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Theology After Reading
Christian Imagination and the Power of Fiction

By Darren J. N. Middleton

Theology After Reading
Hardback, 305 pages $49.95
Published: 1st September 2008
ISBN: 9781602581586
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Literature, All Religious Studies, All Theology, Religion & Literature

Theology After Reading explores how recent novelists, alongside certain post-War Christian theologians, appear to be challenging, inverting, reinterpreting, and sometimes even affirming, the basic questions and answers of more traditional theologians. Focusing on five novels, Darren Middleton's book illustrates how literary art provokes theological reflection. Examining Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, Toni Morrison's Sula, Nikos Kazantzakis's The Last Temptation of Christ, Earl Lovelace's The Wine of Astonishment, and Paul Thigpen's My Visit to Hell, Middleton deftly illuminates the expression of both mainstream and progressive Christian doctrines as themes in these selected works of fiction, ultimately reaffirming the graced search for meaning in the mindful Christian life.



It’s Fiction: What’s Theology Got to Do with It?                                         

1. God

Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair                                             

2. Humanity

Toni Morrison’s Sula                                                                          

3. Jesus

Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ                           

4. Church

Earl Lovelace’s The Wine of Astonishment                                        

5. Eschatology

Paul Thigpen’s My Visit to Hell                                                          

Appendix I: An Interview with Paul Thigpen                                   

Appendix II: Further Reading                                                           


Selected Bibliography                                                                        


Here is a wonderfully fresh invitation from a gifted writer to explore the storied worlds of great literary theology.

—Timothy K. Beal, Florence Harkness Professor of Religion, Case Western Reserve University

Darren Middleton is in love with stories and the challenge fiction poses to what we too confidently think of as reality.  He knows that the best theology is always a story in the making.  He also knows that narratives open up worlds that bring God to life, sometimes by the hint of divine presence, sometimes by the sorrow of absence.

—Peter S. Hawkins, Professor of Religion and Literature, Yale University Divinity School

In this stimulating and often inspiring book on the interface between fiction and theology, Darren Middleton shows how a variety of novels marked by “a graced search for meaning,” provoke imaginative theological reflection on traditional Christian doctrines.  Middleton extends a hermeneutics of love to carefully chosen novels, reading them on their own terms.  This book should appeal well beyond the Christian community because of its exemplary openness and authentic humility.

—David E. Klemm, Professor of Modern Religious Thought, The University of Iowa

An exemplary, inspiring exploration of what the author calls “the interface of theology and literature.” Deeply learned in both the Christian theological tradition and the five, widely variegated literary artists under consideration, Middleton impressively combines careful textual and contextual analysis of their writings. Skillfully and informatively annotated, the book is wonderfully capped off by its “Appendix” consisting of Middleton’s extensive interview with Thigpen.

—Eric Ziolkowski, Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies and Department Head, Lafayette College

Darren J. N. Middleton (Ph.D. The University of Glasgow, Scotland) is Associate Professor of Literature and Theology at Texas Christian University.  He has published five books, including Broken Hallelujah: Nikos Kazantzakis and Christian Theology (2007).

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 305 pages
 9in x 6in

  LIT000000, REL013000
 Baylor University Press

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