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Pastors in the Classics: Timeless Lessons on Life and Ministry from World Literature

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Throughout the history of English literature, church ministers have figured prominently in novels, plays, morality tales, and even poetry. Pastors in the Classics is a unique, unprecedented collection of relevant literary masterpieces in which the pastor's experience is a major part of the story. Part 1 is a reader's guide to twelve important classics written over four cent Throughout the history of English literature, church ministers have figured prominently in novels, plays, morality tales, and even poetry. Pastors in the Classics is a unique, unprecedented collection of relevant literary masterpieces in which the pastor's experience is a major part of the story. Part 1 is a reader's guide to twelve important classics written over four centuries and covering seven different nationalities. Each chapter not only describes and interprets the work in question, it also highlights a specific feature of pastoral ministry explored in the work. Part 2 is a handbook that defines the canon of literary masterpieces that deal with the pastor's experience, offering reading suggestions for both ministers and lovers of literature. From the familiar (The Canterbury Tales; Cry, the Beloved Country; and The Scarlet Letter) to the lesser-known (Silence, Witch Wood) to the surprising (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), this collection uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly ways in which pastors have been presented to the reading public for the past half millennium.


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Throughout the history of English literature, church ministers have figured prominently in novels, plays, morality tales, and even poetry. Pastors in the Classics is a unique, unprecedented collection of relevant literary masterpieces in which the pastor's experience is a major part of the story. Part 1 is a reader's guide to twelve important classics written over four cent Throughout the history of English literature, church ministers have figured prominently in novels, plays, morality tales, and even poetry. Pastors in the Classics is a unique, unprecedented collection of relevant literary masterpieces in which the pastor's experience is a major part of the story. Part 1 is a reader's guide to twelve important classics written over four centuries and covering seven different nationalities. Each chapter not only describes and interprets the work in question, it also highlights a specific feature of pastoral ministry explored in the work. Part 2 is a handbook that defines the canon of literary masterpieces that deal with the pastor's experience, offering reading suggestions for both ministers and lovers of literature. From the familiar (The Canterbury Tales; Cry, the Beloved Country; and The Scarlet Letter) to the lesser-known (Silence, Witch Wood) to the surprising (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), this collection uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly ways in which pastors have been presented to the reading public for the past half millennium.

30 review for Pastors in the Classics: Timeless Lessons on Life and Ministry from World Literature

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    I misread read this title at first, thinking it was an attempt to help clergy connect with classic works of literature. I soon realized that instead this was a book using classic works of literature to look at ministerial life. A delightful discovery. Ryken's book is a readers' guide (section one of book) and a general reference work (section two of the book) for major literary works that portray ministerial life at some level. The first section of the book looks at key aspects of ministerial li I misread read this title at first, thinking it was an attempt to help clergy connect with classic works of literature. I soon realized that instead this was a book using classic works of literature to look at ministerial life. A delightful discovery. Ryken's book is a readers' guide (section one of book) and a general reference work (section two of the book) for major literary works that portray ministerial life at some level. The first section of the book looks at key aspects of ministerial life by focusing on clergy who appear in classic work of literature, e.g., Arthur Dimmesdale's hidden sin and hypocrisy in *The Scarlet Letter*. He covers and unpacks twelve different books in this opening section, including unforgettable works like *The Power and The Glory*, *Silence* and *Gilead*. All of these are must reads. The second section of the book lists fifty-eight entries, with a brief summary of each. The only frustration is that readers will wish Ryken would have been as thorough and helpful in analyzing the books listed in the second half of his book as the first half. Admittedly, that wasn't Ryken's purpose in the second half, but it will certainly be the reader's frustration. This is simply too good of a book not to make friends with.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is essentially two books in one. The first half is a literary guide to classic works of fiction that are primarily concerned with the lives of pastors/ministers/priests. It is an interesting list of books, and each section serves as an evaluation of each work, with good discussion questions that would be great for a book club or classroom. The second half of the book is a quick survey of a much larger number of books that fit into one of two categories. The first is works that are not classi This is essentially two books in one. The first half is a literary guide to classic works of fiction that are primarily concerned with the lives of pastors/ministers/priests. It is an interesting list of books, and each section serves as an evaluation of each work, with good discussion questions that would be great for a book club or classroom. The second half of the book is a quick survey of a much larger number of books that fit into one of two categories. The first is works that are not classics, but are otherwise concerned with those in ministry. The second category are books that classics, but whose primary theme is not specifically related to those in the ministry, but have large themes or characters that do reflect that concern. The book is going for a very niche audience, and will be a great resource for that group. Others won't find it quite so interesting. If nothing else, the table of contents is a good reading list, and if you enjoy those works, you will likely find this a valuable resource for interacting with those works.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tim Franks

