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Socrates in the City: Conversations on "Life, God, and Other Small Topics" Hardcover – October 13, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Eric Metaxas' ''Bonheoffer'':
''In Hitler's Germany, a Lutheran pastor chooses resistance and pays with his life . . . Eric Metaxas tells Bonhoeffer's story with passion and theological sophistication, often challenging revisionist accounts that make Bonhoeffer out to be a 'humanist' or ethicist for whom religious doctrine was easily disposable . . . Metaxas reminds us that there are forms of religion--respectable, domesticated, timid--that may end up doing the devil's work for him.'' --The Wall Street Journal on Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Eric Metaxas is a bestselling author whose biographies, children's books, and works of popular apologetics have been translated into multiple languages around the world. He has been frequently featured as a cultural commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel and has been featured on many radio programs, including NPR's Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation, The Hugh Hewitt Show, and The Bob Grant Show.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (October 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780525952558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952558
  • ASIN: 0525952551
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I discovered Eric Metaxas's writing through his biography, "Bonhoeffer," one of my favorite non-fiction titles in 2010. He was thorough in his details and research, but managed to keep the narrative interesting and fast-moving--at least for anyone with the slightest interest in how a one-time pacifist and theologian responded to the events of World War II.

Without knowing much about this latest work, I picked up a copy and discovered other sides to Metaxas and his writing. "Socrates in the City" captures on page the deep thinking and humor of events that took place on a regular basis in Manhattan, and in a few other places as well, gatherings of those who wanted to explore life's tough questions, particularly when it comes to God's place in it all. The book draws from a cross-section of the gatherings' speakers, men such as N.T. Wright, Charles Colson, and Peter Kreeft, who address issues such as human suffering, science and religion, and the source of evil. Each section comes with a conversational, punchy, and erudite introduction from Metaxas, followed by the speaker's words, and then a Q&A section from the time of the event.

Is this a complete defense of religion, God, the fall of man, or any other subject addressed? No. But it is a great way of stirring the heart and mind, of raising questions without always giving easy answers, of urging the modern reader to get curious and even get angry--if that's what it takes to push into a deeper understanding of what it means to be a human created in the image of the Creator.

Metaxas shows a lot of wit and humor, something I didn't expect, and his guest speakers come across as intellectuals who are not too far removed from real life. There are answers here. There are questions.
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Format: Hardcover
Socrates in the City sponsors lectures by authors about 'meaningful' topics. This is collection of some of the best lectures, including a personal favorite the Rev.John Polkinghorne - a physicists who became and Anglican minister. As you can probably imagine, he has some interesting thoughts on the relationship between God and Science.

The book preserves the 'form' of the lectures - in fact it is something of a transcript of them - the host introduces the speaker, the speaker speaks, and then people in the audience ask questions. I have attended some lectures and have found them stimulating and fascinating, but I didn't think it would transfer well to a book - after all, movie scripts are usually pretty tedious to read compared to watching a movie. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the form transfers very well to book format. I was especially happy that the questions and answers were included as they helped expand on the topic.

There are few 'hard answers' here, but plenty of stimulating, mind broadening questions.
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Format: Hardcover
I just picked this book up from the library and was excited to see Eric Metaxas on the front cover. His book on Bonhoeffer was really well done and I had not heard of Socrates in the City. Basically, the book is a display of the actual forum that is held in NYC for writers, speakers, and philosophers on the bigger questions of 'life, God, and other small topics.' Included in the book are philsopher Peter Kreeft, Christian apologist Os Guinness, theologian and scientist Alister McGrath and the well-known NT scholar N.T. Wright. Each section starts with a pithy, often comical introduction by Eric Metaxas on the importance of the topic discussed and a brief intro about the person speaking. Following the talk is a brief section of Q and A that addresses some of the more contested issues in the conversation. By framing the book in this way, the author and editors have really done a service to the reader. For one, they have given the readers the best of the material that has come out of Socrates in the City. Secondly, they have provided follow up questions that spark some of the more contentious debate points in the prior conversation.

Some of the highlights for me in the book were the section on the Good Life by Charles Colson. At one point, Colson says, "The object of life is the maturing of the soul, and you reflect that maturing of the soul when you care more for other people than yourself" (173). After seeing the futility of laying back and counting up the golf games you play when you retire, Colson points out the banality of a life of ease and self-fulfillment. His point is well taken in an age obsessed with self-satisfaction at every turn. Next, I thought the talk by Fr.
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Format: Hardcover
"The conditions...in which we live deprive us of the possibility of understanding life." - Tolstoy

Socrates In The City is a book written for people who don't have the time to read it. I certainly didn't. And yet, I invite, nay, *urge* you to pick it up. This book is for you, wealthy businessman, wondering what else might matter beyond shareholder management... and also you, dilettante of the intellect, interested to know how all the disjointed data you've collected might mean something for life ...and this book is also for you, life-long committed follower of Christ who spent most of her life disparaging reason.

Busyness, dilettantism, faith conflated with feeling: these are all conditions that deprive us of the possibility of understanding life. Join the humorous Metaxas and his motley crew of deep thinkers to ask the big questions. You'll feel like you were there on the night each talk was given, and you'll feel welcome. It's likely, too, that you'll walk away with more questions than answers, an arrangement befitting of Socrates' inquisitive legacy.
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