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


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Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series) + The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing (Writers' Palette Book)
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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: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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

About the Author

Gene Edward Veith Jr. (PhD, University of Kansas) is provost and professor of literature at Patrick Henry College and the director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary. He has been a columnist for World magazine and TableTalk, and is the author of a number of noted books on Christianity and culture, including God at Work.

Marvin Olasky (PhD, American Culture, University of Michigan) is the editor-in-chief of World Magazine. He has been interviewed numerous times by the national media as the developer of the concepts of compassionate conservatism and biblically objective journalism and is the author of twenty books.


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Customer Reviews

This is about the third book I've read by Gene Veith and I enjoy his clear writing style very much.
Anonymous
This book is provided to our teachers to help them identify and select literature suitable for Christian students in the classroom.
Charles Watts
The book also explains how literature has changed from the Middle Ages to the present, but in an entertaining way.
A. Wolverton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on June 4, 2000
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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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Bill on August 3, 2001
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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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Wolverton VINE VOICE on July 19, 2001
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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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mark McNair (mcnair@netten.net) on June 19, 1998
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lindsay on March 5, 2012
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on June 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gene Veith's goal is to promote reading with discernment, and to get people to experience the pleasure and value of reading. The opening chapter explains why reading has always been important to Christianity (from a biblical perspective). He gives good examples of narrative, fiction, Non-fiction, fantasy,poetry, and more that he would consider to be redeeming literature that teaches good lessons. He also delves into literature from different eras, such as the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, the modern and the post-modern eras. I especially enjoyed his treatments of Faustus, Dante, and Crime and Punishment. Recommended for lovers of good books and for those who should love books more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Famolari VINE VOICE on February 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Reading and the ability to read with discernment are probably the most important things an educated person and a Christian can do. Reading allows us to enter other worlds and learn about cultures and historical times we have no chance of visiting. However, reading should be done with selectivity and understanding.

Veith presents a comprehensive view of the forms and history of literature, in a small easily readable book. He discusses nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, explaining what constitutes good or great literature in each category. From there he goes to discussion of tragedy, comedy, realism, and fantasy. I found the discussion fascinating. I'd read the Greek tragedies, but I hadn't put together the way the Greek rules for tragedy and comedy were melded into the tragedy and comedy we are familiar with today through the intermediary of the Christian mystery plays.

The final section for me was worth reading the book. Here Veith discusses literature through the ages from the Middle Ages through the enlightenment and romanticism to modernism and postmodernism. These sections put literature into the context of history and show how the forms have evolved. I hadn't really understood modernism and post modernism before in the contest of their evolution, but now I feel comfortable with the terms.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves to read. Although Veith clearly shows the relationship between the Bible and literature, this book is not strictly for Christians. The history of literature is tied in with the Bible and the significant role religion played in history. It's important to understand this connection in order to appreciate the various forms of great literature from the Greeks to the present.

I reviewed this book for Crossway Publishing.
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