    This is a great tool for pastors especially in ministry to see how classic plays, stories, and novels talk about our calling. So many works that I have read previously and will now in a fresher way after what these three men have presented. Found some new stories to add to my to-read list going forward. At the top would be G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown, which appears to be a pastor playing Sherlock Homes which sounds appealing. This is much more than just a list of books that involve ministers This is a great tool for pastors especially in ministry to see how classic plays, stories, and novels talk about our calling. So many works that I have read previously and will now in a fresher way after what these three men have presented. Found some new stories to add to my to-read list going forward. At the top would be G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown, which appears to be a pastor playing Sherlock Homes which sounds appealing. This is much more than just a list of books that involve ministers of the Gospel, but a great presentation on the themes of these books, enough to wet anyone's appetite with many of them for more. This is one I will pull of the shelve often for ideas for future reading material.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Short

    Interesting survey of English literature which features ministers in the stories.

  5. 4 out of 5

    PD

    A great collection of wonderful works of literature that showcase pastors as either the main character or an important component to the plot and themes of the works. The collection showcases works "written in four centuries and cover seven nationalities." The book is divided into two parts. The first part goes into more detail regarding 12 works. A few examples include: The Canterbury Tales; The Scarlett Letter; Cry, the Beloved Country. The second part gives about a one page synopsis of 58 boo A great collection of wonderful works of literature that showcase pastors as either the main character or an important component to the plot and themes of the works. The collection showcases works "written in four centuries and cover seven nationalities." The book is divided into two parts. The first part goes into more detail regarding 12 works. A few examples include: The Canterbury Tales; The Scarlett Letter; Cry, the Beloved Country. The second part gives about a one page synopsis of 58 books including author, setting, main characters, and brief description of the plot. This section is really a reference for more books involving clergy. Selections are chosen for different reasons to highlight different aspects of the character and experiences of clergy....some good, some bad....unpacking the complexities of the human condition. This book is a good book to skim or own for personal reference to open the door to some of the truly great literary classics.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve Penner

    This is an interesting little reference book. The first half of the book contains guides to 11 classic books which feature a clergyman--pastor, priest, evangelist--as a main character. Each section contains a synopsis of the book then goes on to ask questions of the book that would work well with a small group who are reading the classic together. Classics include The Canterbury Tales, Elmer Gantry, The Power and the Glory and one of the most intriguing stories I have read, Silence by Shusaku En This is an interesting little reference book. The first half of the book contains guides to 11 classic books which feature a clergyman--pastor, priest, evangelist--as a main character. Each section contains a synopsis of the book then goes on to ask questions of the book that would work well with a small group who are reading the classic together. Classics include The Canterbury Tales, Elmer Gantry, The Power and the Glory and one of the most intriguing stories I have read, Silence by Shusaku Endo. The second half of the book contains 58 brief synopses of non-classic books, but ones well worth reading. They go from the whimsical Mitford books to the more sinister Poisonwood Bible. This half would be a great stimulus to finding books from popular literature with religious characters and themes. I will likely pick from the list for future reading.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    No, I am not a Pastor but I love to read anything Leland Ryken writes. This book was no exception. It is a series of overviews of books that have Pastors as main characters. Ryken gives a number of questions to ponder regarding the ministry issues brought up in each book but many of the issues would apply to Christians in general, not just Christians who are Pastors. I found a number of books in it I would like to read in the future.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Arnold Torres

    Got it on Kindle it is great information!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian Jensen

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ruben Supan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alun Jones

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paulo Henrique

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Moore

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon Marq

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt Terboss

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kenny Keahey

  17. 4 out of 5

    Debi Costine

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nate Hoover

  19. 5 out of 5

    Art the Bookworm

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Magill

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Green

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike Normoyle

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jason Kennedy

  24. 4 out of 5

    David

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Baise

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris Land

  27. 5 out of 5

    Peter Somervell

  28. 5 out of 5

    Don

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Little

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mbrookes

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