A Christian philosophy of literature begins with the same agenda of issues that any philosophy of literature addresses. Its distinctive feature is that it relates these issues to the Christian faith.

— Leland Ryken

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In Puritan thinking, the Christian life was a heroic venture, requiring a full quota of energy.

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The Puritans' sense of priorities in life was one of their greatest strengths.

Putting God first and valuing everything else in relation to God was a recurrent Puritan theme.

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The oldest theory of art belongs to the Greeks, who regarded art as an imitation (mimesis) of reality. The strength of that theory is that it explains the way in which art takes its materials from real life.

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William Perkins said, “The end of a man’s calling is not to gather riches for himself…but to serve God in the serving of man, and in the seeking the good of all men.

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No group of people has been more unjustly maligned in the twentieth century than the Puritans. As a result, we approach the Puritans with an enormous baggage of culturally ingrained prejudice.

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Readers should aspire to what is excellent.

They should refuse to read a substitute Bible. They should want a Bible that calls them to their higher selves - or to something higher than their current level of attainment.

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Literature takes reality and human experience as its starting point, transforms it by means of the imagination, and sends readers back to life with renewed understanding of it and zest for it because of their excursions into a purely imaginary realm.

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The goal of Bible translation is: be transparent to the original text - to see as clearly as possible what the biblical authors actually wrote.

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Stressing the God-centered life can lead to an otherworldly withdrawal from everyday earthly life.

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The secularization of Western culture was accompanied by the elevation of art to the position of a substitute religion to replace Christianity.

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For the Puritans, the God-centered life meant making the quest for spiritual and moral holiness the great business of life.

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When you think about Puritanism, you must begin by getting rid of the slang term 'Puritanism' as applied to Victorian religious hypocrisy. This does not apply to seventeenth-century Puritanism.

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About Leland Ryken

Quotes 23 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday 1942

There is a quiet revolution going on in the study of the Bible.

At its center is a growing awareness that the Bible is a work of literature and that the methods of literary scholarship are a necessary part of any complete study of the Bible.

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Literature incarnates its meanings as concretely as possible.

The knowledge that literature gives of a subject is the kind of knowledge that is obtained by (vicariously) living through an experience.

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The Puritans were obsessed with the dangers of wealth.

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My claim is simply that the literary approach is one necessary way to read and interpret the Bible, an approach that has been unjustifiably neglected. Despite that neglect, the literary approach builds at every turn on what biblical scholars have done to recover the original, intended meaning of the biblical text.

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Writers themselves benefit from all helpful information about their task and methods. Readers, in turn, can have both their understanding and appreciation of literature enhanced by information about the writer's work.

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Puritanism was a youthful, vigorous movement.

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The Bible is obviously a mixed book. Literary and nonliterary (expository, explanatory) writing exist side by side within the covers of this unique book.

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Since God is the one who calls people to their work, the worker becomes a steward who serves God.

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The Puritans removed organs and paintings from churches, but bought them for private use in their homes.

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With so many contradictory renditions of the biblical text, the public has lost confidence that we can actually know what the Bible says. It is an easy step from this skepticism to an indifference about what the Bible says.

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