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Theology After Reading: Christian Imagination and the Power of Fiction

Theology After Reading: Christian Imagination and the Power of Fiction

by Darren J. N. Middleton
Theology After Reading: Christian Imagination and the Power of Fiction

Theology After Reading: Christian Imagination and the Power of Fiction

by Darren J. N. Middleton


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781602582255
Publisher: Baylor University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 305
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

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).

Table of Contents



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


What People are Saying About This

Eric Ziolkowski

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.

Peter S. Hawkins

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.

Timothy K. Beal

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

David E. Klemm

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.

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