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Sacred and Secular Scriptures: A Catholic Approach to Literature (Erasmus Institute Books) Hardcover – March 30, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"This book is a welcome contribution. . . . " -- Choice, September 2005

"[It] is a hugely ambitious work, but it never comes across as strained or overreaching. . . [Boyle's] own synthesis is masterful." -- Commonweal, August 12, 2005

About the Author

NICHOLAS BOYLE is a Fellow of Magdalene College and Professor of German Literary and Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge.


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Product Details

  • Series: Erasmus Institute Books
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Notre Dame Pr (March 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268021783
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268021788
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,975,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Augustiner on February 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Boyle’s ideas about sacred scripture and secular imaginative literature are based strongly on the teachings of his Catholic faith, and as such this book will be of great interest to Catholics interested in understanding the different dimensions of written literature and how they compare. But the book will also be of interest to anyone who shares with Boyle the conviction that certain facts are simply true, and that this truth transcends whatever medium is used to communicate them. This conviction might be said to be the premise behind Boyle’s investigation: If there is objective truth, and this truth can be communicated both by sacred and secular literature, why distinguish the two? Is there anything in the nature of the one such that it really differs from the other?

In the first half of the book, Boyle takes us through a series of influential modern approaches to scripture in an attempt to understand what scripture is. His method is straightforward and simple: he collects what is useful from authors such as Schleiermacher, Hegel, Emmanuel Levinas, and Paul Ricoeur, and he discards whatever is spurious, as judged by the standard of Catholic belief. This at first seems like intellectual cheating – Why not move outside the protective wall of your faith?, one thinks – but as the chapters go by, one appreciates the incredible effort Boyle has made to delineate that wall in precise detail, and to study and understand what lies on both sides of it. A passive-minded believer he isn’t.
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