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Great Books of the Christian Tradition

Publisher: Harvest House
Author: Terry W. Glaspey
Review last updated: 2009
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Great Books of the Christian Tradition

Great Books of the Christian Tradition is a valuable tool for determining which of the "Great Books" we would like our teens to read. He focuses first on "Christian classics" with a sort of worldview introduction explaining why we should be reading the recommended books. Listed books are not all theological or spiritual but have risen out of the Christian worldview. Recommendations are given with explanation of why the work is important and what version might be best, or what parts are most important. For instance, in recommending that we read the early Church Fathers, Glaspey mentions the translation to look for and highlights a few writers on which to concentrate for a start. Glaspey recommends three of Martin Luther's works plus two biographies written about Luther. We find Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, George MacDonald, Leo Tolstoy, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Paul Johnson, Chuck Colson, and other authors up through the present day among the recommendations. Authors represent the broad range of Christian thinking through the ages.

In the second half of the book, Glaspey expands to "Other Books Which Have Shaped Our World." He explains the impact of authors reflecting non-Christian worldviews and the importance of understanding "secular thought." In truth, not all authors included under this heading are non-Christians, so the distinction between sections might be based upon the content of particular works more than the authors themselves, although I cannot find any explanation for this. In this section we encounter authors such as Homer, Plato, Machiavelli, Voltaire, Hobbes, Marx, John Locke, Herman Melville, Nietzsche, Jack London, Herman Hesse, Aldous Huxley, Saul Bellow, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Following this is a shorter section recommending books for young readers. A section titled "How to Make Use of This Reading List" is especially valuable for identifying starting points. Lists like Glaspey's "Ten Books Which Every Christian Ought to Know" and "Ten of My Favorite Novels" are great for parents and teens. However, do not expect all teens to be able to tackle all of Glaspey's recommendations, since some of them are "heavy reading." The final extensive list of modern novels that are great for discussion groups might be used as the source for a significant part of your high school literature curriculum.

Note: This book is out of print but is still readily available.

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  • Great Books of the Christian Tradition

    Great Books of the Christian Tradition

    Terry W. Glaspey

    Instant Key

    • Religious perspective: Protestant

    Publisher's Info

    • Harvest House