth time in only the fourth chapter, I have had enough.

Reading Between the Lines may be a helpful book for those who need it, but for someone in a literature class or who enjoys clear yet informative and non-repetitious prose, I do not suggest this book.
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